Don’t worry, this probably won’t be a Ben Harpur situation... I think.

The Toronto Maple Leafs did not qualify Frederik Gauthier for the second offseason in a row, but unlike last year, they have not signed the Goat to be their 4C for another season.

Thankfully, the Leafs instead have a very deep forward lineup (arguably for the first time in a few years) so there’s a 0% chance Freddy the Goat will be able to get a job even if he signs. He would need to get past Joe Thornton, Jason Spezza, Pierre Engvall, and Travis Boyd, all of whom are definitely probably better than him.

But signing Gauthier for the Toronto Marlies sounds a lot better.

Looking at the Marlies team last year, they were pretty bad defensively, particularly when it came to getting support from the forwards. They were sloppy without the puck and it caused their tactic of having the puck more than the opponent to have a lot of holes. Gauthier in the AHL was a possession machine, especially when it came to turning defensive zone shifts into offensive possession. The Marlies definitely need more of that. And off the ice, Gauthier has been universally loved by the Marlies. Having him there to grab things from the top shelf for SDA is a bonus worth considering.

The problem with this idea comes in the form of roster space. The Leafs are fully loaded with NHL options, and some of them will have to go down to the Marlies, unless/until they are needed as a taxi squad or as injury/quarantine replacements. The Marlies should be adding prospects like Egor Korshkov, Filip Hallander, and Rodion Amirov once their European seasons end, but that’s not going to be until April or May. And the ECHL options don’t exactly fill me with confidence were they to become regulars.

We don’t know what this season is going to bring, but I feel like depth is going to be high on the priority list. Adding an extra steady hand like Freddy Gauthier (so steady he’s barely moving) is an addition worth making, in my mind. He’ll hopefully be the 4C every night, doing things the right way and helping the team both win and develop.

Various Hockey Branches

Sigh, I remember Korshkov’s 10th AHL goal last year.

Our condolences to the family of Fred Sasakamoose following his passing from COVID-19. The first Indigenous person to play in the NHL and a true hockey legend. In 2016, site member Singjay wrote a fanpost on the history of Fred Sasakamoose and Native Americans in hockey. It’s an incredible read.

Rick Westhead shared a study showing a steady increase in Swiss hockey injuries being reported over the last seven years. The researchers came to the conclusion that concussion education and prevention have helped identify concussions more regularly, causing the steady increase in cases over the past seven years.

“This study provides a better understanding about professional ice hockey epidemiology, which is still insufficiently researched and understood. We also found some significant risk factors, being a forward for knee MCL tear, being a defensemen for concussion severity.

“Concussion program prevention seems to be effective but it is crucial to continue the follow up of concussion on long term and expand the surveillance system to all the League.”

More COVID-19 cases.

And Vancouver Canucks forward Adam Gaudette roundhouse kicked his bride on their wedding day. The extremely pale athlete was trying to perform a lap dance at their reception, which, uhh, is a whole other catastrophe.