June 14 2014 09:39PM
It's been a heck of a weekend. I helped out Five Hole For Food's spinoff Waterloo tournament all of yesterday, inched my back home today, and got into Toronto just in time for the kickoff of the Italy game. As I had hoped, the Azzurri came out on top, and naturally, I headed to Dufferin and St. Clair to celebrate. But now, I'm home, and can spend some time relaxing. But first, we're still clearing out all of the old mailbag questions! So here's a few more, and hopefully the next few days will provide us with some news so we don't see as many of these posts.
Peter Holland has put up AHL numbers over a couple years that are very similar to Nazem Kadri's numbers - almost point per game. Do you think Holland is capable of having a break out next season with the Leafs next year (assuming he plays more minutes with better linemates)?
It all depends on what you're expecting out of him. I see him playing for the Leafs next year, but the top six is unlikely. He's probably going to be on the third line, but you know what? If the Leafs don't completely gut their winger depth, there's still wiggle room for him to produce. Now, it won't be like Kadri in the lockout shortened season (On-Ice Shooting Percentage showed him to be more than a little lucky), but he's already shown that he can make some offensive contribution to the team.
Hi Jeff. On more than one occasion, you have written that you were not expecting the Marlies to be contenders this season. Are there any reasons for that?
This is definitely the case. As for why? Well, the team was missing a huge part of its nucleus from the two years prior. They had no "blue chip" prospects going into the start. Nobody confidently thought that Spencer Abbott and TJ Brennan were ready to become elite-level AHL guys. Steve Spott was entering his first year of professional hockey, and the rest of the team consisted of a bunch of kids.
Clearly they had other intentions, though.
Can you see Carter Ashton becoming a productive top 9 forward in the NHL?
I think the ship is sailing on him being a top six guy, but a productive third liner isn't out of the cards. He's physical and likes getting the puck to the net, things that teams look for in that role. Now, whether it happens or not depends on whether the Leafs will give him some time with legitimate linemates. Jay McClement and Colton Orr aren't the guys that will get him there, but that's all the supporting cast he's really had to date at the NHL level.
Realistically speaking when do you think that the Leafs will win a cup again?
"This team is perpetually cursed" me says never. Realistically speaking, though? It seems like any team can build themselves up to that elite level in about 5 or 6 years these days. I think Toronto has made some ground and could get there a little sooner, but it all depends on what decisions the team makes moving forward. Even a wholesale cleanout wouldn't make the wait eternal if the right cards were played.
straight up yes or no: should the Leafs trade Dion?
No. This is a lot more complicated than "no", but if I'm forced, no.