Monday Mailbag: Brotherly Love

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Now that the Mississauga Steelheads have the rights to, and allegedly the commitment of Alex Nylander, the Leafs should take full advantage. Mississauga has William’s rights as well, and as such, Toronto should send him there for next season. He’ll easily break every OHL record, make his brother a bit more comfortable, and at the same time, make teams believe that Alex’s natural ability is him being carried by William, thus making Alex fall in the draft rankings. The Leafs pick Alex, and then go on to win eleventeen Stanley Cups. It’s the perfect plan!

Well, other than the fact that other GMs aren’t that stupid and that it would stall William’s development. Uhh… let’s answer some questions!

@TrentLeddy asked: Why would Matt Finn drop so low in the rankings just do to one injury prone year?

Finn dropped for more than just suffering from injury; his play while on the ice was quite underwhelming at both the AHL and ECHL levels. As well, new prospects have climbed above him, and he’s aged by a year since the last full rankings. When everything goes wrong, it’s not surprising to see a tumble in the rankings.

That doesn’t mean he can’t climb back up, though. We know what Finn is capable at his best, which is why he’s still there to begin with, and if he can begin to reach towards it again he’ll climb up the rankings once again. Simple as.

@kmcrobbie10 asked: What is the leafs top line and top D pairing at the end of the season?

Daniel Winnik, Nazem Kadri, and Richard Panik will be the top forward line; on defence you’ll see Morgan Rielly and Dion Phaneuf.

This is with the assumption that one of Joffrey Lupul or James van Reimsdyk gets traded (the other plays with Bozak or Matthias on line two), and that the Leafs will almost assuredly trade PA Parenteau by the deadline. It also assumes that Babcock is able to kickstart Phaneuf’s game (potentially leading to a deadline move if deemed opportunistic) and that Rielly continues solid form.

@theninjagreg asked: Will the leafs play Marner or Nylander or the guy they got in the Kessel trade this year?

I’d say it’s doubtful. The only real excuse for rushing a blue-chip forward prospect onto a team is if they will learn absolutely nothing in other leagues, your team needs the cap flexibility, and has the role to offer them that will allow them to succeed.

If the Leafs were a 2015/16 William Nylander away from being a second round playoff team, and they had a spot for him on the wing, then okay, sure. But he can learn a lot from the AHL game still, much like Kasperi Kapanen. Mitch Marner is probably close to maxing out his junior skillset, but it’s nice to give him a year to over-ripen as well.

@SirCanuckles asked: Does Phil Kessel eat sandwiches?

Phil Kessel is a sandwich. He’s wrapped in an outer layer to protect his skill-set, which many fans eat up. Many claim him to be high in fat, which means that he must have some sort of nutritional information card lying around somewhere, further confirming his status as a foodstuff.

@matthew_gooding asked: Do we actually see one of Gibson, Sparks or Bibeau on the leafs in the next 2 years?

As a regular player? Hard to say; the three are all pretty young. Gibson is the most likely to fill in as a backup due to his experience down the stretch though the latter two have shown more peak upside (Bibeau) and long-term consistency (Sparks). In any event, goalies are pretty voodoo; the best you can do is teach them everything you possibly can and hope that when they get released to the wolves for the first time, they can take the puck and run with it.