TLN Monday Mailbag: December 7th

theleafsnation

I had a realization on the way home today. My income is defined by the words that I say in reaction to watching the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks play. They are the only two teams that haven’t made it to ten wins yet.

Please buy me hard liquor for Christmas. Also, ignore that this was the same intro paragraph I used on Canucks Army’s mailbag.

@ReasonableOnion asked: Which of Toronto’s pending unrestricted free agents will they re-sign, if any?

The only pending UFA that I could strongly see sticking around would be James Reimer if the two sides talk at the deadline and feel that there’s a reasonable price for him. While Garret Sparks appears to be proving our feelings on TLN about him being NHL capable right now, after him and Antoine Bibeau, the Leafs are kind of empty in terms of their long-term outlook in net.

As it stands, they’re going to need to look to Reimer and/or Bernier in the short term unless a crazy, Luongo-to-Vancouver level opportunity arises for them. Add in his long-term experience with the organization and positive attitude, and I could see him remaining. Everybody else though? Prime deadline assets. Brad Boyes is the only other one I could see sticking around, but at the same time, he’d probably value playing every night over being close to home.

@bdlaker asked: Outside of the big two, who should Leafs fans be watching at the World Juniors?

There are some easy answers here. For one, Team Sweden also has Leafs 2015 5th rounder and wunderkind Dmytro Timashov, along with William Nylander’s draft eligible brother Alex. Kasperi Kapanen is heading to the tournament as well to represent Finland, which should be a huge confidence booster for him. Travis Dermott will potentially play for Canada, and there’s still a chance that other drafted Leafs prospects could squeak into the tournament somehow.

Beyond that, pretty much anybody projected to go in the first round will be representing their coutnry. There’s lots of opportunity to see players worth watching. That’s the beauty of this tournament.

@thebrashrules asked: Does Byron Froese really deserve a spot in the team over guys like Panik, Arcobello, and Leivo? What is Babcock’s rationale?

Panik and Leivo are both irrelevant to this conversationg, seeing as they play the wing. Froese, while versatile enough to play all three forward positions, has spent most of his time at centre. The battle then becomes Froese vs. Arocobello, and thus far, the two seem to be better options than each other in each respective league.

In the NHL, Babcock appears to feel more comfortabel with playing Froese in the defensive zone; he’s a bit bigger and has spent a lot of his pro career playing as a penalty killing specialist. That’s not the entirety of his game, but with other centres ahead of him, the shutdown role is what he’s been relgated to. Despite this, he’s picked up some even strength assists and his relative possession isn’t much lower than Arcobello’s was. Meanwhile, while Froese put up great numbers on the Marlies last year, Arcobello tends to play the AHL on hyper-easy-tutorial difficulty, as shown by his eighteen points in 14 games with the Marlies.

@ahurst11 asked: What’s a good landing spot for Roman Polak? Were the Leafs considering signing Lucas Peressini last summer?

Polak’s landing spot will likely be whichever team loses a mid-tier priced defenceman closes to the deadline. I don’t see a team specifically targeting him, rather, grabbing him because he’s a rapidly available option in a panic swing. As for Peressini, the Leafs did invite him to camp this year, but I don’t think there was a major focus on signing him to an NHL deal. More likely than not, the goal was to see whether he was a fit for the Marlies or Solar Bears, and nothing quite materialized.

@ZaneRyder asked: What do you think of players like Eric Staal, who are content with getting paid and not being in a competitive market?

That’s their perogrative. To be honest, their job is to play hockey, not play media relations and deal with harrassment. Winning the Stanley Cup is the ultimate goal, and that trophy doesn’t become any less valuable in Carolina or Columbus than it does in Montreal or Toronto. 


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