Monday Mailbag: Happy Family Day

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Ah, Family Day. It’s the holiday that we made up because we needed time off in the middle of a month famous for being cold and making couples remember to go on a date. The latter has passed, and the former is at its peak; I don’t understand why anybody would want to go outside today. I don’t know how many of you are spending today with your families, but I do know that a few of you spent a minute or two asking me questions, which I’m here to answer.

@nrandreycharles asked: To avoid going full Oilers; what does our defence look like next season if we move on from Dion? Current cast + UFAs?

@cgaragan6 asked: With Franson saying he would listen if the leafs called in the summer, do you think there’s any chance of signing him?

I think at least two pairings are set in stone. I really doubt that the Leafs will trade Jake Gardiner or Morgan Rielly, as they fit into the team’s long-term plans. I also don’t see Stephane Robidas or Roman Polak leaving just yet, because I doubt they fit into anybody else’s long (or short) term plans. This leaves two regular spots. Stuart Percy is a safe bet to pick up one of them, and if Phaneuf leaves, there’s an obvious vacancy. I’m not sure if any of the Marlies are the right fit for it, to be honest; none of the other defencemen seem ready for regular NHL minutes. 

Chris’ question brings a solid option. I would have no qualms with bringing back Cody Franson if the price is right; as you all know, I’m incredibly high on him as a player. We know that he enjoyed playing here, and that he’s a been a Leafs fan since birth. We know that the Leafs were having serious contract negotiations with him. I have to assume he’s at least going to listen if he doesn’t sign in Nashville before July 1st. 

@shutupisaac_ asked: Where would Brendan Leipsic fit into the Marlies line up?

@sagajo asked: Do you think marlies will try Nylander as a C soon?

These two questions also tie into each other pretty well. I could see Nylander going back to centre soon with the acquisition of Leipsic being a driving factor behind the decision. Nylander is spending a lot of his time on the left wing, which is Leipsic’s naturally position, and I feel like those two could play some fun hockey together. Leispic’s point totals would put him in second on the Marlies, so a top six spot is a given.

A line of Leipsic, Nylander, and Brown would compliment the Leivo-McKegg-Abbott line, giving Toronto a defined top six. I guess we’ll have to see.

@Totally_Offside asked: Which full time Marlie (i.e. not Granberg or Percy) will be the first full time Leaf?

My guess is Sam Carrick. As the Marlies continue to add forwards, he’s starting to lose the benefit of getting to play offensive situations down here, and he can immediately fill in on an NHL bottom six if need be. That said, if the Leafs “scorch the earth” enough to fit Nylander into the top six, that might happen sooner than expected..