In this edition of Toronto Maple Leafs News & Rumors, I’ll take a look at news emerging from the team as it prepares to play the Winnipeg Jets tonight. The Jets got off to a rough start on their five-game road trip with a 4-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday.
The Maple Leafs staged a thrilling comeback to beat the Florida Panthers 5-4 in overtime on home ice on Tuesday. Ilya Samsonov, who relieved Matt Murray in goal, and William Nylander, who had two goals in the game, were the team’s heroes in the win.
Item One: Pontus Holmberg returns to the AHL
Pontus Holmberg Was sent back to the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League (AHL) on Wednesday. He has missed his last two matches with an undisclosed illness, but is now healthy enough.
It’s been a tough season for the 23-year-old Swedish winger, who, in the number six role with the Maple Leafs, has a reputation for not making too many mistakes and scoring in the secondary. Holmberg has four goals and seven assists (for 11 points) in 28 NHL games this season.
His return to the Marlies is a bit of a mystery; However, there are a number of possible reasons, including allowing the big club to see how Bobby McMann or Dryden Hunt can turn out by giving playing time or giving Alex Kerfoot a chance at center. Kerfoot will slot in as the fourth-line center against the Jets. Finally, the Marlies could also have a chance to give Holmberg a lot of playing time in the top six.
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Despite his success, Holmberg averaged just 10 minutes a game (10:28 TOI). It could just be that the organization believes he’ll get a bump playing heavy minutes in the AHL. He scored a goal in the Marlies’ shootout win over the Belleville Senators on Wednesday.
Item Two: Dryden Hunt: Three goals, three teams
Dryden Hunt is now a trivial question. He became the first NHLer since Ilya Kovalchuk In 2019–20 (along with the Los Angeles Kings, Canadiens and Washington Capitals) scored a goal for three different teams in one season.
Hunt has just three goals in three games with the New York Rangers, 25 games with the Colorado Avalanche and now eight games with the Maple Leafs.
Item three:: Projected lineup for today’s game against the Jets
Toronto Maple Leafs Projected Line
Michael Bunting – Auston Matthews – William Nylander
Calle Jarnkrok – John Tavares – Mitchell Marner
Pierre Engvall – David Kamp – Jack Aston-Rees
Dryden Hunt – Alexander Kerfoot – Bobby McMann
Timothy Liljegren – Morgan Reilly
Justin Hall – Mark Giordano
Conor Timmins – Geordie Benn
Item five: What’s going on with Nicolas Aube-Koubel?
One player who did not work out with the Maple Leafs was Nicolas Aube-Kubel. Aube-Kubel signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the Maple Leafs in July 2022 after spending most of the 2021–2022 season with the Avalanche, where he had 11 goals and 11 assists (for 22 points).
He was brought to the Maple Leafs last season because of his physical play after he had 123 hits in 67 games. However, after just six games with the Maple Leafs, it was clear the experiment wasn’t working, and he was placed on waivers — and promptly claimed by the Capitals.
On November 11, Aube-Kubel showed his physical side when he checked the head of Tampa Bay Lightning Cal Foote. he was Suspended for three games (until Nov. 19). The NHL Department of Player Safety, who ruled that Foote’s head was the main point of contact and the contact was avoidable.
Aube-Kubel was then a healthy scratch for 10 games, but was placed in the lineup after Lars Eller suffered an upper-body injury. On December 14, he registered two assists, his first two points of the season, in a 7–3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.
On January 6, Aube-Koubel scored his first goal of the season in a 6–2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets after being scratched the previous two games. He now has two goals and four assists in 15 games on the season, along with 25 penalty minutes.
It’s been a bit of a down season for Aube-Kubel. He’s played in a spotty role with the Capitals, sometimes in and sometimes out of the lineup.
What’s next for the Maple Leafs?
Depth defenseman Victor Mayte, who is suffering Dec. 5 lower-body injury against the Dallas Stars After hitting the board, traveled with the team on their recent road trip.
He is back skating, but there is no word yet on a possible return date.
The old professor (Jim Parsons, Sr.) taught for over 40 years in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta. He is a Canadian boy with two degrees from the University of Kentucky and a doctorate from the University of Texas. He is now retired on Vancouver Island, where he lives with his family. His hobbies include playing with his hockey cards and just being a sports fan – hockey, the Toronto Raptors and CFL football (Ricky Ray reveals how a professional athlete should behave).
If you’re wondering why he doesn’t use his real name, it’s because his son – who also happens to be Jim Parsons – writes for it hockey writer First and asked Jim Sr. to use a different name so readers wouldn’t confuse their work.
Because Jim Sr. worked in China, he adopted the Mandarin word for teacher (老師). The first character lǎo (老) means “elder” and the second character shī (師) means “teacher”. The literal translation of lǎoshi is “old teacher.” That became his pen name. Writing for others today hockey writerHe teaches research design to graduate students at several Canadian universities.
He looks forward to sharing his insights about the Toronto Maple Leafs and how sports can make life more fully engaging. His Twitter address is https://twitter.com/TheOldProf