Monday Mailbag: Justin is Back


What’s up TLNers? It’s your fearless leader back in the Mailbag seat once again. As always, thanks for all of your submissions. If you want to ask your own question, make sure you tweet @TLNdc or myself, @thejustinfisher, and I’ll get back to you next Monday.

Today we’re talking Morgan Rielly, William Nylander, the 2016 Draft and Connor Brown, amongst a bunch of other things. Let’s get to it.

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I’m not certain that Morgan Rielly is ever going to be a big producer like Erik Karlsson, Kris Letang or Brent Burns, but as the team around him improves, he should begin to put up more points. Rielly is currently on a 35-point pace on one of the worst offensive teams in the league. In a couple years, when Toronto has a few more offensive weapons up front, I could see Rielly up around 45 to 55 points. That would place him among the top 20 scorers amongst blueliners, and you can’t ask for much more than that.

As for Nylander, man, he’s still so young. It feels like we’ve talking about him for a while, but he’s only 19 years old and he’s got so much time ahead of him. Like Rielly, Nylander will begin to put up bigger numbers as the team around him grows and improves. Maybe he gets some more offensively gifted wingers (like James van Riemsdyk) next year. Hell, maybe he gets moved to the wing when Steven Stamkos arrives in Toronto. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Nylander hit 50 points as a 20-year old next season. It wouldn’t surprise me if he hits 60+ points for the following decade. You won’t have to wait long.

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I actually don’t see the Leafs getting a second top 10 pick. I could definitely see them being active on draft day, maybe leveraging their extra second- and third-round picks to move up a few spots here or there, but the price to get into the top 10 again will be huge. I doubt that this management team – the same group that greatly valued quantity over quality last year – will be willing to pay such prices. First off, it will certainly cost you Pittsburgh’s 1st rounder. If the Penguins don’t make it into the playoffs, it’s a moot point. If they do, they’ll need to just squeak in and get immediately bounced in order for the Leafs to be within striking distance of another top 10 pick. Then they’ll need to part with, likely, both of their second round picks in order to get there.

And really, I don’t think there are any great reasons to move up into the top 10 again. The 2016 draft class isn’t what I’d call impressively deep, but there will be a number of good prospects available in the 10-20 range. If Toronto moves up, they get where? 9th overall? 8th? I’d rather sit tight and keep my assets.

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The running joke at TLN is that I’m a Connor Brown superfan. He’s got 85 points in 103 games since arriving in the AHL, so I don’t exactly know what reason there is to not be a fan of the guy, but alas, he has his detractors. 

But back to your dumb question, Tom… “Breezy” is an excellent nickname (and Brown’s skating isn’t what I’d call ‘elite’), so I’ll have to concede that it’s his potential that’s worse.

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Colin Smith has obviously made an excellent impression in his brief stint with the Marlies so far, but nine games is only nine games and the Leafs already has so many youngsters already in the lineup. Giving Smith a look this year doesn’t strike me as a priority, and if there are any further injuries in the Leafs lineup, there’s still a number of players ahead of Smith that would likely get the call. Maybe Smith sees a game or two at the very end of the year, but there’s nothing wrong with letting him focus on acclimating himself with the Marlies and preparing for a Calder Cup run.

Absolutely. The Marlies are going to be stacked when Nylander, Soshnikov, Hyman and others are loaned back after the Leafs’ season comes to an end. If you’re nearby, get yourself some tickets and head down to Ricoh.

I love pro wrestling questions. I love The Realest Guys even more. 

Let’s see… Kadri is definitely Enzo. Big personality, big skill, great on the mic… Maybe doesn’t finish the job like you’d hope he would sometimes. Cass is tougher, though. I’ll go with JVR, if only because he’s a big dude, moves well, and his native New Jersey is just next door to Queens, New York.

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