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From the Branches: Will Zack MacEwan sign with the Maple Leafs? Or not? Maybe he will. Eventually.

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Pop the Joel Champagne!

Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto / Contributor

Yesterday a TVA Sports reporter tweeted out that the Toronto Maple Leafs made a deal with undrafted Gatineau Olympiques forward Zack MacEwan.

The tweet was quickly deleted when MacEwan told the reporter he never signed a contract. This doesn't mean there’s no contract ready to be signed. In 30 Thoughts this week Elliot Friedman mentioned this:

26. There isn’t as much action on CHL kids because most get drafted before free agency is reality. One who has captured attention if Zack MacEwen of QMJHL Gatineau. Ottawa, Tampa, Toronto and Vancouver are all believed to be among those interested. He was invited to Anaheim’s camp last September.

Apologies to Elliot for “radio’ing” him.

So, what’s the deal with Zack? Is he a diamond in the rough? Well, he’s 20 years old, and only in his second year of major junior. Perhaps a late bloomer with undiscovered potential, he’s a mystery box that could be anything. He could be Tyler Bozak or he could be Christian Hanson.

This brought up some discussion on other undrafted players (free wallets) the Leafs have looked at.

Tyler Wong of the Lethbridge Hurricanes joined the Marlies on an ATO last year. He’s up to 78 points in 54 games as the Hurricanes captain.

Stephen Baylis of Bowling Green University was at development camp this summer. The second year NCAA wingers has 12 points (2G, 10A) in 34 games this season.

Nikita Lisov is a KHL defenseman from development camp. In 24 games with Avangard Omsk he has one goal and one assist while being an average at best defenseman.

Brandon Saigeon plays centre for the Hamilton Bulldogs. In his third OHL season his point totals made a big jump. Last year in 43 games he had four goals and 10 assists, this year he’s at 15 goals and 22 assists on an up and coming Bulldogs team.

Anthony Brodeur - son of Martin Brodeur - was also at development camp, and is now playing goal for the University of Ottawa. He has a .910sv% in 12 games.

Will any of these kids be brought back for the end of the Marlies season, or could they already have something in the works behind the scenes?

Here are your morning links.

Your game recaps, including my awful, awful screencap filled edition: TLN has theirs here, Puck Daddy has Marner’s tumble here, and the bad guys version is here.

Down Goes Brown looks at defensemen who never won the Hart.

EOTP looks at what went wrong with their new fired coach.

But Therrien landed on his feet! The Beaverton checks out his firs game coaching Timbits Hockey.

On the Forecheck compares Pekka Rinne this year and last year.

Original Six Analytics has...stats and a long headline.

Jaromir Jagr got his 1900th point on his 45th birthday (Puck Daddy)

At The Bloggers Tribune I look at the NHL standings in alternate formats.

And the suspensions:

Antoine Vermette To Receive 10 Game Suspension - Anaheim Calling

Gustav Nyquist Suspended 6 Games - WIIM

NHL linesman Shandor Alphonso slashed by Anaheim Ducks’ Vermette - Colour of Hockey

These can NOT be compared either. The officials union worked and fought to protect their members, that’s why the rules say this is a 10 game suspension.

The NHLPA couldn’t give two shits about player safety, so they don’t argue short suspensions/tiny fines.

Good job PA!