Mailbag: Week of March 10th

Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
March 10 2014 06:27PM

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"Shouldn't the Leafs game be on right now?" Not exactly. The west coast is lame, and time zones are lamer, so the Leafs still have a couple of hours before they drop the puck. We'll talk about that game soon, but for now, how about answering a couple of questions? Without further ado..

If you'd like to submit a question, email me at jeffler@gmail.com, or tweet @Jeffler. You can also leave your question in the comments of this post. 

Q: Hi Jeff! Love the blog. Will Brennan ever get a shot at the big club? Thanks. My Goodness. -@steveprickston

A: Hi Steve! This is actually the first time that somebody's question was prefaced with a positive comment, rather than a "Shut Up Jeffler!", so thank you! I really appreciate the support and hope we can keep providing you with fantastic content to read in the future.

Now, as for Brennan. I wrote a post on him a couple of weeks ago, breaking down just how dominant he's been for the Marlies. That hasn't changed at all; this weekend he took about a quarter of the team's shots, made them scary on the powerplay whether he was involved statistically or not, and was even looking to defend his teammates in both Lake Erie games (though he didn't end up dropping the gloves).

I think that Brennan is NHL ready, but that there is enough depth on this team to keep him from being an absolute necessity this year. Calling him up to see what happens sounds fun, until you remember he has to go on waivers if he doesn't stick. Now that the deadline has passed and there's no other real ways of adding depth, a team with cap space and a lack of defencemen would be quick to snap him up.

If he pans out, he makes the Leafs slightly better. If he Leafs the Marlies, it's enough of a blow to their offence to having tangible standings implications. There's no doubt this team wants their prospects to see playoff time, and without him, there's simply less of it. This season, he's worth more to the organization as a Marlie than he is a Leaf. Next year? Especially if the team moves quantity for quality, he'll fight for, if not earn a spot on the back end.

Q: Who is that handsome boy who often sits near the front, down below the press box? -@thejustinfisher

A: That's the other team's backup goalie, who will often sit at the Zamboni entrance if he doesn't feel there to be enough room for him on the apparently small Ricoh benches. Some games he's there, some games he isn't. @sboulton has brought up that this violates an AHL rule (which is directly lifted from the NHL rulebook, number and all).

5.3 ...Each team shall have on its bench, or on a chair immediately beside the bench, a substitute goalkeeper who shall, at all times, be fully dressed and equipped ready to play.

I feel like if a coach were to challenge this, while technically correct, he'd just get an eye roll in return. If anything, having the backup there is home ice advantage; if there's any on-the-fly systems changes and then the two goalies get swapped, he's going to have seconds to take the thought in once told on the ice, if a player remembers. Plus, hey, the kids in the crowd can run up to him and drive him mad with questions and autograph requests. 

I hope this answers your question, Justin*

Q: Why isn't the Corporal coming back if he really wants to so bad? -@brandotango

A: Ah, somebody who read our Komarov Rule piece! Yes, it's pretty well known that Leo Komarov likes the idea of returning to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and that his agent even plans on giving the team first dibs. But, the assumption is there that this won't be happening, because it hasn't happened yet. Fingers are pointed to Evgeny Kuznetsov this year, and Alexander Radulov a couple years back. 

Here's the thing... Komarov's season isn't over. The KHL playoffs just started, and Dynamo Moscow is first overall. Even if the next point wasn't the case, he'd still have a contract to honour. But for now, he's focused on beating goalies and annoying opposing skaters.

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Restricted free agents can't sign deals after December 1st. It's not just an EA Sports thing! Kuznetsov was an unsigned rookie putting the scribbles on his Entry Level Deal, much like junior players do when they want to finish their year playing for their drafted team's AHL affiliate. Radulov still had a year left on his Nashville deal, which he chose to get out of the way in the event he decides to come back to the NHL at some point.

Also worth noting that he's on a 2-year deal with Dynamo Moscow, but judging by how he and his agent have spoken, I have to assume he has an out clause. If not, that's a factor too.. but come on. They can't be that yappy with a year left, can they?

Q: Where is Cham Chimmons (Cam Charron)? -@mlse

A: He's off finding himself. Last I heard, he was watching lots of curling. He's deleted his Twitter because he finds it stupid. I dunno. Cam does sometimes. We're probably going to get three more days of disappearence before he shows up with fourteen different stat-driven analysis articles, all written twenty minutes prior.

My basic point is that he hasn't died.

Q: Howdoyoh think Connor brown is going to do assuming he's with the marries for the end of his season with the otters? -AskFM Anon

A: First off, your grammar looks very drunk. But that's fine. You watch the Leafs, so drinking can be excused. As for Brown, don't get your hopes up too much; if Erie gets eliminated and he comes down, he'll go from being a veteran in his league, dominating teenagers to being a kid, playing with guys many years older than him. He'll have no chemistry with his teammates, either. 

Plus, who knows if Spott even plays him; Dallas Eakins gave opportunities to his junior guys in prior years, but never anything major. With that said, every coach is different and has their own approach to how to handle incoming roster injections. But with THAT said, Spott's last experience with Brown was facing a kid producing at half the rate that he is this year.

Don't hold your breath for anything amazing. Which is fine; I don't think anybody is expecting the world out of him. His results will pleasant surprises.

*Justin, one of our writers here at TheLeafsNation.com, has season tickets in Section 102, the same section that the press box resides atop the stairs of. He likes to think of himself as handsome.

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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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#1 Corporal Komarov
March 10 2014, 06:41PM
Trash it!
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da. is out clause. ;)

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#3 Jeremy Ian
March 11 2014, 06:48AM
Trash it!
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Hey Jeffler -- thanks for clarifying on Cam's whereabouts. You guys all make a great team.

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