The Toronto Maple Leafs had an extremely successful regular season, but fell below the expectations of some with a first round loss to the Boston Bruins. One of the primary tasks ahead for newly installed GM Kyle Dubas is to evaluate the players that currently make up the club and determine which should be retained and which Toronto should move on from.
We finish up the evaluation of the Leafs with a look at the rest of the club’s forwards:
Matt Martin - Martin has been an important and popular member of the team since being signed as a free agent two years ago, but his role as a deterrent on the fourth line slowly was phased out of the Leafs lineup in January after the recall of Kasperi Kapanen.
After scoring only nine points in 82 games in his first season in Toronto, the big winger had 12 points in 50 games, but played only three games after the All-Star break.
Grade – C
Dominic Moore - The veteran center was signed as a free agent to compete for the fourth line center job, but it seemed as if Leafs head coach Mike Babcock was intent on finding other options to fill that spot.
Moore beat out Eric Fehr early in the year, then won his job back after Frederik Gauthier was given an opportunity, but finally lost his job after Tomas Plekanec was acquired from Montreal. Moore was good on draws, effective as a penalty killer and scored 12 points (6 goals, 6 assists) in 50 games.
Grade – C+
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William Nylander - The speedy and talented playmaker had 61 points in his second full season with the Leafs, playing mostly with Auston Matthews, but was less effective when moved to center to replace his injured linemate late in the season.
Nylander was ineffective early in the first round vs. Boston, which forced Babcock to move him to the fourth line, and he scored four points (1 goal, 3 assists) in the series.
Grade – B+
Tomas Plekanec - The 35-year-old veteran center was acquired from Montreal at the trade deadline and was ill suited to the fourth line center role he was brought to Toronto to fill, but after the suspension of Nazem Kadri, Plekanec fit in well in a larger role in between Patrick Marleau and Mitch Marner, scoring four points (2 goals, 2 assists) in seven games.
Grade – C+
James van Riemsdyk - Van Riemsdyk set himself up well for a big free agent payday by leading the Leafs with 36 goals. The 29-year-old winger was especially effective on the club’s top power play unit in his usual spot at the side of the net, but he was not as strong at even strength.
That was illustrated during the Bruins series, where the big winger scored three times on the man advantage, but on the ice for three Boston even strength goals in Game 7.
Grade - A-
The Toronto Marlies look to close out the Texas Stars in Game 6 of the Calder Cup Final at Ricoh Coliseum on Tuesday. The Marlies took a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series with a 6-2 victory on Saturday and have two chances to bring the first professional hockey championship to the city of Toronto in 51 years.
The Marlies were successful in breaking through the stingy Stars checking in Game 5, scoring two goals in the first 2:19 of the game and three times in the second period.
Defenseman Travis Dermott was a late scratch on Saturday with an undisclosed injury. Toronto head coach Sheldon Keefe did not have an update on Dermott’s status on Monday and Andrew Nielsen (who replaced him in the lineup) will likely step in on Tuesday as he did in Game 5.
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