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JVR benefits from net presence

If James van Riemsdyk’s current projections are any indication, Brian Burke’s swan song may be a coup for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The 23-year-old has eight goals and 10 points in 13 games thus far and has provided a net-front presence that’s been lacking on the Leafs for a while. Consider that the average distance of JVR’s goals is 14.9-feet (three came from rebounds in front of the net). If you’re curious, here are the distances of each goal he’s scored so far this season:

1 – 33-feet

2 – 9.5-feet

3 – 6.5-feet

4 – 19.4-feet

5 – 10-feet

6 – 9.5-feet

7 &ndas...

Kadri deserves shot on top line


Nazem Kadri has finally made his mark on the Toronto Maple Leafs.

With Randy Carlyle proclaiming he is “trying to get Kadri more ice-time,” it could be a matter of time before Tyler Bozak is slotted as the third-line centre with Kadri in-between Joffrey Lupul and Phil Kessel.

But let’s make one thing clear: Kadri is likely not a first-line centre. Is the potential there? Sure, but he’s probably more effective on the second-line. But alas, the Leafs have an abundance of holes to address, and a top line centre is one of them.

Unfortunately for general manager Dave Nonis, it’s not as simple going out into the trade market and grabb...

Carlyle hiring a precursor to active off-season

The Toronto Maple Leafs’ downward spiral may have generated positive news with the hiring of head coach Randy Carlyle, replacing Ron Wilson after four years.

Fans should expect an adjustment period for the Leafs, however, as Carlyle will infuse a new brand of hockey compared to Wilson’s “run ‘n gun” tactics. Carlyle focuses on structured hockey and emphasizes on strong defensive play. If a player is careless without the puck and refuses to adapt to Carlyle’s system, that player will warm the bench. His brash approach ensures no non-sense and this could fit well with the developing Leafs---especially on the backend.

That said, Carlyle isn&rsq...