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.
— AC Slater (@_sm91) March 21, 2016
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.
@thejustinfisher Who would you take at 4 if you were the Leafs? Is there any way Chychrun or Dubois could overtake Tkachuk?
— Oscar Thompson (@draftshmaft) March 21, 2016
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.
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.
— Rutledge (@Rutty_91) March 21, 2016
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.
— Catherine Silverman (@CataCarryOn) March 21, 2016
Cat Silverman. Hands down.
@thejustinfisher why won’t you delete your account?
— Andrew Berkshire (@AndrewBerkshire) March 21, 2016
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.