Monday Mailbag: Buncha Bangers

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I’m going to the Blue Jays game tonight. I like it when teams score more points than the other team, especially when the team that does it is the one that I’m cheering for. The Blue Jays have done that a lot lately. I like seeing the City of Toronto happy and successful. I don’t know where I’m going with this, but Toronto rules and hopefully more parts of it will rule soon.

Anyway.

@YakovMironov asked: What player steps up and replaces Zach Sill?

I know this is a gag question, but fighting hasn’t exactly left the game entirely yet and Sill was the team leader in the ever-so-truculent stat of Fights Per Game. The game is still physical, and guys will have to drop the mitts at some point.

If I had to guess, Dion Phaneuf will continue to pull the leader card out and scrap when he has to; he lead the team in fights last year according to our pals at HockeyFights.com. Sam Carrick is also a safe bet to drop the mitts when he’s up with the team, and beyond that, well.. it remains to be seen. None of the new guys are really fighters, so I doubt you see many staged bouts go down; fisticuffs will be reactionary at best.

@vandermolen10 asked: Point expectations for Nylander Marner and Rielly in 5 years?

You hope that Nylander and Marner will both be pushing past the seventy point park and into the eighties, though it remains to be seen who they’ll have with them and how they’ll develop. It would be nice if one of them could be the first to break ninety with the team since Mats Sundin, though.

Rielly has already come within striking distance of 30 as a teenager, so you have to think he could be a 50+ point defenceman at some point. His offensive instincts are strong and his skating ability will help him get involved in the play with those aforementioned Nylander and Marner-type players once they’re in their groove.

@belfourhappyhr asked: So the Leafs have way too many forwards heading into September. How hard do you think Lou & Little Kyle are working the phones to move guys like Bozak, Lupul, Komarov, Frattin etc..?

Probably not working them too hard; they seem more focused on getting proper value than they are to simply shed. The Leafs aren’t in a position of desperation (closing window to win, up against the cap, etc), so they can take their time to find teams that require the types of players they’d like to sell and make the most of those opportunities. 

It’s probably closer the type of garage sale that you have because you’re bored and want to drink on the lawn than it is a firesale before your shop’s lease expires.

Corno4 asked: What about the possibility of Holland ending the season as 2nd line centre?

With all of the above said, they’re still undoubtedly looking to move players, so it’s not out of the real realm of possibility that a few of the centres are gone by the end of the year. For Holland to become the second line centre, the Leafs would likely have to move Shawn Matthias (an easy one if he continues to play like he did last year) and Tyler Bozak (we’ll see). As well, the Leafs would have to decide not to keep William Nylander or Mitch Marner up with the big club. Either that, or he’d have to out-perform them all, which, if done the right way, everyone here would be happy with.

I wouldn’t go to vegas and place a bet on him finishing as the second line centre, but at the same time, I wouldn’t bet against it either. It’s honestly a crapshoot and relies on plenty of different factors.

CMPuck asked: Will fans be watching the Marlies over the Leafs this season?

Probably not. The spotlight will be on the Marlies more so than it’s ever been in their existence, but as long as AHL Live costs about as much as rent and games aren’t regularly televised, I don’t see them having a large 76-game fanbase.

We’ll do our best here to keep everybody as up to date as possible with the on-goings of the team, though. It’s going to be a heck of a ride for a roster filled to the brim with young talent who, in many cases, have chips on their shoulders.