Monday Mailbag: Let It Snow

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It snowed in Toronto last night! Finally, the seasons are starting to shift over. Even better, the snow actually survived into this morning, giving something that wasn’t quite a Winter Wonderland, but still a nice change of pace. Until it slushes up, of course. Personally, I’m just waiting for the outdoor rinks to open. While I wait, I may as well answer some questions!

To submit your question, please send a tweet to @TLNdc or leave it in these comments.

@beatland5 asked: With the shorter seasons in the SHL is there any chance Nylander or Andreas Johnson could see game action with the Marlies?

It’s definitely not an impossibility. Viktor Loov is a good example of this – he came over at the end of last season and joined the team during the playoffs, though he didn’t actually get any ice time. These two, of course, are more skilled and could pull off a late entry into the roster. 

With that said, the Marlies need to be competitive in April or May for this to matter. So far, not so good.

@spencerJM13 asked: Most Impressive Leafs prospect this year? (Excluding Nylander)

As mentioned above, Andreas Johnson is having an impressive year right now. In the Swedish Hockey League, he has 10 goals and 4 assists in 20 games, good for second on Frolunda in points and a large lead in the goal race. In the Champions Hockey League, a new concept created for European teams to face each other, he’s producing NHL 15 Be A Pro Mode numbers, with a ridiculous 17 points in 5 games. His team is happy, and the Leafs probably are too.

@CarrollThorpe asked: do you think the yearly November roadtrip during RWF is good or bad for the team?

For those who don’t know, the Toronto Marlies tend to spend most of every November on an extended road trip while the Royal Winter Fair takes over Exhibition Place. There’s a lot of debate over whether it’s good or bad for the team.

Personally, I see it as a good thing. Yes, a lack of “home ice advantage” being established until December kind of sucks, but travelling with your teammates for a few weeks seems like a good way to get everybody to mesh and become friendly with each other. It’s like those preseason retreats to cottage country, except you have to play hockey in between. 

@AskTheCoach2 asked: Did Clarkson peak in Oct. Or will he hit 45pts?

I think we’re seeing legitimate hockey out of David Clarkson right now. He’s doing the things people expected him to do when he was originally signed – he’s causing trouble, he’s making defined, set plays that see him head to the net, and pucks are going in good places off of his stick.

His shooting percentage is probably flying a little too high right now at 16%, so I wouldn’t be shocked if the goal total tapers a bit. But if it falls off a cliff, he’s not totally doomed to lose production; pad saves can turn into rebound assists.

An end of year total of about 35 points is a reasonably safe prediction. It’d be nice if he hits 45. Either way, he’s playing the hockey that people asked of him when he was signed, so that’s good. If only it was 5.25 million worth of hockey…

  • cgaragan

    What do you feel is going on with Phanuef? One second he plays with some emotion and then as if he couldn’t care in the least. For a player that wears a C on his chest, you would expect heart and emotion like that of Komorov

  • cgaragan

    Why do they keep playing hollands line with the other teams top line? I think uncle leo is trying to be a little to fancy as of late, he needs to stress the basics before trying to be all kadri like with his moves (not exactly like kadri but you understand I am trying to say)

  • cgaragan

    Hey Jeff I’ve got a two parter for you: 1) with Lupul and Booth basically ready to return and Leivo about a year (IMO) from becoming a full time NHLer, what is the best move for the leafs to make given that all 3 are fairly similar player types (good tool kits but lack the creativity/ Hockey IQ to be considered difference makers). 2) How have Tom Nilsson & Viktor Loov looked with the marlies so far?

    • cgaragan

      What I mean with #1 is: Although I think Lupuls probably a better player than Booth, it would be awesome to get rid of his contract. Since Booths on a cheap 1-yr contract they have the option to resign next year or let Leivo step in on line2 if he’s ready.