Liljegren, Kadri, Richardson & Mikheyev 

In this edition of Toronto Maple Leafs News & Rumors, I’ll be taking a look at news coming primarily from former Maple Leafs players. Or, in the case of Ilya Mikheyev, maybe a player who will soon be a former Maple Leafs player. Today’s post contains news about Timothy Liljegren, Nazem Kadri, Luke Richardson and Mikheyev.

how it started: how it’s going: Congratulations to Stanley Cup CHAMPION Nazem Kadri! 💙❤️ ​​https://t.co/vwJYL1xLaC

Although most of us as fans believe that Toronto is the center of the English-speaking hockey world; As the news suggests, it seems there is life for hockey players outside of their time in Ontario’s capital.

Point one: The Maple Leafs re-sign Timothy Liljegren

Good news from Toronto this morning. The Maple Leafs have signed Timothy Liljegren to a two-year contract extension. Liljegren has been climbing the ranks for seasons now, and the Maple Leafs have both protected his Ice Age and slowly developed him (too slowly for some).

Now, the team has signed a two-year bridge deal that will net the 23-year-old right-hand shot defenseman a $1.4 million salary cap each season. It’s a good move for the team and suggests they see the youngster as part of the team’s plans for the future.

Timothy Liljegren Toronto Maple Leafs
Timothy Liljegren, Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Last season he scored five goals and added 18 assists (for 23 points) in 61 games. Liljegren has also been a healthy scratch regularly throughout the season and post-season. There is room to grow. Good luck to him in the future.

Point two: Congratulations to Nazem Kadri for winning the cup

Among many Maple Leafs fans, Nazem Kadri remains a fan favorite. So I’m very pleased to congratulate him on his big part in the Colorado Avalanche’s win over the Tampa Bay Lightning last night.

It was the first Stanley Cup for the Avalanche since 2001 and the third in franchise history. The loss ended the Lightning’s 11-straight winning streak in Stanley Cup play.

See also: Toronto Maple Leafs: Nazem-Kadri trade reunion

The news today was that Kadri’s broken thumb had to be frozen for the games he played but that he was still in constant pain with every game. He is a warrior.

Item 3: Ex-Maple Leafs defenseman Luke Richardson appointed Blackhawks coach

The Chicago Blackhawks officially have named ex-Maple Leafs defense attorney Luke Richardson to become their team’s new head coach. Richardson was a defenseman for the Maple Leafs from 1987 to 1991. In September 1991 he was traded with Vincent Damphousse, Peter Ing, Scott Thornton, future thoughts and cash to the Edmonton Oilers for Glenn Anderson, Craig Berube and Grant Fuhr.

Montreal Canadien's Luke Richardson Claude Julien Dominique Ducharmes
Assistant coach Luke Richardson, formerly of the Montreal Canadiens, speaks to players during a break in play while head coach Claude Julien and assistant coach Dominique Ducharme stand by.
(Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images)

Richardson takes on a Blackhawks team in the midst of rebuilding. The Blackhawks have only made the playoffs once in the past five seasons and have not entered the postseason in the past two seasons. He has been an assistant coach with the young Montreal Canadiens for the past four seasons. The job with the Blackhawks is his first as NHL head coach.

Point Four: Point Two: Ilya Mikheyev, injured but not prone to injury

Ilya Mikheyev’s future with the Maple Leafs is currently unknown; and Smart Money seems to think he will switch to another team this offseason. However, if the Maple Leafs don’t re-sign him, it won’t be because they think he’s injury-prone.

See also: Maple Leafs Lounge: Mikheyev, Ho-Sang, Defensive Pairings

In his three NHL seasons, Mikheev has never been 100 percent healthy for an entire season. He’s had two serious injuries that have prevented him from showing what he can do for a full season. Given his critical surgery on his wrists, previous notions that he’s not a good marksman hold little value. Quite the contrary, Maple Leafs fans saw what he could do in a season where his hands were mostly healed. He can score.

One of his injuries was a freak accident in which his tendon and artery were severed by a skate blade that slashed his wrist. The other was a broken thumb. As a result of these injuries, he only scored 15 goals in his first 93 games played. That season, while he was more fully healed, he scored a goal that would have given him 30+ goals in an 82-game season.

Ilya Mikheyev Toronto Maple Leafs
Ilya Mikheyev, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Now at the age of 27, Mikheyev has the potential to up his game to become an even more prolific player. Having played so little in the NHL, it’s difficult to know what kind of player Mikheyev will be in the long run.

The Maple Leafs are unlikely to be willing to sign him for anywhere near the $5 million rumored to be his asking price. But would another team? That is a question that will soon be answered.

What’s next for the Maple Leafs?

The Maple Leafs are covered by a group of really good writers, in my opinion. However, each of us can make mistakes when writing. I know I have it, and the readers of my posts find it and tell it. This is embarrassing, but I invite you to continue with it. I want to get better at what I do.

Recently, a Maple Leafs writer wrote that the Maple Leafs are entering the fifth year of John Tavares’ contract and it is now time for the team to undertake an overhaul that pushed Tavares out the door and made Auston Matthews the leader of the team.

See also: John Tavare’s election of Toronto led to the sinking of the Sharks

No doubt it can be argued that Tavares might have been better rated for his contract three seasons ago, but pushing him out the door is wrong. Can anyone imagine how difficult it would be for the Maple Leafs to recruit free agents to longer-term contracts if they believed that the team (as a company) would attempt to terminate those contracts once the scales stopped tipping in that direction in the best interest of the team?

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