Rielly, Barrie, Abruzzo and Nylander


In this issue of Toronto Maple Leafs News & Rumors, I will report an interesting story about Morgan Rielly’s leadership and sacrifice for the team. I’ll remind Maple Leafs fans not to forget young prospect Nick Abruzzese, who won’t be playing hockey this season with the Harvard Crimson, but is a great player.

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Finally, I will share rumors that player moves might not be completely finished. There is a rumor that William Nylander is part of a business talk with the Philadelphia Flyers that would bring a defenseman into the squad.

First point: Morgan Rielly has agreed to come down to get Tyson Barrie away

As fans, we generally want our team to have more of something. However, one thing the Maple Leafs could have a lot this season is leadership. New and highly experienced NHL players and leaders such as Joe Thornton, Zach Bogosian and Wayne Simmonds are joining the roster and will no doubt help bring things together and move things forward towards success. Jason Spezza has been around for a season now, and we’ve seen his leadership in action.

Jason Spezza, Maple Leafs de Toronto (Jess Starr / The Hockey Writers)

However, it seems there have always been leaders on this team. This fact was evident in a story that emerged today when Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas shared his insights at the annual Toronto Coaches Open House yesterday. The gist of the story is that number one defenseman Morgan Rielly went to head coach Sheldon Keefe and volunteered to move up to PP2 to help accommodate Tyson Barrie’s skills and move the defender forward. in trouble.

Specifically, Dubas said, “He (Rielly) started the year and did one of the most selfless things I’ve seen: By mid-November he was on the first power play, and we had acquired Tyson Barrie the previous summer. Tyson started off pretty slowly with us – he hadn’t produced and hadn’t scored – and as someone facing unrestricted free agency in the New Year, in a new town with a lot of expectations on him, he started to really struggle.

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Dubas added: “Morgan, when Sheldon took office, went to Sheldon and said he would have no problem, if that was what was best for the team, to go to second. power play unit to put Tyson on the first unit. that Tyson could go. If we wanted to reach our potential, everyone thought it was important that Tyson play the way we knew he was capable of playing.

It’s an interesting story that highlights a dilemma that professional athletes face when they straddle a line between putting their own success (and the salary compensation that goes with that success) first or whether they are willing to go. sacrifice for the team. In a way, it’s a choice between what type of gain – personal or as a team – you support if you are a professional.

On the one hand, your numbers and statistics support your own earnings in the bank as your salary is often correlated with your statistics. On the other hand, are there times when your own financial success comes before the needs of the team?

Morgan Rielly, Maple Leafs de Toronto (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Obviously, Rielly made that second pick last season when he offered to upgrade to the second power play unit to help Barrie get started. That meant his teammate would play with Tavares, Matthews and Marner on the first power play unit, which would also mean Barrie’s numbers would likely improve instead of his.

How did Dubas assess this movement? Firstly, aside from the fact that he told the story, which obviously means that she signed up well with him and that he was proposing Rielly’s action as the desired class act of leadership. , he also put it bluntly when he called her “altruistic”.

Dubas added: “In any team you need players like this who are willing to put the team ahead of themselves. I thought with Morgan Rielly, he had always done that here.

Point Two: Don’t Forget Maple Leafs Prospect Nick Abruzzese

Given the insanity of living with a pandemic in general and the cancellation of hockey on many levels and in many leagues, it’s easy to forget the young Maple Leafs prospects who don’t play and, therefore, won’t find their names in hockey posts or on social media. Nick Abruzzese may be one of those kids.

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Last season Nick Abruzzese was named Eastern College Sports Conference Rookie of the Year (CEAC), which is quite an honor considering that CEAC is a group of over 300 colleges in the east. the United States. To earn that honor, Abruzzo led all NCAA freshmen with 44 points (14 goals, 30 assists) in 31 games for Harvard University in 2019-20. He also finished in a tie at three for third place in scores for all NCAA schools in the United States. You must not sneeze.

The Maple Leafs selected Abruzzo in the fourth round (124e overall) of the 2019 NHL Draft. This has been a tough season for NCAA hockey, and on November 12, all Ivy League universities canceled their seasons. It also made it particularly difficult for young players like Abruzzo.

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In addition, the 21-year-old Abruzzo suffered another setback as well. He left hip surgery to repair a torn labrum and needs to recover from this surgery before continuing his hockey career. Considering his success in NCAA hockey and the fact that he’s obviously a smart young man, accepted into Harvard University, he’s a kid to watch. He may not have an immediate impact within the Maple Leafs organization, but he will likely be so lucky in the future.

Despite being on the smaller side at 5-foot-9 and 160 pounds, Abruszzese has had nothing short of a phenomenal freshman season at Harvard. He hasn’t played in a game since March 7 (almost nine months) and he might not play for a while yet; however, if you are a Maple Leafs fan, remember he’s in the pipeline. He has the possibility of becoming an elite goalscorer regardless of his level.

What’s new with the Maple Leafs?

I for one hope that rumor is not true, but there is a rumor going around that the Maple Leafs are listening to offers for William Nylander from the Philadelphia Flyers. This rumor comes from Hockey Buzz two days ago.

William Nylander Maple Leafs de Toronto
William Nylander, Maple Leafs de Toronto (Jess Starr / The Hockey Writers)

Word has been that the Maple Leafs organization is not interested in moving any of its main players; However, Hockey Buzz reported that “a source tells me” that the team has had discussions over the past few days with the Flyers about a better D-man for Nylander. You must think it’s Shane Gostisbehere?

Maybe the off-season moves and jerks aren’t over after all. More news on this later.


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