For this preseason game, both the Ottawa Senators and the Toronto Maple Leafs left a lot of their veterans in the stands. That gave the youngsters or those players fighting for roster positions a chance to fight it out. The Maple Leafs’ roster fighters beat the Senators’ roster fighters by a 4-0 score.
Related: Maple Leafs’ Moving Mitch Marner on Power Play Is Successful – So Far
Sheldon Keefe Weighs in on the Outcome of the Game
In truth, from his comments after the Maple Leafs’ preseason game three, you can tell that Toronto head coach Sheldon Keefe liked the way his entire team played this game. He noted that they put in a really great effort in every aspect of the game – be it five-on-five, or on the penalty kill and the power play. He even noted the high-quality of the goalie play.
In short, “All the way around, it was a really great effort.”
Keefe praised one of the aspects of the team that surprised him. Specifically, he noted that there were a lot of players competing with each other for jobs during this game; however, the energy, the positivity, and the competitive spirit of the team was “really, really strong.” He credits that with the reason why he believed “they played as hard as they did.’
Finally, in summing up the game, he noted that the team made few mistakes; but, when they did make mistakes, they covered for each other through solid effort. As he noted, “I was really impressed with the effort and the commitment the guys showed tonight.’
More Specifically About Michael Bunting
Newcomer Michael Bunting finished the game with a hat trick. All three goals came from right in front of the net. Obviously, Keefe liked what he saw from Bunting. He said as much after the game.
Last season, Bunting scored goals at a very high 26 percentage. That means that more than one shot in four crossed the goal line. Everyone notes that he’ll never be able to keep up to that scoring pace. They’re probably right. However, it’s much easier to score in close like Bunting did during preseason game three than from the outside. He’s beating that mark so far this preseason. Of course he can’t keep it up – right?
Bunting Has Skill in Front of the Net
Bunting has shown the ability to find open ice in front of the net, and if he can continue to do that – along with what seems to be his ability and desire to win puck battles, he’ll probably score more goals. Perhaps lots of them. His last goal was in close; however, it was also a beautiful shot that he lifted to the top left corner of the net – that’s skill as well. So, it’s more than just positioning.
Here’s saying that Bunting plays the kind of game the Maple Leafs can utilize on one of their top two lines. From one of those roster spots, he’ll get his share of rebounds and deflections. He scored on a nice deflection for one of his game-three goals.
Bunting will not only make the team, but he’ll play in the top six somewhere. Anyone want to bet he doesn’t score 20 goals this season?
Bunting is also a quick-enough skater. That gives him the chance to be the first player on many loose pucks. I keep promising myself I won’t mention Zach Hyman again, but these two share similar characteristics on the ice. One can always hope that Bunting will become as strong a player as Hyman, but in his own way.
Keefe Gives His Final Word on Bunting
After the game last night, Keefe shared about Bunting, “I have known Bunts a real long time. He gets himself into the scoring areas. He has great hands and great sense around the net. When he gets opportunities, he has the ability to score. He is as hungry as anybody to score. For him to get off to this start here in the preseason is a tremendous sign for him and us.”
And, the last two words tell it all from the Michael Bunting on the Maple Leafs’ roster perspective – “for us.” Already, it’s possible to tell that Michael Bunting’s head coach Sheldon Keefe has plans for him.
Where those plans are, it’s tough to tell – specifically. However, it’s pretty clear they will be on one of the left-wing spots on the Maple Leafs’ first two lines. Welcome to the Maple Leafs.
Related: Two Maple Leafs’ Newcomers Who Are Keys to a Successful Season
Leave a Reply
NHL News/ 1 day ago
Oilers Quick Hits: McDavid, Hyman, Skinner, Nurse
Heading into an important game against the Vegas Golden Knights, many of the Oilers...
NHL News/ 2 days ago
POTUS Joe Biden Makes Fun of Toronto Maple Leafs
POTUS Joe Biden says he likes every NHL hockey team except the Toronto Maple...
Edmonton Oilers/ 3 days ago
How Huge are 60 Goals in 72 Games Played for Connor McDavid?
Connor McDavid has now scored 60 goals in the 2022-23 season. How big a...
NHL News/ 6 days ago
Revisiting Oilers’ Decision to Sign and Retain Evander Kane
The Edmonton Oilers love their decision to sign and retain Evander Kane. He's settled...
NHL News/ 1 week ago
Three Takeaways from Maple Leafs’ 5-2 Win Over Hurricanes
Last night, the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Carolina Hurricanes by a score of...
NHL News/ 1 week ago
Oilers News and Notes: Hyman, Kulak, McLeod, Foegele
News and notes surrounding the Edmonton Oilers as they get set for a Saturday...
Insider Talks Why Miller Trade Fell Apart, If Canucks Will Try Again
There was chatter just ahead of the trade deadline that the Canucks might try...
Capitals Sign Trevor van Riemsdyk to a 3-Year Contract Extension
The Washington Capitals have re-signed defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk to a three-year contract extension.
Chuck Fletcher Fired by Flyers, Daniel Briere Takes Over
Chuck Fletcher has been fired as the Philadelphia Flyers GM and President, with Daniel...
Oilers Looked at Chychrun and Gudas Before Pivoting to Ekholm
The Edmonton Oilers had a number of hooks in the water during trade deadline...
Pingback: 6 Reasons the Maple Leafs Are Happy with Petr Mrazek as Goalie 1B
Pingback: 6 Reasons the Maple Leafs Are Happy with Petr Mrazek as Goalie 1B – Hockey 1 on 1
Pingback: Maple Leafs’ Michael Bunting: The Most Hated Guy on the Ice
Pingback: 6 Reasons the Maple Leafs Are Happy with Petr Mrazek as Goalie 1B – Template 2