What to expect from new Maple Leafs forward Nick Abruzz

A quick mix of things we’ve collected since Hockey Week, serious and less so, and four lines rolling deep. [INSERT WILL SMITH JOKE HERE.]

1. Sheldon Keef learned something while dialing Harvard University head coach Ted Donato before Nick Abruzzi made his Toronto Maple Leaf debut on Saturday.

Kiev knew that buzz-worthy prospects served as Crimson’s captain. What Abruzzese’s new coach didn’t know was that the captaincy at Harvard was voted on by the players. To Kiev, it says volume about the maturity, character and leadership of the latest leaf.

Much like Marliss coach Greg Moore – who guided Abruzz with the Chicago Steeles – Donato can be trusted to be a 22-year-old player coach.

“Really smart players, very skilled players. Both USHL and now Youth College Hockey have produced at very high rates, ”Keefe said.

“We’ll see where he is and where our team and our lineup are, but he’ll be here in the near future.”

Abruzzese is a Nifty playmaker and power-play threat who has scored 77 points in 59 games in two NCAA campaigns.

Of course, Abruzges considered the option of staying at the school – knowing full well that unsigned NCAA alumni could choose their own landing place.

But by signing with Maple Leafs over the weekend, the player moves to RFA status and confirms the taste of NHL action for an extended rival team.

“There was a little bit before and behind,” Abruzzese said of his decision. “At the end of the day, I think I was ready for this jump in professional hockey, and I’m happy to do it.”

By all accounts, the young man’s outlook indicates that he is ready to become a professional. (There is no harm in giving up the ELC pay bonus to support a cap-crunch franchise.)

Here’s the catch.

The most powerful feature of Abruzzi is that it does not fit the immediate needs of the roster to go to the playoffs. Is he going to replace an established weapon in the NHL’s most dangerous power-play? Could a five-foot-nine, 160-pound winger make a meaningful impact in the fourth line, where he will start in Philadelphia?

Ask Nick Robertson how difficult it is to be in the NHL without some serious AHL grooming.

Wearing the No. 26 and running his first Lifes line in the skate on Tuesday morning in Boston, Abruzzi felt a clear jump.

“Of course the speed and physique of being there for a morning skate, where it’s quite relaxing and everyone is just trying to get loose, you can definitely feel a higher speed and a higher intensity level,” he said.

“I am trying to help the team as much as I can. Apparently, they are having a great year and they have some pretty big aspirations. So no matter how hard I try to help them, I’m here to try. “

One or two punches from the epidemic and selected hip surgery have taken Abruzzi off his entire 2020-21 season. He delayed signing his entry-level contract to rehabilitate his body and his game.

Trimming gave him some perspective as well as time to bulk up as much as possible.

“Just getting another hockey season might have been something I granted, but I’m really grateful for that,” said Abruzzi.

Abruzzi was immediately welcomed by the big club. Alexander Kerfut and Colin Blackwell help chat with a couple of fellow Harvard men in the room. And he’s already started picking the brain of Jason Spagger, who addressed the Abruzzi and other Leafs optimists at the development camp in August.

“An incredible player with such a great career,” Abruzzi said of Spazza. “I’m just trying to take small things [in] And get used to it as much as I can. “

Kerfoot spent time around the possibility in the off-season. He is thrilled about his honing skills and “elite brains” for playing.

“The other thing you noticed is his appetite. He wants to be better, “said Kerfoot. “He wants to be the best player on the ice every night.”


2. Kiev was encouraged by Abruzzi’s strong Olympic game against Team Canada, which has a group of players with whom the Leafs coach is familiar.

“It was great to wear a jersey for the first time for our first game because I never represented our country,” said Abruzzi. “It was really special to be able to do that.”

He hit up a quick friendship with fellow Team USA member and Leafs prospect Matthew Knies.

“Really efficient and a kind of moose on ice. Physically, he’s kind of crazy. We had some good chemistry at the Olympics. It was nice to get to know him and he’s an incredible player. “

A whim? How?

“She is three years younger than me, but she looks like a boy to me. He’s just really explosive and really strong on the puck and athletically really talented. “

With due respect to Abruzzi, it is clear from the scouts that he is even more funny-bauche in the case of the next big thing in Lefland. Knies are entrée.

3. The attention of injured players to the long list of Maple Leafs would have increased if they had not picked up three big wins in a row.

Jake Muzin will not play on Saturday, but he is now traveling with the team. Expect to return to Florida.

Taylor Hall punches Ilya Libushkin in the neck again and gives him a headache, but the Russian bear should be good to go to Philly. (“Louv Bush,” Muzzin told reporters with a smile, undoubtedly grateful for another hard hitter on the back end.)

Alexander Kerfut missed practice on Friday to rest his injury but is expected to play on Saturday. How many games will Pierre-Luke Dubis have to be suspended if Kerfoot is seriously injured in this game?

4. We went from Keith Yandel Ironman Record Watch to Keith Yandel Ironman Overwatch. The Flyers defenseman stood out in an NHL-best 989 consecutive game, but skated in fourth pair for an eroded Philly squad on Friday.

He is dealing with an illness.

“I do not even want to fall into speculation [Yandle not playing] Until we make that decision, “coach Mike Yo told reporters after the skate.” “Whenever you’re dealing with a player, communication is obviously important. I’m not sure what’s going to happen tomorrow, so I don’t want to go into any of them right now.”

Could Yandle’s remarkable run really end in 11 games 1,000 shy?

Its average snowfall (i.e., coach’s belief) has been steadily declining every month this season, from 16:09 in October to 12:48 in March. Even with Philly’s missing corpse, his matrix was not kind.

Meanwhile, Phil Kessel (967) has overtaken Doug Jarvis at No. 2 on the Ironman list, just 23 games behind Yandel.

5. Jack Campbell revealed to reporters that he hit his ribs in Columbus on February 22.

The goaltender then started three more games, conceding 14 goals. He dragged one of them and posted a save percentage of .800, .821 and .867 in those outings.

Either he tried to play silently through the pain, perhaps worried about Petra Mrajak’s rivalry, or Leifs hoped the injury was minor.

However, it was great for the player and the club that he was given a physical and emotional reset.

“I’m not going to make any excuses for my performance,” Campbell said Friday. “But playing with some pain is not fun. It’s part of the game. I’m lucky that the team is behind me and lets me heal and get stronger and I’m ready to go now. “

Mrazek sidelined until the middle of the minimum round 1, with Campbell alone at the crease.

Let’s see what he can do from Saturday.

6. I have said this before, and I will say it again: Bruce Cassidy is one of the most forthcoming coaches on the podium. Always appreciate the detail that he breaks down some of the subtleties of the game and the gig.

Here’s how the Bruins coach explains how he uses analyzes from the “nests above” for practical use with his players:

PS “They are good nerds.”

7. In an interview with TNT Broadcast this week, Minnesota goalkeeper Mark-Andre Flurry confirmed that the Washington Capitals have expressed interest in trading for the former Pittsburgh Penguins.

“That doesn’t sound right,” Flurry said.

You have to respect GM Bill Guerin for challenging the Goltender Cam Talbot with little internal competition during a complex spring.

His first two Tests for the Wild came against a non-play-off team, but Flurry was 2-0 with his new team with a 1.50 GAA and .948 save percentage.

8. Some may have argued about the amount of money ($ 5.5 million AAV) and the term (six years) of getting center Philip Danolt from LA Kings as a free agent.

However, the results of Year 1 cannot be disputed.

At 29, Danlot has exploded for a career-best 21 goals and a plus-17 for a team on the post-season track.

By comparison, Nick Suzuki, Montreal’s most productive shooter, has 18 goals.

“Every penny is worth it,” Kings tweeted.

Yes

9. Each Heart Trophy ballot has five empty slots.

Am I really going to burn three points with two defenders and one goaltender?

Unless things change radically, it will be harder to do.

10. The heels of his Olympic gold medal – well-earned, to be sure, but not really the best-on-best – according to the IIHF, Finland surpasses Canada as the No. 1-ranked men’s hockey country.

Russia is third, the United States is fourth, Sweden is fifth and Switzerland is now sixth – the country’s highest ever ranking.

Looking at these (suspicious?) Power rankings just makes me salivate for the real best-on-best to dispose of it for real. The Hockey World Cup 2024 may not come soon.


11. Speaking of which, the league has announced that the next World Cup will not have gimmick squads like 2016 runner-up Team Europe and Team North America – arguably the best collection of young talent ever.

What makes the burning finish of TNA more special:

12. Climbing high from her retro maple leaf alternate sweaters, Justin Bieber visited some of his own fans (who are twice as many as Canadian fans) as his tour rolled through Bell Center.

During the break in the song, Bibas tweeted:Not looking for that play-off spot for you this year? “Then the pop star went full heels and a” go! Leaves! Go! “

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