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Monday’s FTB: Thoughts On The Maple Leafs at the Rookie Tournament

Now that the rookie tournament is over, we are getting awfully close to preseason action.

2017 NHL Draft - Portraits
Liljegren bounced back on Sunday after a disappointing start to the Rookie Tournament.
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Before we get into today’s links, let’s talk about the rookie tournament.

Timothy Liljegren was awful on Friday night against the Montreal Canadiens. While there were flashes of his impressive offensive toolkit, he clearly needed a bounceback performance against the Ottawa Senators. He was much better.

Liljegren continues to standout for his work on the powerplay, and his deceptiveness earned him an assist on Trevor Moore’s goal. He was a noticeable skater and puck carrier from the backend, but he needs to clean up some of the sloppiness in his game. He coughed up a bad turnover in the third period, then got muscled off the puck in the corner. All in all, Liljegren looked fine in game two, and there were certainly glimpses of what made him a mid first round pick:

Jeremy Bracco remains one of the best passers in the organization. Although he did not rack up the assists in this event, he looks ready to be the focal point on the Marlies powerplay. If Liljegren starts the season with the Toronto Marlies, this team should have no problem lighting the lamp with the man advantage.

After missing game one, Travis Dermott stood out with his solid two-way game. He was partially responsible for Ottawa’s 4-on-4 goal, but ultimately impressed in terms of his strength, skating, and puck moving ability. Since he was paired with Liljegren, it was easy to tell when this pair was on the ice because of their mobility.

Fedor Gordeev, Toronto’s 5th round puck in 2017, impressed as a surprisingly decent skater for a player of his size. Carl Grundstrom did not look like a future superstar, but his strength and net front presence remain a clear selling point. Dmytro Timashov and Trevor Moore were noticeable additions due to their puck carrying ability, and frankly, this team desperately needed it.

Today’s Links:

Back to Excited Episode 4: Projecting the Big 3’s Points- Pension Plan Puppets
Arvind and Acting the Fulemin team up once again for the 4th episode of this podcast. I would recommend this episode to all commuters, and you can search for the Back to Excited podcast on ITunes.

From The Branches:

Statistically Speaking: Projected Top 300 Scorers- Scott Cullen, TSN

Scott Cullen projects the Top 300 scorers for next season, with Auston Matthews coming in at #11. This article is especially useful for fantasy hockey. Mitch Marner and William Nylander also rank in the Top 50.

The Case For Signing Patrick Marleau- Ian Tulloch, The Leafs Nation

The Case Against Signing Patrick Marleau- Ian Tulloch, The Leafs Nation

Ian Tulloch examines both sides of the Marleau debate in this two part series. Personally, I do not believe Marleau is worth $15 million on a three year deal, yet alone $18.5 million. Nevertheless, I’m excited to see him with the team next season, and I am hoping for a 25 goal season.

Neil: I’ve turned down offers, want “right fit”- TSN

Chris Neil has reportedly turned down both one way deals and professional tryouts, and is continuing his search for the right fit. I will say this: Montreal is absolutely beautiful in the winter time. Can the Habs afford to let Steve Ott depart without a capable replacement? It is time for Marc Bergevin to get to work.

Jonathan Drouin Can Handle Montreal’s High Expectations- Ryan Dixon, Sportsnet

I think Drouin can score 60 points next season, and Montreal’s fan base will expect him to. He is a major addition to their lineup, but the loss of Alexander Radulov and Andrei Markov is going to hurt. The Habs desperately need Drouin to excel, as the organization lacks another standout Under 25 talent outside of Alex Galchenyuk.