We have reached the last week of September, and that means another National Hockey League (NHL) season is soon upon us, which means, it is once again time for me to make my predictions for the 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs season.
For those who haven’t been avidly reading this column, every year, since I started with The Standard, I have been making predictions around this time of year, about such topics as, what certain players will achieve, how the team will do in the standings, and what fringe players I think will make the roster among others.
To recap, in my first year doing these predictions, a couple years ago, not many of them came true. However, last year’s predictions were a little more successful. Among the ones that did come true were: Mitch Marner making the team; Auston Matthews becoming a top pairing centre, before the midway part of the season, and the Leafs not finishing in last place.
Now, without further ado, on to this year’s predictions.
Let me start with the Leafs’ biggest free agent acquisition, Patrick Marleau. I think, despite being 38 years old, Marleau will score about 20 goals this season. Marleau has scored less than 20 goals, only once, in his last four seasons. He’s finished his last two seasons with 25 and 27 goals. Now, I think this year he will score somewhere between 20-23, because unlike in some past years, he is playing on a third line. However, that is still a pretty good number for a guy in his late thirties.
Now, moving on to the fate of the fifth and sixth defensive pairing, I think Calle Rosen and Connor Carrick will fill those spots.
I have been impressed, watching Rosen so far in the preseason. In the first game, where the majority of the defense seemed shaky, Rosen looked calm and, in my opinion, displayed great hockey sense. As well, I will note that, Rosen has been on the good side of the plus/minus stat, in his last two seasons in Sweden. Last year he was a plus 19, and the year before he was a plus 2. He can also score, having potted 6 goals last year for Vaxjo HC.
Now, the reason I chose Connor Carrick is, because he was part of last year’s roster, and is still a young defenceman, at 23 years of age, the Maple Leafs are still developing.
Lastly, I think the Maple Leafs will trade, at least one forward, for a top pairing defenceman, by the trade deadline. With very few roster spots seemingly available, the Leafs have plenty of forwards knocking on the door, including Kasperi Kapanen, Josh Leivo, Nikita Soshnikov and Carl Grundstrom. It is possible, the Leafs could trade a player, such as James van Riemsdyk, along with a package of draft picks, or a prospect, for a number one defenceman.
Just like every year, feel free to call me on any of these, if they don’t end up coming to pass. Regardless though, I am excited about this upcoming season.
It’s funny how it can sometimes seem like no time has passed when you meet up with friends you haven’t seen in a long time.
Recently, I went to a drop-in gathering at Durham College for former students and faculty of the program, in the room where we used to produce the campus newspaper. This gave me the opportunity to catch up with friends, some I had not seen in several years, and others I had only run into once or twice since I graduated the program.
Other than the parts of the conversation related to where we were working or what we were doing since we’d graduated, it felt like we were picking up where we left off, like no time had passed since we were in college together. Despite the new life experiences, the new jobs or career paths we had taken, and just the amount of time that had passed by, everyone seemed like the same person they were in college.
After spending a short amount of time, hanging out and chatting with our former professors and amongst ourselves, seven of my former classmates and I headed down to a restaurant near campus to continue our conversation. Among other things, we joked about the funny moments we had in the college, and about the bigger personalities or exuberance of some of our former classmates, and the conversation just flowed like no time had passed by.
I remember, since the second year of my time in the program, my graduating class was a close tight-knit group of people. We were there to support any of our classmates who were having a tough time, shared many laughs and, for the most part, enjoyed working with each other. As I’ve mentioned before in a previous column, the journalism program at Durham College not only taught me the skills I need to be the journalist I am today, but also gave me the opportunity to make so many friends I am still in contact with today.
It was fun to catch up with the friends I had not seen in a long time, and it is something I hope to do a lot more of in the near future.
While many kids don’t want to think about it, another school year is quickly approaching, as we have reached the last week of August.
A couple years ago, I wrote a column that encouraged students to savour the moments with the people they meet in school, and I still encourage students to do just that. However, with a new school year soon upon us, I have some extra tips for students returning to learning institutions.
First of all, I recommend learning as much as you can from those who are teaching you. Yes, I am aware that is the goal in the classroom, but I am recommending students ask questions about the information they are being given, and maybe even talking to those teachers or professors after class to see if they can learn more or get clarity on something.
When I was in high school, I was the kind of student that didn’t always ask questions. However, when I got to college that changed, where I constantly used the office hours my professors made available to me, and I learned a lot from them. The cliché, which says, you are always learning in life, is true. You never know what you might learn by asking questions and form a connection with those teaching you.
While getting good grades is important, students should also remember that grades are not as important as what you learn and how you can apply it to the everyday world. The purpose of school is to prepare you for the real world, and when all is said and done, not many people are going to ask you what your grades were after you reach the end of your post-secondary education. Not as many are going to care much that you got an ‘A’ in math in one elementary school year. They will instead be looking for how you can apply what you learned into the workforce.
Of course, I am not saying don’t strive to have great grades. What I am saying is, be careful not to let people define you, and make sure you don't define yourself by their attitudes, but instead, by how much you learned about the subject in that one class, and maybe even by how much you learned about yourself.
This is where the previous tip comes into play, asking questions and learning as much as you can from each teacher. The main point here is to not just study up on the facts to get a good grade, but to try to gain a better understanding of them and what they can tell you about the world around you.
I wish all students who are going back to school good success.
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