Monday Mailbag: Back and Rebooted

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We finally got rid of our broken mail truck! These new ones are such piles of junk, it was just always in the shop. What we did instead, was we renovated an old one. Just pimped it the hell out. 

..anyway, the mailbag is back for another season. Instead of being our “Jeff has a self-imposed quota to reach” machine, I’ll be taking in questions to answer every Monday. From now on, If you would like to take part, please tweet at our official twitter (@TLNdc), or leave your questions in these comments and I’ll obtain this top secret (highly public) data and turn the best questions into mediocre answers.

Do you think Bibeau will make the Marlies? If so, will they send either Gibson or Sparks to the ECHL? -@CarrollThorpe

This is the issue with training camp scrimmages. They wildly change the opinions people have of prospects, based on fewer “games” than one could count on their hand. Games where everybody is getting back into shape. Games where, in the case of the Leafs, they use abrupt stops instead of line changes, which ruins the flow for skaters. Bibeau had three shutouts in three games, yes, but can you really call them games? Even if so, do you rely on a sample like that?

Look at Brian Boucher. He went the equivalent of five and a half games in a row without letting in a puck. Not in a training camp, in the NHL. Despite this, and despite only playing 40 games, he still only had a save percentage of 0.906, which was his highest between 2000/01 and 2006/07. His career save percentage wouldn’t allow for him to play on a non-Winnipeg team in today’s NHL. But he had the longest shutout streak in NHL history.

Bibeau looks to be a legitimately good goaltending prospect. Bibeau is still fighting with Christopher Gibson for the role of second best goaltending prospect. At least, in the opinion of this site. We didn’t have him on our top twenty list at all. He’ll either be going back to the QMJHL or playing with the Solar Bears.

Who should play on the second line with Nazem Kadri and Joffrey Lupul? -@zackhjazi

If those two remain the constants on the second line? David Clarkson would absolutely get another opportunity to redeem himself under top six minutes. After an extremely unfortunate year and with six years left on an extremely unfortunate contract, you imagine the Leafs would put him in a position to succeed, right?

But with rumours that Lupul and James van Riemsdyk might get switched around, I’m not so sure any more. If JVR is on the second line, this means that you have two players who you prefer to be in front of the net. If that’s the case, Petri Kontiola, Leo Komarov, or David Booth may get a look. 

Who is your pick for the seventh defenceman? – @oltoncor

I don’t know how sold I am that either are capable of playing at a fantastic level, but I’m hoping for Henrik Tallinder or Brendan Mikkelson, if only to give some of the younger defencemen some more time to grow and breathe. Stuart Percy is probably the most NHL-ready of the Marlies guys, but it’s better for his development to have him play 70 AHL games than 7 NHL ones and sit in the press box until necessary.

What would be the best defensive pairings for the Marlies this season? -@MeronNemirov

You’re probably looking at no significant changes to two of the three pairings. I fully expect to see Stuart Percy and Petter Granberg paired back up, along with Andrew MacWilliam and Korbinian Holzer. Beyond that, you’re then stuck with a log jam of Eric Knodel, Victor Loov, Matt Finn, Kevin Marshall, and Tom Nilsson to compete for those final four spots. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a three man rotation in the bottom pair with one or two of them heading to the Solar Bears to start the season.