Two weeks in a row? What is this, consistency? Okay, maybe I won’t get ahead of myself there, but we’re back for another edition of the Mailbag. Let’s see what’s on everyone’s minds today!
The Leafs organizational signing we’ve all been waiting for, clearly.
The Marlies made a couple of tough decisions on a pair of one-game wonders this week. They still have a bevvy of defencemen to work with, but there’s a degree of permanence now.
The Leafs’ superstar centre will be gone for a month or more. Something has to shift within the lineup, but what? I take a look at some potential solutions here.
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who on the marlies/growlers are you most excited to see develop this season?
— anne (@chelmarner) October 28, 2018
The Marlies get their fair share of love (and then some) on this blog, so I’ll give a shout out to the Growlers’ first line from this weekend of Giorgio Estephan, Brady Ferguson, and Semyon Babintsev. Ferguson was one of Toronto’s college signings last spring, Estephan was added during the summer, and Babintsev is currently just under contract with the Growlers.
All three are pretty dynamic forwards from a minor-league perspective and I think all of them have a reasonable shot of, at the very least, becoming good AHL players under the Leafs’ developmental program. Estephan, in particular, was a guy I wanted the Marlies to target after the Sabres relinquished his draft rights a year ago, so I hope that they can turn him into a player. With eight points in nine games for Newfoundland so far, I’d say things are looking pretty good.
Is it a question if I ask you to please ease my concerns and reassure me that the Leafs can move Zaitsev's contract after the season to help open up some cap space? It's hard for me to believe they would find his dubious contributions difficult to replace.
— ~Nicole~ (@ChaoticLife13) October 28, 2018
Right-handed defencemen will continue to carry a disproportionate amount of value in this league for a little while longer, and the old school guys still seem to believe that Time on Ice is a good measure of success. Whether it’s next year or a little bit further ahead, I don’t think that Zaitsev’s deal will be the negative value asset that his critics feel that it is.
when Matthews comes back would it be smart to leave MarKadMar together or back to the way it was
— Captain B34st (@Leafy_B34st) October 28, 2018
The “good news”, if you could call it that, is that they’ll have lots of time to figure out whether or not those three still have magic together. If they’re clicking, we can definitely revisit this question. If they aren’t, then it’s likely that things return back to normal.
For a team whose strength is down the middle, it doesn't look very pretty when one the top 3 goes down. Your thoughts?
— Corey Johnston (@crjhnstn) October 28, 2018
Three questions to ask yourself here:
- How many teams would have someone like John Tavares available to their top line if their top centre went down?
- How many teams would have someone like Nazem Kadri available to their second line if their first or second line centre went down?
- If we feel that Par Lindholm is not a sufficient third line centre (and, given that he’s been decent as a 3LW and has been a 1C at the SHL, it’s possible that he could fill in just fine), where does he rank in thi slist of current NHL 4Cs?
|Isac Lundestrom||Riley Nash||Nick Bonino||Robert Thomas|
|Nick Cousins||Jason Dickinson||Kevin Rooney||Cedric Paquette|
|Sean Kuraly||Michael Rasmussen||Casey Cizikas||Par Lindholm|
|Johan Larsson||Kyle Brodziak||Filip Chytil||Markus Granlund|
|Derek Ryan||Juho Lammikko||Tommy Pyatt||PE Bellemare|
|Nicolas Roy||Nate Thompson||Corban Knight||Nic Dowd|
|Marcus Kruger||Eric Fehr||Derek Grant||Jack Roslovic|
|Vladislav Kamanev||Matthew Peca||Rourke Chartier|
The fact that Toronto still has an upper-end 1/2 punch and a survivable 3/4 after losing a superstar of Matthews’ calibre is all the proof you need that this is a true strength. No team can afford to lose an elite 1C while still looking “stacked” in that department.
What do you think about Burtch idea of giving what Nylander 7-7.5 and Marner 8-8.5 while giving Matthews 9 for a year. Then when Marleau is gone, extend Matthews for 8 years. This alleviates all problems from what I see if all parties are interested.
— Wowzers 🏒🇨🇦🤔 (@Wowzers93) October 29, 2018
I don’t see any reason why Matthews would accept a risk like this, especially now that he’s on his third injury in two seasons. He’ll absolutely be looking for a long-term deal this summer. Not to mention, the flip side of him coming back fully healthy next year and trophy chasing (Rocket Richard, Art Ross, Hart etc) would be much more of a threat than it would be with the other two.
I think the goal is still long-term on all three, but Matthews is definitely the least likely bridge.
With Nylander negotiations seemingly coming to a close (if the reports are to be believed), do you think Matthews' injury will throw in a last-second wrench?
— Davy Kent (@DavyKent) October 28, 2018
It might delay things for a couple of days while the Nylander Camp attempts to use it as leverage. All the same, both parties know that a few weeks aren’t going to create urgency for a multi-year plan, so I doubt it has much of a lasting effect.
Late question and maybe a bit too early to know, but do you think the Marlies will let both Liljegren and Sandin play for Sweden at the WJC?
— ♨️ John ♨️ (@johndoogoot) October 28, 2018
As far as I know, the Swedish Hockey Federation and the AHL have an agreement of sorts that forces the teams’ hands in a situation like this, but the Marlies have never seen much issue with their players going over. William Nylander had an unfortunate concussion in his WJC appearance while a Marlies member, but Liljegren went over and had a fantastic tournament last season and I’d assume both him and Sandin would do the same this year.
Does anyone care what you think?
— Habs (@WalkieAda) October 29, 2018
That’s a good question. You should ask anyone.
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