MAILBAG: Week of February 18th

Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
February 18 2014 09:15PM

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You know what the worst part about long weekends is? Trying to remember what the day is and completely messing up your personal schedule. Wait, does that just happen to me? Do I just suck that badly? Anyway, at around 4PM yesterday I realized that I had to put out a mailbag article, but had no questions to do it for, and pushed it to today. Thankfully, everybody came through really nicely. Let's begin!

If you'd like to submit a question, email me at jeffler@gmail.com, or tweet your question with the hashtag #TLNMailbag. Tagging @Jeffler would be a fun courtesy, but unneccessary, especially if you're closing in on character limits. You can also leave your question in the comments of this post. 

Q: Do you think Connor Brown will become a top line centre one day? -@Billy_chilly

Almost assuredly not. Brown has a couple of things that are working to his advantage this year. 

For one, he's twenty years old, making him more physically mature than mature than his peers and working with more experience. 

Secondarily, he's on a strong team capable of helping him out. Dane Fox, even after going cold, is still scoring on a goal-a-game pace. Connor McDavid is an alien sent to this planet to perfect the sport of hockey. Andrey Burakovsky came from the Swedish minor leagues and has transitioned more than nicely. Brendan Gaunce is another older, high touted player helping round out the roster. I could keep going, but even with him being the best player in the OHL right now, he's also playing on the second best team.

With these factors considered, you have to take his high production with a grain of salt in terms of NHL transition. After all, Simon Gamache once had 184 points in a QMJHL season and went on to score 13 points in his NHL career (4 of them with the Leafs!).

There's a chance that Brown is a breakout player, but if he's going to keep playing as a point producer, he's probably got a better shot of being Alexandre Giroux than Claude Giroux.

Not to mention he plays Right Wing. That kind of throws a wrench in the whole plan.

Q: Do you think Kessel will continue to heat up during and after the Olympics or will he cool down at some point? - @lionleaf_

So far, we've definitely seen Kessel heat up during the Olympics. 11 points in three games? Those look like his sisters college stats! But, as for predicting the future? It's impossible too, but a betting man looks for at least a short cool down soon. He's been playing out of his mind and is also producing at his best NHL clip to date this year. 

But who knows with The Phil; he could go on to score 50 in his final 22 games, score 16 hat tricks in the playoffs, and lead the Stanley Cup Parade on his own. Praise be.

Q: Do you see the Marlies going deep into the playoffs this year? Also, who do the Marlies need more production from? -@Yannick_b1997

It's really hard to say. After all, I along with many others thought the Marlies weren't even going to be close to the playoff picture, but with 26 games left in the season, they have a six point lead in the division once again. Whether it's Spott's system, a team effort, or merely the likes of Brennan, Abbott, and MacIntyre putting the team on their backs is up in the air. Maybe its a combination of all three. But they're there. Really, I think it depends on Drew MacIntyre's play once they get in. Simple as that.

As for who do they need more production from? Generating offence is something this team has struggled with this year, so it's basically everybody. T.J. Brennan and Spencer Abbott have been amazing. Brandon Kozun is doing well since showing up. Greg McKegg has been pretty good the past couple of months. Beyond that, everybody needs to contribute more for the sake of the team and their own chances of making the jump.

Q: Why do the Marlies play so much -@BonksMullet

They don't. You're just on Twitter more during the weekend, which is where most of their games are. Now go give Radek his hair back.

Q: Top 3 Leafs that need to step up for the stretch run? Clarkson doesn't count. -@Bounce7

Clarkson notwithstanding, I'm quite disappointed in Cody Franson's production this year, which is about half of his career rate (per 60 minutes). Joffrey Lupul is lacking the firepower he had last year, but that may be more of a falling back to earth than it is a falling off. We'll go with David Bolland as the third, in the sense that he needs to literally step up and onto skates. 

Q: How often have you worn that Luongo Leafs jersey? -@coasterfreek

I wear it from time to time. It gets laughs and looks, and has a good story behind it that I can tell to those that are confused. The man himself thinks its great. Zero regrets whatsoever.

Q: What the hell jeffler. I told you to quote me on telling you to shut up.  This is why i hate you. -Gankmobile, /r/Leafs

Every dog has his day. This time, it's yours. I'll shut up now.

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I bring news about the Toronto Marlies, opinions about the Toronto Maple Leafs, and a bunch of ridiculous thoughts about everything else.
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