LEAFS SNAPSHOTS: Willy Nylander could be wily on PK

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William Nylander doesn’t see his projected additional penalty-killing obligation this 12 months as drudgery, actually Sheldon Keefe would name it a reward.


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“Once we see development in a participant, his position must replicate that,” the coach mentioned Saturday morning. “I really feel he took massive steps final 12 months, in his consideration to element, defensively, and simply his play with out the puck normally, being persistently aggressive. Then you definately see his talent set in that — sturdy, good instincts, a extremely good stick to choose off pucks. And naturally he’s harmful in transition.”

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The Nylander particular groups experiment got here out of final season’s dip in efficiency, Toronto’s PK unit slipping to the league’s backside 10 at 78.5%.

“We additionally had some modifications in our teaching workers (Dean Chynoweth taking the short-handed project after success with Carolina final 12 months),” Keefe mentioned. “He’s been on board with William and had Auston (Matthews) been energetic, he’d have been a participant as effectively.


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“The best way we wish to kill penalties this season goes to require extra stress, take much more power and we’ll want extra guys to do it (corresponding to newcomer Ondrej Kase). We’re attempting to provide ourselves extra alternative to make use of our depth and there’ll be competitors for these positions.”

The energetic skater in Nylander disliked sitting too lengthy if the Leafs bumped into penalties.

“You’re capable of get transferring versus sitting on the bench for an prolonged interval,” Nylander mentioned, “and preserve the puck out of the web which is a very powerful factor.”

He smiled when recalling his final penalty-killing expertise previous to this camp, a recreation final 12 months in Vancouver the place he missed a staff assembly and was virtually scratched, earlier than being given the PK process as a part of his penance.


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Chynoweth was additionally given one other summer time mission — retaining former No. 1 draft choose Timothy Liljegren engaged, as various new acquisitions and fellow Swedish high choice Rasmus Sandin preserve him low on the depth chart.

“Dean has are available in right here with a recent set of eyes on him with preparation for the season, with video and has been excited to work with him. Every part he’s seen from him by camp has confirmed that. He believes in him and desires him round and to be a part of issues. As a younger participant, it’s a must to be pleased with that (particular consideration) in a coach.

“Timothy has accomplished a pleasant job, whether or not we paired him with Jake Muzzin for whereas or others. He’s progressed effectively and accomplished all he issues requested of him.



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Alex “Bulldog” Biega, the 33-year-old Montreal-born defenceman through Harvard with 241 NHL video games, stays with the staff for now after he and ahead Kurtis Gabriel had been positioned on waivers Saturday.

“He’s an awesome veteran,” Keefe praised. “Anyone I’ve spoken to, or to anybody in our group earlier than the choice to signal him, is that he’s simply the consummate professional, final teammate.

“He has a degree of physicality and ease to his recreation that we predict is an effective addition to the depth of our group, one other man who delivered on what we thought we had been getting when it comes to his work habits.”


It is likely to be Biega and lower-salaried fringe Leafs who unexpectedly get into video games when the membership is stretched on cap compliance and both should a drop a participant from the 23-man roster or ship gamers right down to the Marlies who don’t require waivers.


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“That’s a part of our actuality,” Keefe mentioned. “We’re not the one staff in he NHL coping with that. Ever for the reason that flat cap has been a factor right here, you see plenty of them doing it. We’re lucky final season (partially as a result of a taxi squad was permitted within the truncated schedule) we didn’t should play short-handed the place plenty of groups did. Lots of instances issues like that occur which might be out of your management.”


Across the league, there was a lot concern about Alex Ovechkin’s decrease physique damage on Friday evening and plenty of hindsight about utilizing stars in exhibition video games. “You’re all the time hoping the fellows get by, pre-season or common,” Keefe mentioned. “You hate to see it occur (now), however hockey must be performed; in the present day or subsequent week. You must cope with it” … The Leafs misplaced a participant of their very own throughout their pre-season finale, with Ilya Mikheyev departing the sport after the primary interval with a hand damage … Brady Tkachuk stays unsigned because the Senators’ season opener looms. It’s unclear how a lot proprietor Eugene Melnyk is likely to be influencing his hockey workplace in negotiations, as he has not been afraid to alienate stars in previous talks. However Tkachuk may very well be a bridge deal for 3 years with hopes of a greater pay day down the street, versus administration hoping to signal him long run.



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