The season of predictions has begun, and I have decided to jump on that all too perilous bandwagon. With NHL training camps opening, I have decided to make some bold predictions for the Toronto Maple Leafs 2015-16 season.
I’ll start with Leafs fans favourite whipping boy Nazem Kadri. Despite his past inconsistent performances, I can see Kadri having a breakout year this year and will have his first 25 goal season. With the loss of Phil Kessel to Pittsburgh, the Leafs will need scoring by committee and this is where Kadri will find a way to help out. Mike Babcock said at a recent press conference that the Leafs centre “has had a good summer,” and that he is a guy that the veteran coach “going to focus strongly on.” Not to mention as well that he comes into camp on a one year contract, meaning that he has something to prove to management and the team. I believe that Babcock has the tools and Kadri has the skills to make this a career year for the young centre.
I also believe that young defenceman Jake Gardiner will be moved by the trade deadline. In his NHL career, Gardiner has only had one season where he finished on the plus side of the plus/minus stat. In that season, he only played 12 games for the team. Mike Babcock likes to have a defensively sound system, and I think Gardiner will struggle in that system. His liabilities have included turning over the puck on a consistent basis and not having a plan when he has the puck. However Gardiner is just 25 years old, and some teams make take a flyer on his potential. He could very easily be flipped for draft picks.
Moving to the PTO players, I think that both Curtis Glencross and Brad Boyes will make the final squad. At 32 years old, Glencross would bring some extra veteran leadership to the room. It has been several years since he has been in this situation, where he has to fight for a roster spot. This was because the Flames saw him as a good veteran leader and averaging just over 13 goals a year the last few seasons, a solid third line contributor. Boyes has been a consistent player the last few seasons, averaging 36 points per year. At 33, his output has not tapered off, and he could be relied upon to help create offence that the Leafs sorely need. This is also a homecoming for the Mississauga native, giving him extra incentive to have a good camp.
Finally, standings wise, I see the Leafs improving on their 30 win, 68 point season. This is because there is only one way to go after a season like last year, and that is hopefully up. The leafs have a head coach that hates to lose and with that comes a fresh outlook. However, this is still a rebuild, and as Mike Babcock said “there will be pain.”
You can call me on these if they don’t end up as I say. I am not afraid to admit when I am wrong. Regardless though, this will be an interesting season.
A new school year is upon us, and with it comes a different feeling for me.
As people return to elementary, secondary, college or university, for the first time I do not have to enter a learning institution. After two years of kindergarten, eight years of elementary, four years of secondary and three years at Durham College, I am now part of the every day working world.
For the kids that have returned to school, I have some advice. While the process of reaching your career appears to be long, savour the moments with the people that you meet throughout this process. After going through the education system, I have met many friends that I am still in contact with today. I do admit, there are some days that I wish I could relive some of the fun on playgrounds during recess, or just chat sessions in between classes.
As we get older, our perceptions of time increase, and it seems that individual moments flash by. That is why I think everyone should learn to enjoy the small moments. Every small memory that could turn into an interesting story when you are older is important. Because one day, those people you spent many years with with spread off to other places in search of their dreams, and you may not have as many opportunities with them to hang out and have fun.
I think sometimes as human beings, we are too fixed on the bigger picture and we just focus on how to get from point A to point B. We tend to forget to remember and enjoy the small moments. The work-life balance does not start when you enter the workplace. You should have a mix of fun and work as you go through school or you might burn out. I remember an interview I did in college with child development expert Dr. Stuart Shanker where he told me that one of the things society is fighting is that the comparison of test scores has caused an almost overworking mentality for children. The small fun things are getting lost to the bigger picture of work. Slowing down and returning the balance of work and socialization time is the cure.
Now seeing people returning to school is not the only bittersweet moment for me, as my sister Katrina has officially taken the next step in her learning adventure. This weekend, she officially moved into Kingston, and her residence at Queen’s University.
It is an exciting, as well as intimidating, time for her, as she starts a new adventure. It’s also an odd feeling for my family. We have become so used to living in the same house together for many years, that it is odd to not have her presence around and to see her room unoccupied.
But, as my sister begins her new adventure, I wish everyone else good luck with the next chapters of their lives, and I am excited about continuing this chapter of my life.
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