The 2019 NHL draft will be held this weekend. Normally, this would be the time where I would be writing about what player the Toronto Maple Leafs should select in the first round of the draft. But, with the Leafs currently not owning a first round pick this year, because of the Jake Muzzin trade, I thought it would be more interesting for me to look back at past NHL drafts and make my own decisions on who the Leafs should have chosen with their first pick, with the benefit of hindsight.
I do have a couple rules for this exercise though. I can only choose a player available when the Leaf pick came around that year, and I will only go through draft years where I feel the Leafs could have made a better choice.
I will start with the 2008 draft. That year, Toronto had the fifth overall pick, and chose defenceman Luke Schenn. Though Schenn was solid in the four seasons he played with the Leafs, and the Leafs were able to trade Schenn for scorer James van Riemsdyk later, knowing how the future turned out, I would have taken a different person. In this 2008 redraft, I chose defenceman Erik Karlsson. In the 2008 draft, Karlsson was chosen 10 spots later than Toronto’s pick by the Ottawa Senators. Karlsson is the former captain of the Senators and is a two time winner of the James Norris trophy, which is annually given out to the player deemed the season’s best defenceman. Comparing stats, Karlsson has put up 563 points in his career, while Schenn has 145 points.
Moving on to the 2010 draft. That year, Toronto’s first pick was in the second round, 43rd overall, and they chose winger Brad Ross. Ross never played a regular season game with the Leafs, or even in the NHL, so, I think it is safe to say, this pick did not work out for Toronto. I would’ve taken a goaltender chosen by the Washington Capitals in the fourth round, Philipp Grubauer. Grubauer has played 138 regular season games in the NHL. He helped the Capitals win the Stanley Cup in 2018 as their backup, and was later traded to Colorado where he became their starter.
So, to recap so far, in the world of this exercise, Toronto could have had a top two defenceman in Karlsson and a future starter in Grubauer. So, now, let’s finish this off with the 2013 draft.
That year, Toronto’s first round pick, 21st overall, was big centre Frederik Gauthier.
I will note, I did write before about how I was happy Gauthier finally made the Leafs full time this past season, as the fourth line centre. Though, a fourth liner is not what teams typically go after in the first round of a draft, so, I think Toronto could have made a better choice. I would have chosen defenceman Shea Theodore. Theodore was chosen five picks after the Leafs’ slot in 2013 by Anaheim. This past season, Theodore had his best year offensively, scoring 12 goals, and 37 points for the Vegas Golden Knights. Since becoming a member of the Knights, Theodore has been a regular in the top four of their defence core. As Leaf fans have probably seen from the way this past season played out, an NHL team can never have too many capable defencemen.
As the annual draft approaches, it has been interesting to look back at what the Leafs could have had, knowing the information we have now, and what their roster could have looked like. Enjoy the 2019 NHL draft fans!
It never ceases to amaze me how a long playoff run by a Canadian sports team can bring the entire country together in support of that team.
In my lifetime, I’ve witnessed that in 2015 and 2016, when the Toronto Blue Jays made it all the way to the American League Championship Series (ALCS), and when the Canadian men’s Olympic hockey team won gold in 2010 and 2014. I’m witnessing it happening again, now with the Toronto Raptors.
What I noticed during the Olympic and Blue Jay experiences is the competition or series was a topic of conversation everywhere from business offices to people’s living rooms; by everyone from regular viewers of these teams to those who just started watching them because of the potential of a championship victory. People who didn’t watch any sports, or those who didn’t usually watch that particular sport, were tuning in, to find out if there was a reason to celebrate, and were talking to their friends about it. People from all walks of life were sporting jerseys of those teams to show their support.
Now, Canada is coming together to support the only NBA team in this country. Recently, the CN tower glowed Raptors’ red, and the “We the North” slogan was displayed on the tower as well. Similar to what I mentioned in the above paragraph, I have been seeing a lot more people wearing Raptors gear in the last couple weeks.
In both the playoff runs I mentioned before this Raptors run, I was the fan avidly watching the team or sport long before the playoff success. I can’t pinpoint exactly when I started, but I have watched Blue Jay games since I was in my tween years. Also, people who regularly read this column will know how much I have enjoyed watching hockey games over the years, cheering on the Toronto Maple Leafs and celebrating Canada’s success internationally in the sport. But, what may surprise people, since I am such a big sports fan, is that, up until recently, I have never watched a Toronto Raptors game, or even an NBA game.
Professional basketball never really interested me enough in the past for me to watch a game. But, since the Toronto Raptors were making their first trip to the NBA finals in their franchise history, I decided to watch the fourth quarter of Game 1 of the series, and I found it to be quite exciting. It is one thing to just read the scores of the games and know of some of the best players in the game, but it is yet another thing to see those players in action, and how the game ended up with that score.
I found myself captivated by the defensive blocks and the shots players were able to make.
It was because of this experience I decided to watch Game 2 of the series in its entirety.
It was probably the first time I experienced watching a professional playoff series game as a “casual fan.”
No matter if the Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors, to win the NBA championship, or not, at the very least the team can say they united an entire country behind them, and got me to watch a professional basketball game.
In the past few weeks, the Township of Scugog has made moves to strengthen their core assets, by launching a tourism website, putting out a request for proposals for a Port Perry waterfront plan, and putting out a request for expressions of interest for a use for Port Perry’s old mill.
Now, I can argue these all have one thing that ties them all together, and thus should be the main focus. That would be the old mill. Let me explain. The Township is currently looking for a tourism related business use to lease the old mill, so the mill itself could be a tourism driver, and with the mill being located at the base of Queen St. it is both the anchor of Port Perry’s waterfront and downtown business areas.
Having worked in Port Perry for over four years now, I know the mill has been a point of contention for residents, with some wishing it torn down and others wanting it to be saved and restored. Personally, I think it would be a shame for the mill to simply disappear, as it has so much potential to drive tourism, and it really is a landmark in Port Perry.
The mill represents something no other community has, as it is Canada’s oldest grain elevator. The mill was built in 1874. The historical significance of this building alone can be a real tourism hit for Scugog if marketed correctly. With it being a heritage facility, the mill provides an extra bit of character to Port Perry’s historical downtown.
Already, Port Perry’s mill, as a landmark, lets people know they have made it to Port Perry, with the letters spelling out the town’s name on top of the building.
The Port Perry Farmer’s Market has already seen the potential of the mill marketing wise, as they are using a drawing of it as part of their logo design, because they will be located near it this year.
So, when the Township receives the recommendations from the waterfront plan, I hope the biggest and first priority is to make sure the historic building has a leasee. To residents, the mill is here to stay, so I hope you can look at the mill and understand the potential benefits it can provide for the future of the township.
The season opened with great promise, but, in short time, came to an unfortunate end, way too early. Yes, I am describing the way the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 2018-2019 season unfolded.
Toronto came into the season with high hopes, after signing superstar centre John Tavares. They ultimately squandered an opportunity to go on a deep playoff run with an affordable young roster, being eliminated again by the Boston Bruins in the first round. So, where does the team go from here?
I have some thoughts on what the Leafs need to do this off-season, to be able to compete for a Stanley Cup in the 2020 season.
I’ll start with the obvious one. Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas needs to get Mitch Marner signed to a new contract, as soon as possible. For those unaware, Marner needs a new deal, as his current contract is set to expire as of July 1st. After what happened earlier this season, with William Nylander holding out until December to sign a new contract, consequently not being with the team until shortly after the contract negotiations were complete, it would be in Dubas’ best interest to get Marner signed before Canada Day.
Nylander did not have a great shortened season, finishing the regular season with just seven goals and 27 points. But, it’s not just the prospect of possibly not having the Leafs 2018-19 best point producer to start the season that should scare the Leafs GM. He should also be concerned about the possibility of Marner receiving an offer sheet, a practice that is rare in the NHL, but, with a player as talented as Marner, could happen.
Now, let me talk about the head coach. I know a lot of Leaf fans, on Facebook and Twitter, have recently been calling for the Leafs to fire Mike Babcock. I know during Toronto’s latest playoff run, I was one of those who contemplated what the team could do with a different face behind the bench, one who doesn’t overplay veterans such as Ron Hainsey and Patrick Marleau. But, as the emotion has started to wear off, from the sting of the latest playoff defeat, I thought logically about this and I think Toronto should hold onto one of the highest paid bench bosses in the league.
Mike Babcock may be stubborn at times with the way he does things, but he is still one of the best coaches in the league. He’s won a Stanley Cup, won the World Cup of Hockey, and has won gold medals at the Olympic level. With Joel Quenneville hired by Florida, there are no available coaches on the market who can bring the kind of pedigree Babcock does.
The Leafs also need to figure out the backup goalie position. I know in a past column, I defended Garret Sparks, but after the team removed him from the backup position, just before the start of the playoffs, it has become clear to me he doesn’t have the trust of management or the coaching staff. Therefore the Leafs need to decide if they are comfortable moving into next season with Michael Hutchinson as their backup, or if they feel Sparks deserves a second chance. If neither of those are the case, then the Leafs need to acquire a backup either through a trade or free agency. Just speculation, but Antti Niemi could be a fit, if Toronto decides to explore the free agent route.
Lastly, I’ll talk about Toronto’s salary cap situation, which seems to have been on Leafs fans’ minds since the start of this season. With the Nylander, Auston Matthews, and John Tavares contracts, and the expected big contract for Mitch Marner coming up, it is going to be a challenge for Dubas to put together a roster similar to what the Leafs had this season. He will have to be creative to work within the restraints of the salary cap. That could mean trading a contract like Nikita Zaitsev’s to make room, and possibly only re-signing one of Kasperi Kapanen or Andreas Johnsson. who, like Marner, are on expiring contracts. Another way may be to let Jake Gardiner go to free agency and replace him with a young defender like Rasmus Sandin or Timothy Liljegren.
Leaf fans, I hope next season we will get to see the Leafs make it out of the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 2004.
By the time this column runs this week, we will find Earth Day 2019 has come and gone and we are part way through the Township of Scugog’s Pitch-In week, a time where residents come together to clean up local neighbourhoods.
While it is nice, every year, to see people taking an interest around this time, cleaning up their town and learning more about green technologies, I think people should treat every week of the year like they do around this time of year.
This is not to say, Earth Day and Pitch-In week aren’t both important, but it is instead to say the ideas these events are based around should be on people’s minds all the time.
As residents, business owners, and employees, we all share and use the land we live on and work in, so, ideally, we all should have a vested interest in making sure it stays beautiful all the time. Including performing the kinds of acts, usually done by volunteers around this time of year, all year long, such as: picking up garbage when we see it on our trails, and in ditches, and parks; or alerting a volunteer group or municipality of a garbage issue, so they can discourage people from littering and then decide yourself not to litter; and learning as much as you can about how you can implement practices in your everyday life that are good for the environment.
On the topic of the beauty of the natural environment around you, I think it is also important to appreciate it. In a previous column which I wrote in 2017, I mentioned what's called nature deficit disorder, which is the theory that people are spending less time outside, leading to a whole host of behavioural issues and a lack of appreciation of nature. I encourage people to get outside as much as they can, to enjoy the natural environment in their area, and to foster an appreciation of nature for themselves. I believe the more people experience nature, the more likely they will be encouraged to keep it clean, and try to save the natural environment.
Over the years, federal and provincial politicians, environmental groups, and local residents have mentioned climate change as an important issue and a concern. It is obviously on a lot of people’s minds all the time, so education about green practices, and how to save wildlife and native plants should run all throughout the year, really.
Overall, my message to everyone reading this edition of the column is, as human beings we all share the same planet, so making sure your community and your world is a clean and sustainable place should always be top of mind, apart of us, no matter what time of year it is.
These past few weeks have shown me a couple of examples of youth and young adults in this community taking an interest in their community’s future, and trying to make their voice heard.
Those who have read my column in the past know, I support and encourage youth to be involved in shaping the future of their community, their province, and country.
My first example is 20 year-old Cearra Howey, a Port Perry resident and Standard employee, who was recently elected the Chairperson of Scugog’s Accessibility Advisory Committee. Cearra was recently recognized, at a Scugog council meeting, by Ward 3 Councillor Angus Ross, as one of the youngest committee chairs Scugog has had. In the year’s time I’ve gotten to know Cearra, through working with her at The Standard, I’ve noticed how ambitious, intelligent and talented she is, and I wish her good success in the role of chairperson.
With no youth advisory committee in this term of council, I’m happy to see an example of a young person in this community taking part in the municipal process, and in a committee leadership role.
The next example comes from the school walkout protests, which occurred at elementary and secondary schools across the province of Ontario, on Thursday, April 4th.
That day, I photographed the walkout at Port Perry High School and I was a little surprised by the large number of students that were lined up in front of the school, several of them carrying signs. The walkouts were to protest the cuts to education programs and other changes to Ontario’s education system made by the provincial Conservative government. No matter what political party you support, whether you support the current Conservative provincial government or are critical of it, I think people should be proud to know youth, especially youth in a small community like Port Perry, are taking an interest in what the different governments are doing, and are actively making their opinions known.
I’m encouraged to see youth and young adults taking an interest in guiding the future of the municipal and provincial levels of government. With Earth Day coming up in less than a couple weeks, hopefully we will see a lot of youth involved in making the community a cleaner and better place.
The 2018/2019 NHL season has been an impressive one for Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly, and with the regular season winding down, I think Rielly is the team’s most valuable player this season.
Lets examine things to understand why I think Rielly is the team’s MVP, when Toronto has superstars like Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner and goaltender Frederik Andersen. I think we should start with what he brings to the locker room. Rielly is the third longest serving active Maple Leaf, behind only Nazem Kadri and Jake Gardiner for time spent with the team. He brings experience to this young roster, but also leadership, as he is the only one of those three long time Leafs to wear an ‘A’ on his jersey this season, as an alternate captain. The Leafs have two other alternate captains, they are Tavares and Patrick Marleau. Toronto media have been speculating all season long about who should be Toronto’s next captain, and Rielly’s name has come up on more than one occasion.
He also leads the team in total time on ice as of press time, and his average time on ice is over 23 minutes per game, which tops the team stat list as well. Obviously, this shows the coach trusts Rielly to play in any situation in a game.
With a team that sometimes struggles with defence, Rielly is one of the most responsible players, as he is second on the team in the plus/minus stat, sitting at a plus 28, and has only taken 12 minutes in penalties.
Offensively, Rielly also recently became the third defenceman in Maple Leafs history to record 20 goals in one season. The other two were Al Iafrate and Ian Turnbull. As of press time, Rielly is tied for third on the team in points with 68, and is fourth on the team in goals. Looking at the stats across the league, Rielly is the third highest point producing defenceman in the NHL, behind only Brent Burns of San Jose and Mark Giordano of Calgary.
I don’t think the Leafs would be having the success they’ve had this season without Rielly, and that is why I think he is the team’s MVP.
Last week, on Friday, March 8th, the world celebrated International Women’s Day.
Personally, I have been blessed to have had the influence of strong, kind and successful women all around me my entire life, and I feel I owe a lot of the success I’ve had over the years to them. Obviously, I won’t be able to recognize all of them in the confines of this column, but I will write about some of them.
Let’s start with the person who gave birth to this reporter, my mother Lorie. Scugog residents may have met my mother over the years. For many years, she has been working tirelessly as a nurse at Medical Associates of Port Perry.
Because of how hard my mother works at her job, she was one of the people who has taught me the importance of hard work, and how far hard work will take you in life. She has also supported and encouraged both my sister and I to pursue our dream careers, and over the years has sacrificed her time and money to help us get there.
Some of the things I can thank my mom for in helping me achieve my journalism dream include: picking me up late at college because I had a late game or event to cover; taking the time to drive me to an event off campus; or driving me and a couple of my journalism student friends to a location to do some extra video work for an assignment; helping me with financing for college, so I could take the courses and eventually graduate; and just listening to me talk when I had a hard or frustrating day.
I already mentioned her in the above paragraph, so I guess I should write something about my sister Katrina. Over the years, my sister has been someone I’ve been able to hang out with, talk to and laugh with, and play games with. People who’ve read my column before may remember I’ve written in the past about how my sister is enrolled in Queen’s University. She has the ambitious dream of becoming a doctor one day, and I wish her success in that endeavour.
I should also mention the several female friends I’ve made from elementary school until college. In this paragraph, I don’t want to mention any names, as I don’t want to leave anyone out, but I will say I have a lot of ambitious, talented and supportive female friends, and I appreciate how they’ve been there to encourage and support me over the years. They’ve made me laugh when I’ve felt down, they’ve provided a listening ear when I’ve needed to rant about a frustrating moment, they’ve inspired me with their ambitions and supported mine, and they’ve helped me de-stress after long workdays by inviting me to fun events. I am thankful to know and have so many great female friends.
Let me finish this list by mentioning that The Standard Newspaper’s team includes several talented women. I won’t mention all of them, as you have likely read their names somewhere in this newspaper, but I will mention the business is largely run by a woman named Colleen Green. She’s worked hard to keep this newspaper running and on track, so you, the reader, can continue to read about local news, events, sports and features.
I’m grateful to have so many amazing females in my life. I encourage people to take time to thank the women in your lives who’ve helped guide or influence you.
As has been reported by the Toronto media, a member of Toronto council recently brought up an idea of looking at imposing term limits on municipal councillors in that city. I don’t think term limits are a good idea for the municipal level, in Toronto or in the communities The Standard covers.
First off, presently, there is nothing stopping a member of council from simply not running in a future election, if they feel there needs to be turnover on council, and I feel that should remain to be their choice. If someone is qualified enough and is trusted by their community enough to be re-elected then it would make sense, they should be allowed to serve the community they reside in for as long as they feel they can or would like to.
On that note, let’s talk about what term limits would mean to voters in the municipality. It would be a way of governmental procedure telling voters who they can and can’t vote for. A candidate the residents trust might not be able to get on the ballot if they’ve already served the maximum term imposed. Locally, this could also lead to a lot less competition on the ballot as candidates might be turned off by the fact they can only work for the municipality for so long. I think, if the residents want to see and have a choice of various talented individuals, then governments should not be picky about who gets on the ballot come election time. Trust the voters to make a change if they feel it is necessary.
For those worried the current system doesn’t allow for enough turnover on council, you merely have to look at the last municipal election in Scugog. Janna Guido in Ward 2, was the one incumbent who retained her seat, while four newcomers were elected to council, showing change is always possible in an election.
So far in Canada there aren’t term limits at the provincial or federal levels. I don’t know why it would make sense to try it at the municipal level.
Lastly, sometimes it takes a while for certain projects to be accomplished, even through multiple terms of council, at the municipal level. As the old saying goes, the wheels of government turn slowly. One only has to look at ongoing projects in Uxbridge and Scugog, such as the Brock Street Culvert, Lake Scugog Enhancement Project, the New Animal Shelter for Uxbridge-Scugog, and the Second Access Road for Scugog Island to see the proof of that. Now, on that note, let me just state, some projects simply just take longer than others to complete. Certain councillors, if they work hard enough and earn the trust of voters, should be allowed to see these projects through to completion.
It looks like, from what I’ve read thus far, this term limit proposal is not going to happen anytime soon, and that’s a good thing as I think it just doesn’t make sense right now to impose term limits at the municipal level.
The PJHL regular season in the Orr Division is now complete, and the playoffs are set to begin this week.
As avid readers of this column might remember, last year I tried my hand at predicting the outcome of the two first round Orr Division playoff matches. Both of those predictions ended up being correct, so I thought I’d do something similar again this year.
Now, the reason I say similar is because the playoffs are a little different this time around. Last year, two teams received byes to the second round and there were two first round best of seven series. But, this time around, the top five teams have advanced to the playoffs, with the 4th and 5th placed teams, Clarington Eagles and the Port Perry MoJacks, playing a best of three series to decide who will face the first place team, Uxbridge Bruins, in the division semi finals. The other division semi final matchup is already set, between the second place North Kawartha Knights and the third place Lakefield Chiefs. I will make predictions for both of those series.
Since it is the first series to occur, let me start my predictions with the Port Perry-Clarington series. Just like last year, I am choosing the MoJacks to advance. Yes, I am the reporter that has been covering Port Perry’s team specifically, but I do have evidence to back up my prediction.
For one thing, if this series goes to the full three games, it will be played mainly on the road for Port Perry (two games in Clarington, one in Port Perry) and the MoJacks record is slightly better on the road than it is at home. They have nine wins on the road, as opposed to seven wins on home ice.
As well, the MoJacks are also the higher scoring of the two teams. Port Perry finished the season with 160 goals scored while Clarington was second lowest in the division in that category with 141 goals for.
Now on to the semi final matchup that’s already set. I think this will be a hard fought series going the distance, and I’m picking the North Kawartha Knights to win it.
North Kawartha has had a fantastic season, and have improved immensely from where they were last year.
Last season, North Kawartha finished with 18 wins and 39 points for fifth place in the division. However, this season they finished with 30 wins and 64 points for second place in the division. In comparison, the Chiefs have regressed a bit from their 2017-18 Schmalz cup winning season, going from 34 wins and 72 points for first place to 30 wins and 64 points for third place.
The Knights will also be motivated to avenge a loss to these Chiefs, a series sweep, in the second round of last season’s playoffs.
In addition, North Kawartha was the second highest scoring team in the division, finishing the season with 202 goals scored, while Lakefield was third with 184 goals scored.
Is a reporter for The Standard Newspaper, so if you see him, feel free to say hello. You can follow Dan on Twitter at @dancearnsy