We’re back with a vengeance! The mailbag returns after a few off-weeks. Let’s run through what was on everyone’s mind this weekend. But first..
There are a lot of them since the last mailbag, but we’ll just go with the two most recent
Your weekend Marlies recap; the standard info is free, the fancy stats are subscriber-only.
An elite RFA is on the market. I think he’d make the Leafs better. What do you think?
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Goaltending depth options around the league you think could wind up with the Marlies?
— 👻 Wail-liam Murray 👻 (@Will__Murray) October 22, 2018
Honestly? I wouldn’t rule out getting back the guys that the Leafs lost just yet. There aren’t a ton of injury issues across the league yet, and both Calvin Pickard and Curtis McElhinney are fill-ins for injured goaltenders (Michal Neuvirth and Scott Darling respectively). Contrary to everyone’s fears, neither ex-Leaf has done particularly well with their new teams; they have winning records, but Pickard is sitting on a 0.833 SV% while McElhinney has Garret Sparks 0.892 SV% matched.
Neither of those are sufficient enough results to make you think that Philadephia or Carolina would move heaven and earth to keep the two. Both will likely end up back on waivers, and if Toronto is the only team to claim either, they can immediately assign them to the Marlies.
Any thoughts as to why Babcock continues to limit AM34’s minutes despite the palpable tension on that matter heading into the season? (See Babs’ trip to Arizona)
— Leo Mastoras (@leo_mastoras) October 22, 2018
I wouldn’t look into a regular pattern just yet. While the St. Louis game on Saturday was somewhat concerning in how the Leafs deployed their forwards, Toronto also won six of the previous eight games and had leads for considerable chunks of those matchups. Generally, you’ll play your top offensive players less in situations where you don’t need goals. In fact, I wrote on this very subject and how it pertains to the Leafs back in March.
Any thoughts on why you’re not a true Leaf fan?
— Paul (@paulymcarthur) October 22, 2018
Just before answering this question, I put the first hat I could get my hands on onto my head. it was a Hartford Whalers snapback. As we know, you can only own merch from one team at a time, which makes this objective proof of my traitorism.
(Enjoy hockey in any way you wish, kids, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise)
Do you think the scouting of the Leafs might mean that one of the wingers is becoming available due to the return of Nylander?
— Ian James (@IanJame30512076) October 22, 2018
That’s a possible route. The TSN insider triple threat (McKenzie, Lebrun, Dreger) all teamed up this morning to mention that Lewis Gross was also in attendance at Madison Square Garden last night, and Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston also reported that a second meeting was taking place today. So right now, the favourite guess is that Dubas was simply catching some hockey while trying to figure out what’s next in the William Nylander saga.
All the same, Toronto will likely have an extra few forwards to deal with once that’s over with, as Frederik Gauthier, Josh Leivo, and Tyler Ennis fight for minutes. It’s possible they’d like to move one of them elsewhere, and it’s also possible that Toronto is just looking ahead for the deadline. The Leafs also face Calgary in a week, so that might be another reason Dubas was keen to catch the game.
You are now GM of the Kings (sorry), what moves do you make week one?
— Billy Puck Follower (@puckfollower) October 22, 2018
I use my employee discount to get a sweet Kovalchuk jersey from the team store, and then spend half the season asking everyone what I’m supposed to be doing. Going from Zero to GM would be insanely difficult and any serious decision that I’d make in the first week would likely go terribly.
I know that’s not the “sell half the team and shred the other half” answer that you’re looking for (likely fairly), but it’s the honest one.
Thoughts in the lightning having 34 shots on goal in one period?
— FEDOR GORDEEV (@capnSeri0us) October 22, 2018
It was a great tribute to Auston Matthews, until the league took one shot back.
In seriousness, though, that’s an insane accomplishment, especially when you look at the heat map and realize that many of those shots were still coming from dangerous areas. The Lightning are a strong team and Chicago are starting to show some holes in their once-dynasty, so an outburst isn’t totally out of expectation, but the strength of it is.
Should the Leafs be looking to move on from Marleau?
— Askthecoach (@Askthecoach2) October 22, 2018
I’d imagine they’ll at least kick tires on the idea at the end of the summer. That will be made especially easy if he either wins a Stanley Cup here this year or decides he plans to retire; his salary structure requires just $1.25 million in actual payment after July 2nd on a cap hit of over $6 million, making him perfect floor-fodder for a budget team like Arizona or, especially if they lose their big guns, Ottawa.
If he still wants to play and the Leafs haven’t accomplished what he wants yet, though, things might be more difficult. He has a full no-movement clause and I can’t imagine he’d waive it to go anywhere but back to San Jose if he doesn’t have a ring yet, and they likely won’t be a team with the cap space to take him on for that farewell tour.
Sandin is still recovering from a pre-season injury. He is with the Marlies at the moment, and given the time that it’s taken to get him back to full health, will probably remain with them full-time. Sending him back to the SHL at this point seems like a recipe for a bad season, and I’m not sure what he’d gain out of another year of OHL hockey that he couldn’t learn by getting eased into the Marlies lineup. It’ll be a while until he gets every-game minutes, but I imagine he’ll be sticking around.
Honestly, at what point do we actually start to get concerned about Willy's contract situation?
— Jazib Khan (@JazzJackrabbit_) October 22, 2018
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