5 Things to Watch against the Kings – TheLeafsNation

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Well, I mean other than the fact that Tavares is healthy,and on a line with Moore and Marner, and Mikheyev and Kerfoot are playing with Kapanen, those lines are accurate.

First line winger Carl Grundstrom. If the trade was for anyone other than Jake Muzzin I’d be upset right now.

And now your five thoughts.

Holy Moly have I liked this guy. The year the Leafs grabbed him at the end of the second round of the draft, I had him pegged as a first round pick. I was psyched and frankly thought it made up the questionable Korshkov pick.

Seeing Grundstrom get sent out the door, and to the Kings of all places hurt, even if it did bring us Jake Muzzin, who presently enjoys all my unconditional love not used up on my family.

In the grandest fashion, expect Grundstrom to burn the Leafs at some point. If Par Lindholm can light up Toronto, Carl Grundstrom seems like he’ll be good for a point or two as well.

If it is, you’d hope to see Timashov, Gauthier, and Shore playing like they mean it. Spezza and Marincin won’t get that chance as they are already relegated to the press box, and that probably doesn’t bode too well for their future. Add Nic Petan to the mix, and we might see him play in for Shore, which adds even more question marks to what is going on in Toronto.

It will be interesting to see how Muzzin reacts to his old team. He won a couple of cups with these guys, and he’s going to want to put on a show against them, or at least that’s what we’d hope to see.

Muzzin is the lucky one, being able to escape to greener pastures to compete another day, but to see so much of the rest of the core of those cup teams remaining has to leave him feeling on the outside in a game like this. We can only hope that he takes out his feelings on Dustin Brown and Drew Doughty.

Freddie Andersen is 7-1-2 with a .927 save percentage in his 11 career games against the Kings. It’s safe to say he enjoys these Pacific Division reunions as well.

So Nylander’s scoring hasn’t come back all the way yet and that seems upsetting to some, and he’s certainly an easy mark for discussions around the Leafs needing to be more physical as well. Throw in the fact that William Nylander seems to be in the bad books of Mike Babcock, and it’s not surprising that we’re seeing another uprising against one of the Leafs star players.

Lost in all of that nonsense, are slivers of truther, but also the fact that Nylander has been one of the most defensive responsible players and one of the biggest catalysts for the strong possession game the Leafs have been playing this season. You could also argue that if he consistently had first power play unit time, he’d have closed that scoring gap by now, but that’s not the point I’m trying to make here.

The point is that Nylander is unique among the Leafs young stars, as he plays much more a complete game and arguably is the most consistent 5v5 performer. Learn to love Nylander and accept his flaws. You’ll miss him if he’s gone.