Monday Mailbag: Labour of Love

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It’s Labour Day! Many look at today in different ways – some see it as a fashion cue, some see it as the death of summer, and children everywhere groan at the realities of having to go back to school. I like to take positives out of it, however; it’s the last major holiday until hockey! Though, at the same time, the grocery stores are closed. The last second race to buy food yesterday was.. interesting. Anyway, let’s tackle some questions.

@mo_toews asked: Who do you think is going to improve the most, and who do you think will drop the hardest?

This is going to be the most “typical Jeffler” response of all time, but Nazem Kadri might be the most improved and Tyler Bozak might be the most likely to regress. Bozak gets almost as much undeserved hate as he gets undeserved hype, but the reality is, he hasn’t ever scored 50 points in a season (though he should have in 2014), despite playing with Phil Kessel, who people claim he has chemistry with. This year, he doesn’t have Phil Kessel. That’s worrying.

Kadri, on the other hand, produces more efficiently, is younger, is better defensively, and is on a “show me” contract. He needs to show personal growth to keep in Mike Babcock’s good books. I don’t know if there’s a player better primed for a proving ground season than him.

We’ll have to see, though. Ideally, nobody drops (or they all do and phase three in operation Nylander-Matthews-Marner is engaged).

@Mjot101 asked: Which players do you see being traded at the deadline? What do you estimate their return will be?

Pull up a full list of Leafs players who’s current contracts bring them to unrestricted free agency at the end of them. Remove Jake Gardiner from that list. That’s your list of players who could be traded at the deadline this offseason.

The return depends on how they play. February is a ways away.

@SteveBurtch asked: How many cups have you peed in and do you rinse after? I’ll hang up and listen.

However many times the doctor has asked me to do so for a physical, plus that one time that I visited the locker room at the Bell Centre. Wait, don’t publish that last thought.

@jaybotch7 asked: Why is Cody Franson still an unrestricted free agent?

Hard to say. Could be that teams don’t think much of him, or it could be that he thinks too much of himself. Or maybe his agent sucks. Maybe, just maybe, he and Brandon Pridham figured out a deal in July but locked themselves in the official MLSE cage and can’t find the key.

In seriousness, I hope somebody signs him soon. If the Leafs didn’t have an abundance of defencemen right now, I’d say it would be worth exploring. Heck, it still might – I’d deal with Stephane Robidas kicking and screaming about being in the press box if it meant having Cody Franson on the roster again.

@thejustinfisher asked: How much did I drink on Saturday night?

Enough that Jordan Hamilton scored more goals for me in FIFA than Leo Messi did for you. More importantly, enough that you agreed that several of my ideas for the future of this site were not terrible. I won’t publicly reveal these ideas…yet.

It was a slow week for questions, okay?

    • Gary Empey

      You are correct. There is definitely some risk on having this many players on short term contracts.

      On the other hand how many of our present players should be signed to long term deals?

      The most excitement for now, will be watching our prospect pool push the “Garborator Button” and completely dispose a roster player. I expect this to happen a lot sooner then most people think.

      If there was a game of Leafs vs Marlies today. I think the Marlies would easily win it. Though if Leafs dressed Mich Marner it would make it close. If the Marlies were allowed to dress Marner it would be a blow-out.

  • silentbob

    I wouldn’t be so sure about Gardiner. He is 25 years and has played just under 250 NHL games, and we’re still waiting for him to “break out”. If he doesn’t in the first half of the season, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the leafs cut bait and get something for him while they can.