TLN Monday Mailbag: January 2nd

Jeff Veillette
January 02 2017 09:43PM

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It's the first Monday Mailbag of the new year! Fun fact: It almost wasn't, because its presently forty minutes to midnight this is the first serious thought I gave to writing this thing today. Needless to say, not my brightest moment. Maybe the following responses will be a little bit better:

It's a really damning case; our own Greg Brady talked about it at great length a few weeks back. As to whether he should be fired, though? I think it's more complicated than an automatic. Everybody deserves a chance to grow, and he's no longer in the organization attached to the case. It the Leafs feel that he's grown / evolved from where he was in that situation (if he's guilty), then you stick with it.

If there's some nervous feeling in the room that Lou is going to try to pull another fast one like what's alleged, though, then you cut him loose. I'd lean towards the former scenario being much more likely than the latter; I can't imagine that something like this would go down today.

Their kids are likely going to remain the ones driving the team forward, so if they can identify veterans who won't help them, and therefore won't help other teams, maybe its wise to still cash in. It's going to be super situational; I definitely don't think buying is the answer, though. Even if this trends towards being a playoff year, it's probably still found money before the seriously competing season.

If they're committing to Hunwick on the first day, they've probably given up on playing shot-prevention defence and figure that scoring their problems away. So just go all in with it; throw Joe Thornton a billion dollars as a rental. Throw Radulov a billion and one. Grab Jagr for the fourth line. Who cares. There's a billion dollars in cap space and Matt Hunwick is playing minutes again. Acquire all the goals.

The fact that he's putting so many shots on goal is key here. Shooting percentage comes and goes, but making sure you've always got a chance to drive it up is huge, especially if you're doing so from in close. I think 35+ isn't unrealistic at all; whether he keeps running towards the mid-high 40's is another question, but if it happened, it'd be closer to "I didn't really expect it" than "THIS IS UNBELIEVABLE".

He might be close as it stands. His underlying numbers are decent, he's playing heavy and tough minutes, and he's somebody they can reliably plug into just about any situation. He's probably not going to be chasing Karlsson and company for the Norris, but he likely flirts with being around that Top 30 in the league mark.

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Managing Editor of Hockey Content at the Nation Network. Just here so I'll get the opposite of fined. If you'd like to collaborate or simply have a question, email me at jeff@veillette.me