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From the Branches: Summer is rumor season

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Taylor Hall? Tyler Bertuzzi? Your second cousin, once removed?

Arizona Coyotes v Toronto Maple Leafs
Hey, I totally forgot Taylor Hall played for Arizona.
Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images

The offseason is barely three days old (congratulations to the Tampa Bay Lightning, by the way, thank you for saving us from the worst offseason news cycle of all time) and we’ve already entered one of its most exciting stages—spitballing about Who The Toronto Maple Leafs Might Go After. It’s July! The playoffs are finally over, the draft hasn’t rolled around yet, and so the only sensible thing to do is to speculate about Taylor Hall. Or Tyler Bertuzzi. Or, quite literally, a player to be named later. We’re not the only ones doing it, either—I stumbled across an article from a Bruins blog that referred to the Toronto Maple Leafs solely as a “Bruins rival” in the headline, which I have to admit is humbling.

Anyway, I have no idea if Taylor Hall will come to Toronto or stay in Boston. Wondering about it is definitely a pleasant distraction from stuff like the inevitable medical reports that filter out after the Stanley Cup Finals, though, because:

Seriously, what the fuck.

ICYMI

Three things the Leafs should take from the Lightning Stanley Cup run - Pension Plan Puppets
The Tampa Bay Lightning are the Leafs Blueprint.

The First NHL Buyout Window is Open - Pension Plan Puppets
Will the flat salary cap and expansion draft angst lead to more buyouts?

2021 NHL Draft Profile: Ayrton Martino - Pension Plan Puppets
Martino is one of the most fun and high octane offensive forwards in this draft

Stuff We Didn’t Write

Radio-ing Elliotte Friedman: Leafs possibly interested in Tyler Bertuzzi and more
It's been a long time since this site has radio-ed Elliotte Friedman as you can tell from the fact the picture is not only pre-long flowing locks, but also a pre-beard picture. Yes, we've been pretty good about respecting Friedman's desire to not have his radio hits used against him, but today it's his own fault as he was especially interesting on the Fan 590 this morning. You can find the radio hit here, so you can hear the full context of Friedman's words.

‘Fast and furious’ NHL offseason to unfold over three weeks | The Star
Pausing the Stanley Cup celebration and with his voice still hoarse from partying, Alex Killorn acknowledged the back-to-back champion Tampa Bay Lightning will not be back together on the ice when the NHL returns in the fall.

Canadian health officials wanted strict protocols from NHL | The Star
Face masks were as prevalent as pucks throughout the NHL this past season, but documents show Canadian health officials wanted the league to take additional steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Kraken won’t play first preseason home games at Climate Pledge Arena but says venue ‘on track’ for regular season | The Seattle Times
The expansion Kraken's first preseason home games will be played in Spokane, Everett and Kent because Climate Pledge Arena won't be ready.

Canadiens' Perry intends to play next year, wants real Montreal experience
Corey Perry expressed his desire to return to the Canadiens and have the full Montreal experience.

3 Trade Options for Vladimir Tarasenko - St. Louis Game Time
A triple threat of Tarasenko trade tirades

Joe Thornton’s Leafs tenure was long overdue, but hopefully is at it’s end. – TheLeafsNation
Within nine months, the Toronto Maple Leafs decision to bring in Joe Thornton went from “long overdue” to “three years too late” to outright lamenting ever doing it in the first place

Dougie Hamilton? Duncan Keith? 6 situations to monitor ahead of the Seattle Kraken expansion draft – The Athletic
The upcoming Kraken expansion draft has a few NHL teams pondering high-profile moves ahead of selection day.

Joël Bouchard named head coach of AHL’s San Diego Gulls - Eyes On The Prize
He will move to the Anaheim Ducks organization.

Winning a second Stanley Cup was cathartic - Raw Charge
Some of the bitterness melts away.

Five veteran forwards the Avalanche could target in free agency - Mile High Hockey
The Avalanche need to add veteran depth over the offseason. Here are a few options Joe Sakic might be interested in.

The Canadiens’ Cup run will be defined by what they do next - Eyes On The Prize
The miracle run has come to an end, but that doesn’t mean it has to be for nothing.

Hollywood movie about Theo Fleury stalled as autobiography co-author claims ownership over his life story - CBC
A script for the movie titled Fleury is complete and, after travelling back and forth to California for the last four years, the former Calgary Flames player says three California production companies are ready to move forward but can't because Kirstie McLellan Day and her company, Pyramid Productions, are claiming ownership over the story.