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Latest Headlines

Nylander signs entry-level contract with Maple Leafs

Monday, 08.18.2014 / 4:08 PM / News

William Nylander, the eighth pick of the 2014 NHL Draft, signed an entry-level contract Monday with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the team announced. Financial terms were not disclosed.

"Not only does William Nylander bring a high level of speed and skill to his game but he has a very strong character on and off the ice," Maple Leafs general manager Dave Nonis said. "We believe he has a very bright future and are happy to have him signed to his first NHL contract."

Nylander, 18, was named the Maple Leafs' top prospect by

"He's a dynamic player with a high-end skill set," Maple Leafs director of player development Jim Hughes said. "His edges, his explosion, his acceleration, along with his hand speed. He's a really talented kid. During the prospect camp week we got the opportunity to know him as a person. He's very detailed, he's very motivated. And he's a wonderful kid that's been parented correctly. He's an impressive hockey player, but he's an impressive person as well."


Blue Jackets prospect Milano to play in OHL

Monday, 08.18.2014 / 12:07 PM / News

Sonny Milano, the Columbus Blue Jackets' first pick (No. 16) at the 2014 NHL Draft, has opted to play with the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League, backing out of a commitment to Boston College.

Milano released a statement to the Columbus Dispatch on Sunday through his agent that said it was a decision he had been going over since being drafted.

"After a great deal of thought and discussion with my family, I have spoken with [Boston College] Coach [Jerry] York and informed him that I will be playing for the Ontario Hockey League’s Plymouth Whalers this season," Milano wrote. "I think that BC is the best choice for those players who wish to go to school and play hockey. Every player's path to achieving his goal of playing in the NHL is different, and the best route for some is not necessarily the best route for others. For me, the opportunity to play in the OHL is the right decision."


Advanced stats could influence Maple Leafs lineup

Monday, 08.18.2014 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

For a combination of reasons, the Toronto Maple Leafs became the flashpoint in a battle for acceptance of advanced statistics in hockey last season.

The Maple Leafs front office was famously not on board, and at the same time Toronto was one of the teams not performing the way those statistics said it should be. After missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the eighth time in nine seasons, thanks in large part to a late-season swoon, the Maple Leafs made some major changes this offseason.

New president Brendan Shanahan did not make major personnel changes, but he did hire Kyle Dubas, an Ontario Hockey League general manager well versed in analytics, to join the front office. The new-look management group did try to improve the depth up front and on the back end.


Maple Leafs' Gardiner hopes to justify new contract

Monday, 08.18.2014 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Sean Farrell - Correspondent

This summer, the Toronto Maple Leafs stepped up to demonstrate their faith in Jake Gardiner's abilities. Now it's up to the smooth-skating defenseman to deliver on the five-year, $20.5 million contract he signed with the team on July 29.

Rather than accept a short-term bridge deal, the 24-year-old Minnesota native elected to commit long term to Toronto through what should prove to be his prime years.

"I am happy to be a Leaf for a really long time," Gardiner told the Toronto Star. "That was a big part of it, commitment. I thought having five years and the money was awesome. The security for me was good. It just shows the Leafs have a lot of faith in me."


Goalie competition tops Maple Leafs' five questions

Monday, 08.18.2014 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Sean Farrell - Correspondent

The Toronto Maple Leafs figure to again be battling for a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs until the end of the regular season. New president Brendan Shanahan retained general manager Dave Nonis and coach Randy Carlyle, but put his stamp on the franchise by imposing new assistant coaches on Carlyle and an untried wunderkind on Nonis, 28-year-old assistant general manager Kyle Dubas.

Here are five questions the Maple Leafs face as they embark on their quest to return to the playoffs for the second time in 11 years:


Maple Leafs relying on new faces to spark turnaround

Monday, 08.18.2014 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Sean Farrell - Correspondent

The Toronto Maple Leafs have a few new faces heading into the 2014-15 season, beginning at the top with the hiring late last season of Hall of Fame member Brendan Shanahan as the team's new president and alternate governor.

Though Shanahan never played for his hometown team, he has brought a wealth of NHL experience to his new role as head of the Maple Leafs, both on the ice and in the executive suite, having left his job as the NHL's Senior Vice President of Player Safety and Hockey Operations to come put his stamp on Toronto.

General manager Dave Nonis was retained, as was coach Randy Carlyle, who saw his staff replaced by former Florida Panthers interim coach Peter Horachek and Steve Spott, who previously served as coach of the Maple Leafs' American Hockey League affiliate, the Toronto Marlies.

Nonis also had his office purged when assistant GMs Dave Poulin and Claude Loiselle were let go.

That's where things really changed for the Maple Leafs.


Nylander leads Maple Leafs' top 10 prospects

Monday, 08.18.2014 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

Toronto Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan had a message for players at the team's prospect development camp last month: There are NHL jobs available, but it's up to them to step up and win them.

"He made it crystal clear to the people in the room that some of these kids are going to be vital pieces and impact pieces to our team moving forward," Maple Leafs director of player development Jim Hughes said. "We want to develop from within. We want to build our own players and build our own foundation. We've been doing that the last couple years. But for Brendan to make that statement and for the kids to hear his thoughts, his philosophies, his theories, it's important and it's a very positive message and it worked out well."

Now those players will come to training camp next month and attempt to put those thoughts into action.

Here's a look at the Maple Leafs' top 10 prospects, according to


Panthers looking to young players to fill lineup

Sunday, 08.17.2014 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

Other than the New York Islanders, the Florida Panthers might be the team among the NHL's bottom-10 finishers from the 2013-14 season most likely to vault into playoff contention in 2014-15.

Florida did not make dramatic improvements through offseason additions, and how the Panthers play for a third coach in less than a year remains to be seen, but there are plenty of exciting young players to build around.

There were signs of serious improvement in the second half of last season, particularly in puck possession, after Peter Horachek replaced Kevin Dineen as coach. Horachek was not retained, though, and Gerard Gallant and his 147 games of NHL head coaching experience remains a bit of a mystery.

It was a curious offseason for the Panthers as well. Jussi Jokinen and Willie Mitchell look like solid additions, but the $27.5 million contract for Dave Bolland was panned as one of the worst of the offseason by a considerable portion of the hockey community. There are lots of prospects on the precipice of becoming NHL regulars, but not a lot of spots available unless veterans on one-way contracts are removed from the equation.

If a few young players turn into stars, Florida can fight for a playoff berth. If more growing pains are needed, it could be another long season.

Here's a look at the projected 2014-15 lineup for the Panthers:


No. 1 pick Ekblad leads Panthers' top 10 prospects

Sunday, 08.17.2014 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

The Florida Panthers have been extremely busy building quite a formidable pool of prospects after choosing in the top five of the NHL Draft four of the past five years.

The time has come to begin reaping the benefits of those picks.

"I think bringing in [new coach] Gerard Gallant and his staff, coupled with the dynamic of what our roster looks like right now and what's coming through the pipeline will be a springboard moving forward," Panthers director of scouting Scott Luce told "I think we're going to be a significantly improved team this year. With the way our roster is set up and the great push of players set to come in, that combination will help us get to the next level."


With Gallant at helm, Panthers eye quick turnaround

Sunday, 08.17.2014 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Alain Poupart - Correspondent continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout August.

The Florida Panthers' blueprint of building around their talented high draft picks hasn't changed. What general manager Dale Tallon is hoping is the addition of a coach with NHL experience and veterans who have won the Stanley Cup can get his team out of a two-year funk.

Florida finished last and next-to-last in the overall standings the past two seasons, but Tallon is thinking about the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2014-15.

"My goal is to compete for a playoff spot all the way right to the bitter end," Tallon said. "That's what we're looking to do. I think if everybody has years that live up to their potential and the players develop and come together as a team and with our new coach, our goaltending and another year of experience for our younger guys, I think this team has got the ability if we stay healthy to compete for a spot."

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Quote of the Day

[He's] real confident with the puck now, getting it off his stick quick and no second-guessing. We need that. He's such a good guy in the room. He works so hard. That's the big thing. For not a big man, he just fights for every puck and when he scores, the guys appreciate that even more.

— Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice on Mathieu Perreault, who scored two goals in win against Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday