Mailbag: No Clubs Going Up

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The Sun is setting, the summer is approaching, and it’s a Tuesday night. Time to party, right? Nah. I’m not ILoveMakkonen. Mannequins are weird, and I spent enough time near them at a hair convention this weekend. Drake is busy with the Raptors. We’re just going to go with the mailbag instead. Like we do every Tuesday. Except for the 99% of the Mailbags that were posted on Monday. Uhh, lets start.

@mo_toews asked: When do you think the Leafs will make their first trade?

It’ll be sooner than later. Obviously, teams are hesitant to make moves until the season actually concludes, but I imagine that the Leafs will be one of the first teams involved when things begin to happen in the next week and change. They have pieces that they’d like to sell and I’m sure they’re looking at this as a pivotal draft year for them, so getting a head start is vital.

@SeanFitz_Gerald asked: Long time listener, first time caller. What’s a Marlie, anyway?

The Toronto Marlies are named after the Toronto Marlboros, a team that started off (before the Leafs!) as an all purpose atheltic club, and evolved into a flagship Junior A hockey club, before folding in 1989. The Marlboros name didn’t go away, however; their multi-tiered minor hockey organization has developed a ton of high profile players over the years.

The logical question at that point is “what the hell is a Marlboro, then?”. Well, it’s not a cigarette, despite the intitial thoughts of many. The team was named after the Duke of Marlborough. This is also why “Duke the Dog” is the Marlies’ mascot. 

@missingholz asked: Do you feel that Andreas Johnson intends to play for the Leafs one day, and is honest in just wanting to develop more before moving to North America?

A few years back, an NHL team drafted a player out of Europe. He seemed interesting, but was considered a long shot. He battled through some good leagues, impressed some people, but for several years, showed no indication that he’d play in the league. 

A few years after everyone gave up on him, he showed up and played for one of their minor league affiliates. He felt like he wasn’t growing and that there was more money in Europe, so he left.

He came back a few months later, won the hearts of the local fans, left again when his team didn’t want to give him the opportunity he felt he deserved, and then eventually came back one more time, this time in a long-term capacity.

His name was Leo Komarov. Anything can happen.

@__Pete__33 asked: What would it take for the Leafs to do a Calgary-esque rebuild rather than a Buffalo-esque rebuild? Who would have to stay to help?

If Mike Babcock is truely and significantly better than his predecessors? They need a goalie to go on a hot streak and a few players to have some hot sticks. That’s it. The Leafs aren’t inherently terrible yet and I don’t think there’s a significant gap between them and the Flames in the present day.

However, this is a team that wants to win a Stanley Cup in a few years, not squeak into the playoffs on a PDO-driven tear. They won’t take the Calgary aproach. It may not be as severe as Buffalo’s, but they won’t try to build Rome with scrap heaps.

@MatthHappens51 asked: How do you react if the Leafs draft Lawson Crouse?

I’d be okay with it. He’s a big body and his numbers are pretty decent. He obviously has a reputation that has people very excited for him, and could very well be a diamond in the rough.

We’re talking about the 24th overall pick, right?

  • Brooksterman

    Yeah only way I’m taking a big body power forward top 4 in the draft is if he’s a Lindros/Getzlaf type of centre in that they are just physically dominant with and whithout the puck and can take over the game. Or a Wendel Clark type of winger in that a guy who is physical, can skate, and can score on his own without needing a high end skilled centre to get him the puck (which Crouse needs). I could see them, if they have a top 5 pick next year and the top 5 draft rankings stay the way their projected this early for next year, taking Logan Brown from Windsor and hoping he develops a mean streak as that seems to be his only knock for a guy his size. From most scouting reports I’ve seen of him, he seems to sound like the offensive version of Fredrick Gauthier which would be pretty good to have.

  • Brooksterman

    I think also we can’t rule out the possibility of drafting more London Knights this year as well as Marner as Hunter will obviously know them better as players like Chris Martenet a big 6’7″ defenseman who is ranked by Central Scouting 81st among North American skaters. Yes he may be a late round pick but don’t be surprised if Hunter picks him around the spot he’s ranked and he’s still on the board. Same with any other first year draft eligible London Knights as indications seem to be from the supposed “insiders” that the Leafs are leaning towards Marner due to Hunter being more familiar with him. Now he is a great talent don’t get me wrong but they also seem to hint that Hunter has more of a bias to him than a Strome or a Hanifin because he’s more familiar with him as a person and player. So I’m just saying if that’s the case with Marner then expect the same with other London Knight players that are ranked to go later in the draft. I don’t personally think Hunter would think that way but again that’s what the so called “insiders” seem to think. Though again other “insiders” have said he prefers Strome to Marner. Or then there’s Hunter’s interview on TSN radio the other month where he raved about Barzal saying he’s probably as good a talent as Marner or Strome. I think we can deduce at this point, based on Shanahan’s ability to let no information out of the Leafs front office, that no one knows which way Hunter is leaning in the draft except Hunter himself and select members of Leafs management.

    • silentbob

      If Hunter is going to pick guys from the Knights because he is bias towards players from his old team, then he is the wrong man for the job.

      Marner is #3 on my list of the 3 players who could be there at #4, however if they pick him because he better then Hanifin and/or Strome, thats fine. If they pick him because he was Mark Hunters player with the Knights…….

  • Jeremy Ian

    “@mo_toews asked: When do you think the Leafs will make their first trade?

    It’ll be sooner than later. ”

    I agree. The draft is largely unaffected by trades (unless they aim for more picks). But you can’t start signing UFA’s until you know what you have and don’t have.

  • silentbob

    I wish people would stop bringing up the “Calgary-esque” rebuild. We don’t know if it was even successful with the Flames. They had one good year, if they do next season what the Avs did this year are they still a team to emulate? And even if they make the playoffs again next year, does anyone REALLY think they a team poised to challenge the best in the NHL anytime soon?

    Doing a “Calgary-esque rebuild” is just code for “quick fix”, and we’ve seen enough of those in Toronto. A year ago Shanahan was brought in to this right, not quick.