Jeremy Bracco adds a Mem Cup championship to his trophy case, TSN’s offseason gameplan for the Leafs, SCF Game 1, and more in the links.

Leafs Links

Barnaby, Marek gush over Maple Leafs prospect Jeremy Bracco (Fan 590)

Kitchener Rangers assistant coach Matthew Barnaby:

We had to make that decision to trade Jeremy and give him that opportunity to help a team win. There were a lot of teams that were looking for his services, trust me. He’s the best passer in the CHL in junior hockey, bar none, and no one is even close. When he opens up into his 10-2, his skill level is off the charts.

He’s a rink rat. He loves to be at the rink hours a day talking hockey, thinking hockey. He can be an NHLer. Like all junior guys, he has to work on some facets of his game. Certainly, under Mike Babcock he’ll learn the defensive side of the game, the compete level on the defensive side. But pure skill, and the way he passes the puck, he has the skill to be a National Hockey League player.

We saw last night that the way he moves pucks around — even early on when he didn’t have points and it was scoreless — he could’ve had three or four points earlier in that game. Setting up the winning goal is really typical Jeremy Bracco; provide your own time and space by opening up. Guys are really scared to go at him because he can make you look silly by going around you. If you give him enough time and space, he’s going to find the open man like he did.

He’s got the skill to be an NHLer. Time will tell. But they’ve got a great prospect in Jeremy.

Jeff Marek:

Such a highly-skilled player. You look at that goal that ended up being the game winner. He starts off that mohawk style skating around the blue line, and no one does it better in the CHL than Jeremy Bracco. He may be the most creatively gifted playmaker in the entire CHL, with all due respect to Mathew Barzal. When you look at that 10-2 skating style — the Jeff Skinner, Ulf Dahlen style of skating — there is no one better than Jeremy Bracco right now. It confuses the defencemen because you don’t know which way he’s going to go. You don’t know what he’s going to do; you don’t know if he’s going to accelerate or decelerate, or if he’s going to shoot or pass.

I always stop short of saying he needs to get stronger because you look at what happens with Mitch Marner this year, bu then I say to myself, “How many Mitch Marners can you have on the team?” He’s got great vision. He’s got great skill. You’d still like to say to yourself, “let him season with the Marlies before you bring him up to the big club.” But this guy has sort of jumped over every hurdle that’s been placed in front of him — U18 champion, U20 champion, and now MasterCard Memorial Cup champion. And, for my money — with all due respect to Dylan Strome, who was excellent in the tournament and was the MVP — he may have been the best forward in the entire tournament.

Memorial Cup: Strome wins MVP, Leafs prospect impresses (Toronto Sun)
An all-Ontario Hockey League championship game had been the wish of many (at least, those not involved with the Saint John Sea Dogs and Seattle Thunderbirds), given the anticipation of what the OHL champion Erie Otters and Windsor Spitfires could deliver. Consider it done.

Energetic Jeremy Bracco leads Windsor to Mem Cup Victory (The Hockey News)
Bracco, the Leafs prospect, had already earned a championship with Team USA this season, helping the Americans to gold at the world juniors and playing a crucial role with a shootout goal against the Russians in the semifinal. That clutch play caught the eyes of the Spitfires, who then acquired him from the Kitchener Rangers as soon as the tournament ended. The culmination of that deal came Sunday night, when Bracco’s speed and doggedness mixed with his skill in a Mitch Marner-esque way to handcuff the Otters on multiple occasions.

He was sick. This is why we traded for Bracco. He lives at my house, he never shuts up, but I’ll tell you what – he can talk all he wants now.
– GM Warren Rychel

Off-Season Game Plan: Toronto Maple Leafs (
If the Maple Leafs are going to take advantage of having star players on entry-level contracts, they could really use another high-quality defenceman. They would probably like to extract Josh Manson from Anaheim, though that could be complicated by injuries on the Ducks’ defence (and my expectation that the Ducks would prefer to trade Sami Vatanen), but there are likely going to be other opportunities around the expansion draft to deal for the likes of Jason Demers, Matt Dumba, Brian Dumoulin, Calvin de Haan or Travis Hamonic.

Martin could be option for Vegas but hopes to stick with Leafs (PHT)
“I haven’t thought too much about it,” Martin said over the weekend, per the Toronto Sun. “You go where life takes you. I think it’s going to be a good place to play hockey, whether I end up there or not. “I hope I stay in Toronto. I love it there.” “It’s huge,” Babcock told ESPN earlier this year, when asked about Martin’s impact. “I mean, we don’t get slapped around ever.

Pittsburgh and Nashville clash in Stanley Cup of contrasts (Reuters)
The hungry Predators have not needed to pepper the net with goals given the stinginess of Rinne and his lively front men including Ryan Ellis, Mattias Ekholm, Roman Jose and P.K. Subban, who have helped ward off enemy attackers. Despite the disparity in their records, with Pittsburgh amassing 111 regular season points to Nashville’s 94, they have both earned the same number of points (56) since Jan. 1, and in the playoffs, the Predators are 12-4, and the Penguins 12-7.

A special ’72 Team Canada edition of theZoomer

Join Zoomer Media for a special edition of “The Zoomer” with players from Team Canada who won the ’72 The Summit Series against the Soviets! Come be a part of the studio audience as host, Marissa Semkiw, chats with the players.

Players will reminisce about the historic hockey match and how they’ve eased into their senior years, 45 years later.

Come and be a part of this historic sporting event that gave many Canadians a sense of pride!

Arguably the No. 1 where-were-you-when moment in Canadian sports history.

Reserve your space in the audience here (click the image to sign up):