Toronto Maple Leafs: Thoughts On Friedman’s Leaf Mentions

Jan 1, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs center William Nylander (29) warms up before the start of their game against the Detroit Red Wings during the Centennial Classic ice hockey game at BMO Field. The Maple Leafs beat the Red Wings 5-4 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

One of the best weekly reads on the NHL – Elliotte Friedman’s 30 Thoughts – is out and he had some mentions on the Toronto Maple Leafs.

First, Friedman pondered a fit for a Toronto Maple Leafs defender with another Eastern Conference team.

11. The Rangers have been looking for defencemen, and, when Matt Hunwick was scratched last week by Toronto, I wondered if there was a fit. He played there and he’s a popular teammate. But I’m not sure that’s a match. New York is looking for right-handed shooters, which Hunwick is not. They already have Nick Holden on the off-side. Something to keep an eye on, though.

Trading Hunwick has to be near the top of Lou Lamoriello’s to-do list. His value to the Toronto Maple Leafs is not high and will almost certainly be set free this summer if there’s no trade by the deadline.

Hunwick had a great season preceding his arrival in Toronto but never panned out in an increased role. If the Rangers want a familiar face with that good old fashioned veteran punch, Hunwick is available for pennies on the dollar. No one should be upset to see Hunwick in the rumor mill if he ever ends up there. Maybe, hopefully, Friedman’s random pondering finds the inside of Rangers GM Jeff Gorton’s mind.

Next, Friedman slides in a statement on a popular player for the Leafs that everyone has agreed isn’t going anywhere.

18. On Gostisbehere: very early interesting parallel to Montreal and P.K. Subban. It’s very clear that he’s the target of everyone who faces the Flyers, and his strengths are being attacked just like Klingberg’s. It becomes a battle of wills. You’ve got Dave Hakstol saying, “This is what the next step has to be.” You’ve got Gostisbehere saying: “This worked just fine for me, thanks.”

You grind away to find a solution. Just because it didn’t work between Montreal and Subban doesn’t mean Philadelphia will go the nuclear option. Vincent Lecavalier and John Tortorella figured it out. Hextall strikes me as the type of guy who will wait as long as he can.

You know who else is going to go through this soon? Mike Babcock and William Nylander.

Really, Elliotte? You had to slide that last line in there?

This is a thought that I think Leafs Nation could live without and, honestly, is a strange thing to insert into a thought on a Flyers player while comparing him to legitimate rifts.

It’s been a while since the media has manufactured a negative distraction for the Leafs so I guess we were due. It’s unfortunate that it came from Friedman, though.

It’s more plausible that Babcock and Corrado don’t get along – you know, because of the well-into-double-digit healthy scratches over a two season span – than it is any real rift between coach and #26.

Maybe they don’t like each other. It’s possible. Not everyone gets along. That doesn’t mean they are anywhere near the dramatic climax Friedman refers to earlier in the thought.

Here’s what’s happening that we are sure of: Mike Babcock is coaching well and William Nylander is playing well. If that’s what not getting along means for the 2017 version of the Leafs then I’m fine with that.

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