Monday Mailbag: James van Riemsdyk, Good Looking Goalies, and Habs Fans


Mailbag time, TLNers. We’ve got a lot of different topics to cover today (and one knucklehead to deal with) so let’s get right to it.

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I’ve wrote before the trade deadline about how the Leafs and Anaheim Ducks seemed like excellent trade partners if at some point Toronto decided to unload James van Riemsdyk in order to strengthen the blueline. Today, I think it still makes a ton of sense.

You’d ask for Hampus Lindholm, but my feeling is that he’s a non-starter for the Ducks. If so, you settle for Sami Vatanen and maybe an extra asset or two. Vatanen, 24, and his right-handed shot would fit quite well into the Leafs’ top-four for a number of years. 

While Anaheim is the first team I’d call up, though, they’re hardly the only team to consider. A lot has been made of Jacob Trouba’s contract demands in Winnipeg, and while the Jets have all of the leverage they may choose to flip the 22-year old in exchange for an Andrew Ladd replacement.

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First of all, the Leafs will be picking top three. But I digress…

If I’m picking 4th, I’m at this point taking London’s Matthew Tkachuk. I don’t think his point total’s lie, and anyone else who’s putting up equally lofty numbers, like Pierre-Luc Dubois, have also spent significant time on powerhouse lines (a knock I hear on Tkachuk quite often). In fact, that Tkachuk is so familiar with Mitch Marner is a bit of a plus in my books.

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I do think Dubois belongs in the conversation, though. The fact that he’s never skated alongside Marner is obviously not a deal breaker, and Dubois’ stock seems to have rose quite a bit over the course of the season. Dubois wouldn’t be a disappointing pick, but I personally have Tkachuk (and maybe even Michael McLeod and Alex Nylander) ahead of him amongst forwards.

I like Chychrun quite a bit too, but unless Toronto is absolutely certain that he’s the best player available, I’d be just as happy to focus on drafting another high-end forward prospect with their top pick and go hunting for blueliners with Pittsburgh’s first-rounder. I’d honestly be fine with a forward at #4 and then using the next three picks (a first and two seconds) on shoring up the future defence corps. 

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He’s gorgeous, and his numbers aren’t half-bad either. That said, if the Leafs do land Mantas Armalis out of Djurgarden, I think it would be silly to start calling him ‘goaltender of the future’ or anything like that. Bringing in a player like Armalis is what you’d call a ‘project’, and he’d slot in at the bottom of Toronto’s goaltending depth chart until he can prove he belongs any higher. In my eyes, Garret Sparks makes the Leafs next year as a backup and the Marlies starter’s gig is Antoine Bibeau’s to lose. At the very least, we’ll get a better view of Mantas’s face if he’s on the bench in a baseball cap as opposed to in net with a mask on.

Cat Silverman. Hands down.

How else would I pwn Canadiens fans like you, Andrew? Your team consists of one very good goaltender and trash cans on skates. The Leafs have an excuse – what’s yours?

Just kidding. Andrew seems like a nice boy, even if his team is a tire fire.

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  • MatsSundin#13

    I agree completely – the chemistry with Marner is a big plus for Tkachuk in my books….now if there would only be a way to draft him and snag Dvorak from the Coyotes!

  • CMpuck

    Given 4-8 is pretty tight, if we pull the dreaded 4 spot, anyone else trading down once or twice? Nylander, Tkachuck, Chychrun, Juolevi, Dubious are a wash in terms of my satisfaction.

      • Gary Empey

        Re- “If I’m picking 4th, I’m at this point taking London’s Matthew Tkachuk.”

        We have been have been assuming the Leafs would be picking Top Three/Four for too long.

        If one looks at the standings and how the young Leafs are playing (only 3 points out of fifth place), 5th to 8th is becoming more realistic.

        Will this force us to draft a defenceman with our first overall pick? Or will you still go with best forward available?

        • 5th to 8th is more realistic? Really? That’s an awful lot of ground to make up in 10 games. I sincerely doubt Toronto finishes any higher than 28th, and I think the upcoming stretch of games against quality playoff teams only helps that.

          • JB#1

            My understanding is that there are going to be three distinct draft lotteries.

            If that is the case, then a 28th place finish (3rd from bottom) could still land you right in the middle of that 4-8 range with the 6th pick.

    • I like that idea. What if we win the lottery (I know, Edm will win it)but say we did. How much would Pho pay for him. He could build them a shinny new rink downtown. If they pick 4-6, anyone think that Pho 1st 4-6 overall and Strome and maybe even more be a terrible idea?

        • I agree that they will not trade the pick. BUT…although I think it is an absolutely stupid idea on arizona’s part, if OEL is on the table with their first round pick which is in the 4-6 range, how do you not trade down for that??? OEL is a stud defenseman and you could still have a dubois, nylander or chychrun. Toronto has needed a number one center for a long time so it likely won’t happen but I’d be tempted by that offer for sure because they also need a number 1 dman right now. Plus, a different top center could be available in free agency. haha. So fun to dream. A core of Stamkos, nylander, marner, dubois/nylander/chychrun and OEL would not only be a dream, but a wet one.