Connor Brown is an average depth forward and that's fantastic

Ryan Hobart
December 19 2016 07:51AM

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Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY SPORTS

Recently, Connor Brown has been fitting in nicely for the Maple Leafs. It seems like an appropriate time to talk about his performance so far in more detail. He has played all 29 games for the Maple Leafs so far and has seen a lot of faith put in him by Mike Babcock.

Despite being a forward that didn't have to go through waivers, among a sea of depth forwards that the Maple Leafs had in training camp, Connor Brown was able to find a role on this Maple Leafs team. It started on the 4th line with Holland and Martin, grew into a 3rd line role with Nazem Kadri, and now is partially becoming a shared role on Auston Matthews and Zach Hyman's 1st/2nd line (the line TOI is a little muddled) with William Nylander.

There was a pretty strong feeling heading into this year that Brown was going to win the uphill battle of making the roster, knowing how Mike Babcock lauded over his stint with the Maple Leafs last season. Here is his TLN prospect profile written in the summer (by yours truly) for some context. Now that he's here, he's making waves.

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It's time to end the Lucic/McDavid experiment

Jonathan Willis
December 18 2016 06:30PM

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We’re at the point now where I’m starting to wonder what Milan Lucic has to do before he gets bumped off Connor McDavid’s line. McDavid now has just a single even-strength assist over his last eight games, and has seen a revolving door at right wing. Yet on the port side, Lucic remains untouchable, even as he goes deeper into yet another even-strength scoring slump.

Why not try something different?

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Long live the 3M line; here's what makes it so great

Mike FAIL
December 18 2016 08:00AM

Everyone should love the 3M line. If you don't, which would be a confusing thought, then I can only assume something happened in your life that prevents you from ever loving anything again. Teams hate playing against them being they are a combination of physicality (thank you Matthew Tkachuk) and two-way prowess anchored by Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik.

They're a line that the Calgary Flames have desperately needed for several seasons because they do exactly what you need them to do in this current era of the NHL: they drive play and they find ways to suppress the opposition. 

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Was the Flames' winning streak for real?

Ari Yanover
December 17 2016 02:00PM

The Flames have lost two games in a row.

It's not the end of the world. It's not even the end of their playoff chase. They're on the outside looking in once again, but they're still in the conversation.

Except it took them a six-game winning streak to get back into that conversation to begin with, to pull themselves up to a respectable record. The leeway they've earned with that has almost run out; that's how far back they set themselves with their dismal start to the season.

So let's take a moment to look at the Flames' winning streak. Was it for real? Or was it just a one-off?

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Danny DeKeyser's Slow Start and What It Means For the Red Wings

Nick Seguin
December 16 2016 02:07PM

In their predictions for the 2016-17 season on NHL.com , only two of their twenty “experts” penned Detroit into a playoff spot. If you had asked the majority of the Red Wings fan base, they would have said that the boys in red would secure a Wild Card spot, but fall once again in the first round. The season so far has been much, much worse than anyone had anticipated.

This awful start to the season has been somewhat of a puzzle. Their possession is the worst it’s been in years. They’re not getting shots off and when they do, they are low quality shots. Their scorers are not scoring. Their powerplay has been abysmal. But what’s driving all this poor play? There are many players underperforming on the team and they’ve all received their fair share of critique. Some of it has been well-earned, but most of it is purely an emotional response.

So instead of rattling off an angry hot take supported by surface numbers that don’t say much, I’d like to take a deeper look into one of the team’s players who had some of the highest expectations placed on him: Danny DeKeyser.

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