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Wednesday FTB: Are the Leafs good? Bad? Lucky? Unlucky?

We have no idea.

NHL: NOV 28 Maple Leafs at Red Wings
DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 28: Toronto Maple Leafs forward Calle Jarnkrok (19) and Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Justin Holl (3) look on during an NHL hockey game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings on November 28, 2022 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan.
Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Let me talk briefly about the Conor Timmins trade. Theoretically, it was a no-brainer for the Leafs. They had the ability to fit a right-handed defenseman with former promise that the GM presumably knows from junior, as well as their good young LD in Sandin. While there is no guarantee Timmins can be anything, it’s a decent chance there’s something there. And for the return of a long shot AHL forward like Douglas, it’s basically a free trade.

Now I know some think Douglas could Marchment his way into the NHL, but to that I would say Marchment was so much farther along in the AHL at 22, and he was scoring in every way possible, whereas Douglas mostly gets by on bad defensive coverage in front of the net and bad rebounds. He doesn’t create chances on his own, and there’s not much else of a game there.

That’s the theoretical case for bringing in Timmins, which I like. If the pro scouts who have seen him like what they see, I’ll listen. From Scott Wheeler’s writing on Timmins, he also looked behind the pace of play in the AHL when he was on his conditioning stint with Tucson. With that knowledge, shouldn’t Timmins’ first priority be to play games? Shouldn’t the risk of waivers be worth getting him in the place he needs to be so he can be built back up to speed? I don’t think the NHL is where he should be right now, but I guess it’s where he has to be due to his age. If he can be physically there with his offensive talents and speed, that’ll be good to see.

But I guess practicing doesn’t hurt, and Timmins could come into the lineup tonight for his first game with the Leafs. Unfortunately, he didn’t do enough in his first practice with the full team to warrant getting in the lineup tonight, but he has a second chance at morning skate.

While it’s quite reasonable for Timmins to be out of sync with so much time away, is the NHL the best place for him to get his game back? At the moment, it’s not like there’s any other defensemen waiting for Timmins’ roster spot, so I guess it’s not a big deal.

The Leafs will be auctioning off their game-used jerseys after tomorrow’s game with the Börje Salming patch on the shoulder in support of ALS Action Canada.

Patches will also go on sale publicly tomorrow with all profits going to ALC Action Canada.

Micah is very confused as to why the Leafs are good. And I’m sure we all are too. They might be lucky, but only sometimes, and only in bad ways, but they’re also good? Maybe? We’re very much in the “scientists haven’t decided yet” stage.

I know in the summer I raised eyebrows at Micah’s model bringing the Leafs down so much they were out of the playoffs due to their goaltending, and I don’t blame Micah for the numbers bearing out those priors. But goaltending has such high variance (voodoo is an actual religion so I won’t use it anymore to describe goalies) that you can often blindly expect a goalie to save the opposite of what they saved last year. It makes hockey very hard to predict, but that’s reality.

And this year the Leafs are getting that great goaltending, along with a healthy dose of overall strong team defense even without their top defenders thanks to all four lines supporting the defense. The makeup of the Leafs is different this year, they have been winning in a different way to the past. I’m interested to see what happens when Matthews goes supernova, a phase I would argue he’s already entering. Maybe the goaltending will go to shite at the same time, who knows!

While I did double-take at the imagery of Turtle Island and First Nations respect for balance in nature juxtaposed with the big industrial oil industry logo, it’s a cool jersey.

Stop wasting your money (albeit on good players) and give Jason Robertson $13 million already. How he’s on a contract at half the price and less than Hintz’s is beyond me.

Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning have one more game against the Philadelphia Flyers before they return home to play the Leafs. Stamkos is on an eight game point streak and currently sitting at 999 career points. If he can hit 1000 on Thursday, expect a nice big ovation and ceremony for the Bolts captain before the game on Saturday. Very poetic and well-orchestrated, and with the added benefit of him not having to score that point against the Leafs.

By toilet seat up, do you mean allowing Stamkos to score his 1000th point against you?

Congrats to two-time Stanley Cup Champion Nigel Kirwan on your 2000th game in the NHL. What an incredible accomplishment.

Gary really wants to make this relationship work.

This game between the Kraken and the Kings is presented without comment. Watch this.