Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Spezza, Matthews, Marner and Special Teams

In this edition of Toronto Maple Leafs’ News & Rumors, I look forward to Jason Spacer returning to Dallas where he has played with the stars for five seasons. Second, I look at the amazing season created by both Austin Mathews and Mitch Marner. I keep AND, because they are much better together than being alone.

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Finally, I’ll take a look at how great Maple Leaf’s special teams are and compare them to the team they’re playing tonight.

Item One: Jason Speza Comes Home (Picked)

Jason Speza, 38, is returning to Dallas tonight; And, I would be completely surprised if he didn’t play. He was bought by Ottawa senators seven years ago for joining The Stars.

Speza remembers Dallas well. “I have had a good five years in Dallas,” he said. This is a great place to play. Hockey fans there are incredible. I really enjoyed my time there. “(” There’s less room for Jason Spager in Deeper Leaf. Toronto Star06/03/2022).

Jason Speza, Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irwin / Hockey Writer)

You can also tell where his head is and what’s important to him when he adds, “We went to (Stanley Cup) a few times, some Game 7 in the second round. There are some good friends out there, so I’m looking forward to going back to Dallas and playing. “

Spezza is now playing a weaker role with the Maple Leafs, and that role seems to be diminishing further this season because the team is deeper than it was with the team in its first two seasons. Also, he is aging. Currently, he is the sixth-oldest player in the NHL.

He has recently had a number of healthy scratch bars; And, his scoring has dropped this season. He has only a single assist during his last 10 games and has been a healthy scratch four times in the last month.

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Speza knows that there is competition and also knows that he has to “prepare and stay fresh”. Her nickname is Vintage and, when she looks around, she probably sees a lot of younger teammates who want her minutes. She gets it.

He mentioned in a recent interview that “it’s just a good team of our nature, a deep team.” However, Spezza knows the postseason is a long journey and he believes he has a place on this trip. As he notes, “You need depth for the playoffs and we all need to be involved.” He believes that includes him.

Quick Hit Two: Matthews and Marner are doing a record season

The career seasons of Austin Mathews, Mitch Marner and William Nyland are underway. However, they are not alone. Talent general manager Kyle Dubas has put around them perhaps the best list of Maple Leaf that I’m covering the team. In fact, as Kevin McGranToronto Star This is probably Maple Leaf’s best team “in a decade”, he wrote. He has been covering the team for much longer than me.

Mitch Marner and Austin Mathews of Toronto Maple Leafs
Mitch Marner and Austin Matthews of Toronto Maple Leafs (Canadian Press / Nathan Dennett)

Matthews needed just one more goal to break Rick Viv’s record of 54 goals 40 years ago in the single-season of Maple Leafs. While this may seem like a given, it is also possible that Matthews could score 60 goals in a season; And, he has 12 more games.

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Marner is more than just carrying his own weight. He’s putting together a series of games that are nothing like what he’s done before. He is playing a key role both offensively and defensively. As he prepares his skates for tonight’s game against the Stars, he looks back on the amazing 26-point lead in just 11 games. He now has a total of 88 points, the sixth in the NHL.

Item three: How good are the special teams at Maple Leaf?

One reason is that the Maple Leafs have been so aggressively influential this season that their special team game has improved incredibly. In the power play, for example, in the past most teams would be happy if they scored one goal every four times. Maple leaves do about one in every three times.

Morgan Riley Toronto Maple Leafs
Morgan Riley Toronto Quarterback A Great Powerplay Unit For Maple Leafs (Amy Irwin / The Hockey Writers)

In the penalty shootout, Maple Leafs led the NHL with 13 short-handed goals. They are fast and dangerous. They push and intimidate the opponent’s defenders.

Comparing their special teams with the Stars, Maple Leafs Powerplay ranks first in the NHL with a 30.2 percent success rate. The Stars are 13th with 21.8 percent. In Penalty Kill, Maple Leafs is in seventh place with 83.0 percent successful kill rank. The Stars again ranks 13th with a success rate of 78.8 percent (“Leafs – Stars Game Night, from Lance Hornby,” Toronto Sun.06/04/2022).

What’s next for Maple Leafs?

Readers know, I’m a big Spaghetti fan. His skills are leaving him, but he – at least in my opinion – is sure to be the Hockey Hall of Famer. He is also a great mentor to the young players on the team. To me, and again maybe this is my advanced age, I think the kind of leadership he brings is important.

Related: Is it time for Jason Spager of Maple Leafs to hang his skate?

As a player, Speza sits at 991 career points, which puts him 94th on the NHL’s all-time list. He has recently passed NHL Greats like Paul Caria, Rick Middleton and Maple Leafs own Dave Keane. I think he might retire after this season, win or lose.

I want to see him find nine more points somewhere for 1000 at the point. I rejoice for her.

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