Mailbag: Week of March 3rd

Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
March 03 2014 08:58AM

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The trade deadline is approaching, which means I'm ignoring every question involving direct rumours and speculation because I am incredibly stubborn. 

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

Thoughts on a trio of Marlies making up the Leafs 4th line next season instead of goons, and saving cap space. If so, who? - @TReady90

I don't think that a trio is necessarily a good way of going about things, seeing what the options are at centre. Peter Holland shouldn't be on a fourth line, nor should Greg McKegg. Jerred Smithson was, well, bad for the Leafs. Sam Carrick needs more time, and while you can take some of the guys being half-converted into centres as options, I'm not too stoked about calling up Kenny Ryan or Tyler Biggs just yet.

Jerry D'Amigo should absolutely be on the Toronto Maple Leafs fourth line right this second. The winger on his other side is a bit trickier; some will say Carter Ashton, but I feel he needs to be given a chance in a productive role next time around. David Broll may be somebody to look at in this regard; he's intimidating, physical, but also defensively sound and good at getting the puck towards the opposing net. He may still need a bit more time to develop, but if they want somebody who can fight and contribute at a low cost, he's the option. If your intent is to stay patient, Jamie Devane does a lot of the same things with less offensive contribution.

Has Carter Ashton looked like player who needs to be in the NHL? - @Tommysobe

This is tough. He definitely looks too good for the AHL right now. His time in the NHL appears to have made him much better at anticipating where to be offensively (weird when you consider his Leafs linemates), and he's a solid second or so ahead of the rush nowadays, tapping his stick like he was assigned to the EASHL. Playing with a smart playmaker like Spencer Abbott certainly helps his case.

When he plays in the NHL, the Leafs tend to use him as a 4th line plugger who tries to fight to keep his job. This is probably not the best way to develop somebody with offensive upside, but is really the only option when you consider how many wingers the Leafs have and how little time they've spent hurt this year.

I think he's an NHL caliber player who can possibly contribute offensively, but as long as he stays on the Leafs, over ripening is likely the best option.

Which player on the Marlies - that hasn't been called up yet - is most deserving of a call up to the Leafs? -@MLHS_Mike

I've pumped TJ Brennan's tires pretty severely lately, but I also think that Drew MacIntyre is probably capable of playing in the NHL right this second. His save percentage hasn't been a reflection of how stellar he's been for this team, which is impressive when you consider he's a 0.918 this year as it is. The obvious issue is that the Leafs have two very good goaltenders that are ahead of him on the depth chart, but if one (or heaven forbid, both) went down due to an injury, I would feel safe with him getting a shot to play.

What are Phil Kessel's chances of winning the MVP? - @ruso91_

Probably pretty low; Crosby and Ovechkin are much more marketable and lead the league in points and goals respectively right now, and some will probably give Kessel's linemates a little too much credit. Besides, despite being far and away their best skater, he may not be the Leafs MVP; Jonathan Bernier is also in the discussion. 

That said, I'm pretty confident he'll get some votes, and possibly find himself in a finalists position, which would be a pretty awesome reward in its own for such a spectacular season.

Do you think there's a chance that the Leafs management will buy out David Clarkson in the summer? -AskFM Anon

buyoutcalc

..I don't see it.

Wh y wasn't  S parks sent down to O rlando? -AskFM Anon

While the swap is happening very, very, shortly (as early as this week), Christopher Gibson's last call up was for him to see the team doctors in Toronto. I assume the updated plan is for him to test himself in a a game situation down there before doing so with the Marlies. After all, a skater who isn't ready can often disappear without causing harm (see: Sam Carrick on Saturday, who actually started off well enough to make me think he was 100% and left minutes later); a goalie who isn't ready can cost you a game before it really begins.

Why do you like #bad teams, Jeff? - @AndrewBerkshire

Big question from somebody who's team employs Douglas Murray, gave a 400 year old Daniel Briere a multi-year contract, burned your amnesty buyouts on Tomas Kaberle and a guy you traded your top prospect for, is going to have to give their best skater a billion dollars because they were too stubborn to sign him long term for much less a couple years ago, also has their longest cup drought in team history, and 115 game later, is still waiting for their #2 defenceman to do his inevitable shatter into a million pieces. 

Nah, your team is alright, on the basis that they play a cool sport. But shut up, Jerkshire

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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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