If any of you have any issues with my answers, be prepared to speak to my enforcer.

Recent Posts

Breaking down the Josh Leivo for Michael Carcone trade

The Maple Leafs traded the better player to close off a logjam and concede a battle in order to win the war. They also got a decent young player back. That doesn’t make it a good deal, but it does add some justification and context.

The Toronto Marlies have their own logjam to sort out

Did you think a 23-man roster was hard to figure out? The Marlies are pushing 30. Here’s what might be next for the team.

What the optimal, post-Nylander Leafs lineup would look like

Toronto’s forwards are pretty close to what I outlined here. The defence is completely different. Come for the lines, stay for the explanations.

Reunion

People seemed to forget just how good William Nylander was over the course of his holdout, so here’s a reminder of the type of player the team has on their hands.

Do you want access to the bonus content in this articles, along with the ability to use the comments section, visit the site without advertisements? Do you want to gain entry into the AHL Youth Usage Portal and the Toronto Marlies Analytics Portal? Do you want to ensure that The Faceoff Circle remains a viable, growing project? Consider supporting the site with a low-cost subscription, available at monthly and yearly rates.

The Mailbag

The Kraken idea is a lot of fun (I really liked my pal KP8’s mockup), but I want to see the Metropolitans brand come back. It’s a cool nod to history, and the Christmas colours are great. I know there is the slight issue of the 26-year-old who owns the trademark, but he seems genuinely interested enough in the history that he’d be willing to work out a deal, and when you’re already dropping $650 million on the team, what’s a few more dollars to do it right?

I think so. Obviously, if there’s a deal that fits value wise, Toronto doesn’t have to completely avoid acquiring a defenceman (if there is even the slightest truth to Zaitsev for Pietrangelo being a core deal that’s on the table, that should be chased, for example). But the team has put a lot of effort into developing mobile, transition-happy, intelligent defencemen over the past few years, and I think they have something in Liljegren and Sandin at the very minimum. Liljegren, in my eyes, should be ready for next season – Sandin might be as well, but isn’t a certainty. I also don’t think that Toronto has necessarily put out the optimal group of six out of the eight that they already have up.

  1. I think he likely is of the group that’s currently there, given Marleau’s decline, and the fact that, as much as I love what Zach Hyman brings, putting the puck in the net is the more important skill over the long run. I think Johnsson is a legitimately great player and it’s good to see him prove that to the world now.
  2. I think they are to an extent, mostly on the point. That was Toronto’s biggest issue in the playoffs last year, and the top teams see it too; it’s not hard to guess that the left-side defenceman will look for a stretch pass first and skate it if that lane isn’t there, and that the right-side defenceman will always look to clear. Whether it requires a change in tactics or in how the personnel is laid out, or perhaps a bit of both, is up for interpretation.
  3. I’d love to keep Liljegren. The best case scenario is that you get a more expensive, short term version of what he projects to be; that’s fine at the absolute end of a window, but cost control is huge to Toronto for the next few years and making him an efficient piece will be key to sustaining success, if he’s as good as we think he can be.

Speaking of Timothy (once again, he’s getting lots of love this week), Sheldon Keefe described Liljegren’s injury as a high ankle sprain with a week-to-week recovery. That’ll cut him really close to the start of the tournament, but given that he will likely be Sweden’s best or second best defenceman in the tournament, they’d probably be willing to ace him until he’s ready in order to get him back in time for the end of the round robin or the knockout stages.

Gardiner is a player that I expect to age pretty well; solid skaters who aren’t overly physical tend to deteriorate less (Patrick Marleau is a great example within this team, only now seeing father time hit him in his very late 30s). The exact term and dollars would shape the direction I’d answer this question; if “longer term for lower AAV” means 8 years at 6 million, I’m happy to walk away, if it means 6 years at 5, that’s a much more enticing concept.

A complete and utter myth. Happy we won’t have to argue about him again. My heart still kind of misses him all the same, even though my brain is absolutely, completely convinced that walking away was a long-overdue correct decision.

Always.

 

 

---
Thanks for reading! Hopefully you enjoyed this post. If you did, don't hesitate to share it on Twitter or Facebook; having more readers will help the site grow. As well, consider a subscription if you're interested in reading additional work that isn't available to guests.