Chicago Blackhawks’ Eye On The Enemy: Editor In Leaf (Toronto)

By Juliana Nikac
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Feb 19, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Tyler Bozak (42) comes out of the locker room against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Toronto Maple Leafs defeat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-0. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 19, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Tyler Bozak (42) comes out of the locker room against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Toronto Maple Leafs defeat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-0. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports /

Q&A with Editor in Leaf’s Tim Chiasson

To start, Brian Boyle was the big acquisition the Leafs made at the deadline. How do you think he’s fit in with the team so far?

TC: He has made the fourth line significantly better from a possession standpoint, which is exactly what the Leafs needed. Matt Martin and Nikita Soshnikov are players who need to be carried, and Ben Smith and Frederik Gauthier just weren’t doing the job. Boyle has helped big time in making that line functional.

Which player has been the most important this season, and why?

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TC: I’m picking William Nylander. He’s sitting back in the shadows of Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, but he’s been fantastic. He drives possession better than the other two and is only a few points back.

He also had to deal with being demoted to different lines because Mike Babcock can get in a mood, which does not happen with Matthews or Marner. Nylander gives the Leafs a dynamic weapon that people tend to forget about because of who else is on the team, and that’s been huge for the offense this year.

Which player has been the most disappointing this season, and why?

TC: Nikita Soshnikov, hands down. There were pretty decent expectations for him coming into the year offensively and defensively and he’s been a disappointment in both areas. His traditional and non-traditional statistics are ugly to the point where he shouldn’t even be in the lineup anymore.

The Leafs have a bunch of exciting young prospects who could be great in the NHL. Out of all of them, which three do you think have the best chance to be stars for the team?

TC: Kasperi Kapanen, Kerby Rychel and Seth Griffith — as long as they are utilized properly. Rychel and Griffith have already proven to be competent at 5-on-5 in the time they’ve been in the NHL, and Kapanen has all the tools to be a successful point producer in a few years.

Griffith is also a guy that needs an offensive role to maximize potential. With Rychel, he’s more of a hybrid where he can bring solid play without being on the scoresheet all the time. All three could be important pieces moving forward.

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