In this edition of Toronto Maple Leafs’ Quick Hits, I’ll share a variety of news items that have been emerging from the team over the past week.

Related: Accusations Aside Tavares’ Production Improved with Maple Leafs

Quick Hit One: Morgan Rielly Surprised When Dubas Was Let Go

In an interesting interview, Morgan Rielly shared his surprise at the departure of Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas. He noted that, at first in his NHL career, player trades that included his good friends were surprising to him. However, not much surprises him anymore about the business of hockey. Rielly did note that since Brad Treliving took over as GM for the Maple Leafs not much has changed. The players are focused on preparing for the new season. In the end, Rielly has confidence in the Maple Leafs’ new leadership.

Quick Hit Two: Ex-Maple Leafs Goalie Jonathan Bernier Retires

As I noted in a post on the site a day or so ago, Jonathan Bernier announced his retirement. It was a heartfelt announcement that shared Bernier’s appreciation for the teams he played for in his NHL career, his appreciation for this family’s support. He played three seasons with the Maple Leafs among his six NHL teams.

Quick Hit Three: A Memorial Was Held for Rodion Amirov in Russia

It was sad news a week ago that Rodion Amirov had passed. On Monday of this week, a memorial was held in Ufa, Russia, for the departed young KHL player with his old Salavat Yulaev team’s arena hosting the event. A number of tributes were held that paide respect paid to Amirov. These included children who lined the way and tapped their sticks on the pavement as his casket was taken to its final resting place. Sadly, Amirov lost his two-year battle with a brain tumor. He was 21 years old.

Quick Hit Four: Could Alex Edler Be a Great Pickup for the Maple Leafs Defense?

If the Maple Leafs are looking to upgrade its defense, one player who might be available is Alex Edler. Could he be a potential acquisition for the Maple Leafs? Edler has tons of experience and brings some physicality as a defenseman. He’s also likely to be an affordable signing. He made NHL minimum with the Los Angeles Kings last season. The team is probably scouting out the potential to reinforce its defensive depth. Who might be coming?

Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Klingberg, McDavid, Matthews & Mete 

Quick Hit Five: Ilya Lyubuskin Traded from the Sabres to the Ducks

Former Maple Leafs’ defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin was traded from the Buffalo Sabres to the Anaheim Ducks a few days ago. Lyubushkin’s time with the Maple Leafs was interesting. He was a bit of a fan favorite and actually put up two goals in his short time with the team. He has only a total of five goals in his entire NHL career. Good luck to him in California.

Quick Hit Six: Tavares Isn’t Slowing Down in Toronto

John Tavares has been a consistently high-level performer throughout his career. However, many Maple Leafs fans believe his game is falling off as he ages. They’re wrong. Comparing his last five seasons with the New York Islanders and his first five seasons with the Maple Leafs suggests that, if anything, Tavares’ statistics with the Maple Leafs have improved. He’s producing more in his first five years in Toronto than he did in his last five years in New York. In addition, his impact on the team’s success has grown.

Quick Hit Seven: McDavid Is the Best Player in NHL, But Matthews Is Better Defensively

No one can argue that Connor McDavid’s overall excellence as a hockey player is off the charts. However, Auston Matthews’ defensive prowess surpasses McDavid’s. Matthews is more of a 200-foot player with stronger defensive abilities. While McDavid is far from a poor defensive player; however, he’s not Matthews. Matthews’ defensive game is improving year after year. Might he become a Selke Trophy winner – even before Mitch Marner?

Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs

Quick Hit Eight: Whatever Happened to Victor Mete?

Victor Mete has had a nomadic NHL career. Last season with the Maple Leafs, he played 11 games before his season was ended with a lower-body injury. When the team didn’t qualify him, he became a free agent. He eventually signed with the Philadelphia Flyers and will start the 2023-24 season there.

Quick Hit Nine: Can Matthews Win the Hart Trophy Twice?

When Matthews went on his historic goal-scoring season in 2021-22, he was voted to be the NHL’s Hart Trophy Winner. This season’s odds just came out and, while Matthews is among the favorites (being ranked sixth), McDavid is the odds-on favorite. However, if Matthews by chance and good play could string together another season as he did two seasons ago, he could become a Hart winner for the second time. No Maple Leafs’ player has ever done that before.

Related: Maple Leafs Fans Don’t Mince Words About the Team’s Problems

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