I read a really good blog the other day about Edmonton Oilers first round draft pick Kailer Yamamoto. In the blog, Toronto Maple Leafs Head Coach Mike Babcock said, “Yamamoto is a really great skater, if not elite. He will definitely be an impact Top 6 forward in the years to come.”
American-born Yamamoto, who recently signed a contract with the Oilers, indicated he would love playing in Toronto. “Toronto is such a great Canadian city. It’s hardly like being in Canada at all! I wish I lived there.”
In other Oilers news, the Maple Leafs recently signed Connor Brown to a three-year contract worth $2.1 million per season. The signing means Edmonton will need to lend the Leafs around $5 million in cap space in order to play this season.
“People who aren’t involved in the NHL, especially those who don’t run the league, don’t realize how important Toronto is,” said Oilers General Manager and President of Hockey Operations Peter Chiarelli.
Earlier in the summer, Chiarelli recognized the superiority of the Maple Leafs by offering to cancel all Oilers games occurring on Toronto game nights.
“I offered this not only for the Maple Leafs, but for the Raptors as well,” said Chiarelli, who was wearing Toronto’s NBA jersey during his most recent press conference. “The only attractive Adidas jersey is the blue and white one,” he said, while cleaning his ears using an Adidas Oilers jersey.
NHL owners this summer narrowly voted down a proposal to cancel all NHL games during Leafs games nights, but they agreed both Canadian sports broadcasters, TSN and Sportsnet, only need report on Leafs games. Leafs General Manager Lou Lamoriello was unhappy with the decision, as it represents no change from what Canadian broadcasters currently do.
Also making the rounds this week was a video showing Connor McDavid making super-human moves in practice while preparing for the upcoming NHL season.
“I saw Auston Matthews make this move once in an actual NHL game,” said a blushing McDavid, who went on to explain it will be no contest for the Art Ross, Rocket Richard and Hart trophies this season. “I expect to finish third in scoring behind Matthews and Mitch Marner,” said McDavid. “They are the best players I’ve ever seen.”
Lamoriello said the Leafs have room for McDavid on their roster. “I suspect the Oilers will walk away from that $12.5 million contract, or McDavid will outright ask to be traded to us,” said Lamoriello. “We might need to win a cup or two first, so McDavid should be here by 2020.”
In other Oilers news, Dart Guy said in a poignant Canada AM interview that the Leon Draisaitl contract signing will change the Leafs contract situation significantly.
“You’d think a player as good as Michael Nylander would go for $14 or $15 million per season. The Draisaitl situation drives up Nylander’s contract request significantly, as it will Marner, Matthews, Boazk, JVR, and Martin Marincin.”
Dart Guy added that Leafs management will find a way to increase league revenues so the cap goes up significantly over the next two seasons.
“Everyone knows the NHL is a dead league without Toronto,” said Dart Guy, “so fans of professional hockey across the globe will need to give at least a few hundred each. That’s if they still want hockey in a few years.”
Oilers Color Commentator Drew Remenda summed up the Oilers upcoming season best:
“The blue of the Maple Leafs jersey is different than the blue on the Oilers uniform and the teal on the San Jose Sharks jersey. I definitely think there will be a Leafs versus Sharks Stanley Cup Final now that Patrick Marleau has signed with the Maple Leafs."