February 01 2016 04:04PM
CAT'S BACK! *excited emojis*
After a brief Leafs Nation hiatus (that had more to do with a nasty case of the flu than you guys, I promise), I'm back for a night with our Leafs mailbag - and it's gonna be fun.
@ahurst11: What does the Marlies top 6F look like next year? How many points does Timashov get? How many trophies?
If there's anything I love, it's speculation - usually because you guys get to tell me that I'm really really REALLY wrong, but also because the future is a fun thing to ponder.
I doubt the Leafs keep William Nylander down an extra year. Going by the Arizona Coyotes and their treatment of Max Domi, the long road is likely going to pay off with Nylander and Toronto- but he'll be 20 next season, and that's plenty old enough to make the jump to the NHL. So we won't see him.
We could see Connor Brown for a bit, especially if the Leafs want to see him get huge minutes for a while after what's been a snake-bitten, injury-laden season for the surprising prospect. If they can retain Arcobello, he'd also be a good bet; after four different teams in a year, it's understandable to think that the centre/winger may want to settle down if the Leafs give him a nice enough deal. Dmytro Timashov will also be old enough for the AHL, so expect him - but maybe in a second line role, at least to start.
The other few spots could come from anywhere. If Ryan Rupert continues being a solid, scary minor league player, he's got the top six history to make an appearance as the second line pivot. If they don't keep Arcobello (or even if they do), Brendan Leipsic will be in that 'make or break' year that needs top six minutes; I'll also want to see Nikita Soshnikov get plenty of exposure, although I think that one or two of the best current Marlies players (including Josh Leivo and Zach Hyman) might see the NHL in a lower six role next year with Nylander and probably Kasperi Kapanen. It will all depend on who's in the NHL next year, but that's my guess.
I don't like to predict points with guys like Timashov, because he will be so young - and he's coming out of the QMJHL, which means that he may need more adjustment to the AHL game than Nylander did. I think we'll like what we see of him though, for sure.
@JDBurke: "who? anyways... if you could just have one: shrink goalie gear or increase net size: which one do you choose?"
I'm going to leave you my INCREASE SCORING MANIFESTO for that one.
@elsedo: "I have a question about the removal of Bobby. Why do you hate entertaining our readers? Please answer in graphs."
You ask, and I shall give.
@laurkelly24: "Best ASG moment?"
From a generic perspective, it has to be when John Scott scored his first goal. It was immediate, it was great, and it was what kept me and the rest of my friends engaged in the game for the rest of the night. From that to the 'fight' between Scott and Patrick Kane - whom I don't like much as a person, but who I thought did a good job of just getting what made John Scott at the ASG great - it was probably the most fun ASG I've watched in a while.
From a Leafs perspective, though, I had a great moment. I was watching the game with my boyfriend's roommates, and one of them yelled at the TV midway through the first game:
"Wait, is that LEO KOMAROV???"
@Palmateer711: "here's one. What's going on with Casey Bailey? Is he no longer a prospect we can look forward to?"
That's a tough one.
Every player peaks at a different age, and every player has more to their game than just pure point production at each level - so accurately predicting NHL equivalency can be tough.
Bailey looked like a great Leafs option when he came out of Penn State, especially since they're a program that grew with him. He may still end up being a great depth option, as well; he's got the size, and he's proven in a very limited Leafs stint that he won't retire without his first career NHL goal. His offensive production isn't as flashy as that of Nylander, though, and Arcobello has taken up as the second best offensive producer in the Marlies lineup; add in that Bailey's potential depth role with the Leafs this year was taken by a herd of 'wait, who is that?' dudes, and this may just be a tough season for Bailey for no tangible reason.
That being said, he's 24. It's also possible that he just doesn't have 'it' at the highest level, and this will be the last we see of him. You never really know.
@ahurst11: "Leafs trade both Reimer and Bernier and target a younger goalie in another trade: who is it?"
A couple of teams have a surplus of prospect talent in net that could make this kind of scenario possible.
The first is obviously the Winnipeg Jets. They're still stuck with Ondrej Pavelec right now, and Michael Hutchinson isn't as bad as that team is making him look this year as a backup. Connor Hellebuyck is very much NHL-ready right now, though, and Eric Comrie will be soon as well. One of Hutch, Hellebuyck, or Comrie will likely need to go soon, and Toronto is out of conference. Could be a great fit.
The Boston Bruins have Tuukka Rask locked up long-term, but boast both Malcolm Subban and Zane McIntyre. Same with the Pittsburgh Penguins - they aren't losing Marc-Andre Fleury any time soon, but both Matt Murray and Tristan Jarry have looked excellent at the AHL level and are roughly the same age. The Ducks have Freddie Andersen and John Gibson - one of those will want a bigger role somewhere - and the St. Louis Blues have Jordan Binnington, Pheonix Copley, Niklas Lundstrom, and Jake Allen - all 25 or younger. Hell, you could even consider the Columbus Blue Jackets as a team to put some feelers out to; both Anton Forsberg and Joonas Korpisalo have NHL potential, but one will need to go. Any deals beyond these will be gambles, but don't rule out other teams, either. Those are just the ones I look to first.
Finally... Thank you to Totally Offsides for the best tweet of the week.