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Some of you may know that one week ago I wasn't married, but now I am! And if you know anything about Indian weddings, you also know it was a full week of non-stop events and parties. Truly, no one does it like us.

While I was MIA, the Leafs did the bulk of their summer business, including the draft and free agency. I'll hold off on draft talk while I do my regular video and scouting for the Top 25 Under 25 later this summer, but I have some thoughts on the NHL roster we can discuss.

I have the next several FTBs in a row (making up for lost time), so let's start at the most important position the Leafs had to tackle this summer:


The Leafs signed three defenders: Chris Tanev, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and Jani Hakanpää. They got Dakota Mermis a couple days later, too. With Liljegren signed before free agency, there's officially 10 defenders on the NHL roster. Even if Mermis and Cade Webber are destined for the Marlies, that's still eight defenders with Timmins at the bottom making $1.1 million. Oh, and don't forget to call me an optimist who's still waiting for Giordano to re-sign.

Tanev is a very good signing, giving the team a #2 once again. I'm not worried about the latter half of the deal simply because LTIR and trades exist. I also wouldn't be surprised if Tanev plays most of that contract as he's had some of his best seasons later in his career. If he turns into a pumpkin, well, it's back to free agency.

I wasn't sure what to make of the OEL signing until I did some digging on his stat cards and playoff results (he had enough this spring/summer that I thought it was worth looking at). I saw good passing and quite good impacts on shot share. I'm not sure yet how he does it since I haven't watched him much, but we'll get to that later.

His contract is reasonable on its face, but what really matters is fit – something I've been critical of the Leafs for since last year and most notably 2019-20. If OEL is the upgrade on Liljegren next to McCabe, I totally get it and I'm interested to see how that goes. With this signing the Leafs are likely moving away from Rielly getting the lion's share of offensive time with the stars and into a slightly more balanced approach. If Liljegren is still on the roster in the new year, then, uhm, what are we doing here folks. Overall, I'm hoping to like OEL this season.

Jani Hakanpää has had some weird rumours swirling around injuries, this is the latest report that's out there. He's very tall (like OEL) and apparently blocks shots and kills penalties – two things the Leafs needed. If he is going to be injured a lot, his contract likely won't get in the way of the Leafs being able to run a lineup. He got hard minutes in Dallas playing with Esa Lindell, so he's another reliable option.

Overall, I'm pleased to be seeing three new bodies join the defense that have done more than third pair duty. Experience and options are always good things. Because there are lots of options, it's impossible to get a handle on the pairings that'll be played throughout the season, but here's my first stab at it.

Rielly (PP) - Tanev (PK)
OEL (PP) - McCabe (PK)
Benoit (PK) - Hakanpaa (PK)

The only business left is the answer the Liljegren Question because I don't see a spot for him that'll make anyone happy on this team, poop or get off the potty on Timmins at some point for the same reason as Liljegren but worse, and sign Giordano to be the 7D because I want him back very much, please and thank you.

Good work from Treliving here on defense. I had aspirations for better over the summer, but those never get to play out. He filled the holes he didn't last season and now he has given his coach a competitive defense. B+

Various (former) Leafs and Branches

A challenge to all readers this summertime Friday to watch this whole video before the end of the morning:

Jake Muzzin looks to be taking Cade Webber under his wing this summer. I'm hoping for bright things in the future.

Victor Johansson is at dev camp and has been nothing short of adorable.

Now, get ready for a blast from the mediocre past!

First down the runway: Nikita Zaitsev is leaving the NHL.

Carl Grundstrom signed with the youngsters in San Jose.

Martins Dzierkals re-signed with Skellefteå AIK of the SHL.

36-year-old Korbinian Holzer has retired from the German National Team after seven worlds and two Olympics. And he's still playing!

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