TLN Monday Mailbag: May 23rd

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I just had leftover pizza. I love pizza. It’s tasty and informative.

These slices were just tasty, though. That’s a shame. Anyway, we had a lot of interesting questions for this week’s mailbag. Let’s get started!

@connorpwayne asked: What will be the fate of each potential “Robidas Island” contract next season? 

For reference, last season saw Nathan Horton go on Long-Term Injured Reserve while Robidas was just on regular IR. Toronto wasn’t overly close to going significantly above the Salary Cap and could afford to go with this.

Horton will likely fit this description again. He’s not going to walk away from four more years of salary, even if they start to taper off in back years. Robidas will depend on how much money the Leafs spend over the summer. Joffrey Lupul and Milan Michalek have also been questioned; Lupul has two more years on his contract while Michalek has just one. Michalek played decently well after returning to the lineup and could very well be tradable at the draft. Lupul I imagine will be a discretionary call come September.

For a little more on the nuances of LTIR, I highly recommend DragLikePull’s post from two weeks ago.

@LorneyHockey asked: Is there a max number of unsigned draft picks that a team can have? Between next year and this year, it could be a problem.

There isn’t a set number of unsigned prospects that a team can have, but there is a maximum number of combined players that a team can possess. That number is 90, and it makes up the “maximum reserve list”. This includes up to 50 signed players, which means that your number lies somewhere between 40 and, say, 65.

Toronto’s maximum list, assuming that the Leafs walk away from every UFA they have, sign all their RFA’s, make no trades, buy out Jared Cowen, and keep the rights to every unsigned prospect they have except for Tony Cameranesi (who they sent home after a few games with the Marlies), is at 58 players. There’s lots of room.

With that said, you can’t keep prospects unsigned forever. With some, you only get two years to do so. The bigger battle is going to be staying under 50, not 90.

@GregHarbinson asked: Are you surprised we haven’t heard anything about the Leafs new uniforms yet?

Not at all. I imagine we’ll see the away jersey revealed at the draft when Auston Matthews wears it for the first time, the home jersey at Steven Stamkos’ press conference, and the retro jerseys throughout the summer months.

@liam_boland asked: Do you see a chance of William Nylander being moved to the wing next season assuming the Leafs draft Auston Matthews?

To piggyback off of the last point, a Stamkos signing would definitely make this conversation interesting. Toronto is in a position where they can make Nazem Kadri the best, most sheltered third line centre on the planet and move forward with two gamebreakers ahead of him. Matthews will be one of them (and yes, that’s who they’re picking. Stop it, everyone).

From there it becomes a matter of how the first week of July goes. If they feel happy with who they have and don’t go for the big man, Nylander will likely remain at centre long-term. He looked quite good in his stint with the Leafs and will only get better with age. Stamkos won’t come here without an expectation of playing down the middle, though. If that signing happens, Nylander will likely join Marner in being converted to the wing.

Remember when the Leafs traded for Phil Kessel and his first ever centre was John Mitchell? This… won’t be a problem again for quite some time.

@Rutty_91 asked: When do you see the Leafs naming their next captain, and who do you think it will be?

Sorry for continuing to Stammer on. If for some reason that doesn’t end up happening, Toronto will likely wait a year to see how things play out with Morgan Rielly and Auston Matthews, who I imagine are the frontrunners from of the youth. Rielly has been a model player for the team on and off the ice and tends to relay the message that a team has to listen to each other and work together, which the organization loves. But Matthews’ leadership qualities have been hyped up too, so maybe its worth waiting a year. It wouldn’t be unprecedented; the Leafs went the entirety of 2008/09 and 2009/10 without a captain.

  • FlareKnight

    I can’t wait until we get Matthews with that jersey on. His may very well be the first Leaf jersey I’ve bought in a while. Although to be fair was considering getting one next year for one of Marner, Nylander, or Rielly anyways.

    The captain situation is tough. If not Stamkos I expect waiting the whole next season without naming anyone. Having someone named Captain immediately isn’t a huge concern. We can survive without one for a while. Though I do agree that it could be either of Rielly or Matthews.

    Nylander’s situation is interesting. I agree it comes down to getting Stamkos or not. If we do…well maybe he becomes a very good winger for us. If not…then he’s the long term #2 for the team and a darn good one.

    • Mitch92

      The thought of Auston Matthews in a Leaf jersey makes me want to puke! Now people want to make him captain too? I bet most of those fans have actually seen very little of Matthews and are just clinging to the hype built by his former coach and a media that will eat him alive if he doesn’t turn out to be the savior that they are telling us he will become by the second week of his rookie season.

      The Nylander situation comes down to whether they draft Matthews more than it does whether Stamkos is signed. It makes no sense that the sheeple are ready to toss Nylander aside in favor of Matthews after watching Willie’s development over the last two years. I would much rather they build a team around Stamkos, Nylander, Marner, Puljujarvi and/or Laine.

      • FlareKnight

        Just in case….take some medication for that stomach. Feeling sick is no joke.

        As always though, talk about a hyper reaction. And yes, most people here aren’t Swiss and regular watchers of the Swiss Leagues. All most people can do is trust scouts, people who have watched the various leagues, and their own eyes from the world championships. That’s life.

        It’s hard to not shake ones head at times. Overreactions happen on both sides and you are definitely falling on one side of overreacting.

        Unlike you, most people are pretty rational. He’s going to turn out to be a good player. People aren’t claiming him as god, but an elite young player which he is. Whether you want to believe that or not is your problem.

        Babcock and Lou have done a good job handling the media and stupid reactions and expectations. Matthews will be fine no matter how his rookie season goes.

        In terms of the C, I’d rather they wait 2-3 season. The guys who will get that C are going to be young players and holding up from adding to much weight is a good thing. But in the end very likely a Rielly or Matthews gets that C sooner or later.

        You may rather they build around that group…but it’s not happening. You build around what you have and when you get pieces you didn’t expect to have, you adjust. When Matthews was insanely unlikely the plan had to go around a Stamkos or Nylander as the first overall center of the team. But now that we have him, of course we’re going to build around Matthews. Nothing wrong with that.

        Having Nylander as an elite #2 center or one of the top wingers on the team isn’t a bad situation. It’s actually a good one. His situation as center or winger depends primarily on both the draft and free agency.

        In terms of the build…will just have to accept the situation. We’ve got core guys already in the mix with Rielly, Nylander, and Marner. Matthews will add to that core and we’ll see about Stamkos and what he wants to do. At least you have a few months to get over wherever your hate of Matthews comes from.

          • Mitch92

            You don’t get hate for having a different opinion, you get hate for saying stupid stuff like: “The thought of Auston Matthews in a Leaf jersey makes me want to puke!”
            Matthews, Laine, and Pulujarvi all look like they will be great players, but Matthews is by far the most complete player at this point in time. Get over it.

  • Mitch92

    Of the three top ranked prospects I see Jesse Puljujärvi as being the best team player of the three. When he played with Laine and Aho at the World Juniors it was Puljujärvi who walked away with the MVP and rightly so. He makes his teammates better and is happy to share the glory with them.

  • SEER

    Here’s two brand new montages, for two of our prospects who had great seasons.. and could be of some help to the Leafs in the very near future.. My bet, is that Brownie makes the team in the Fall.. Already has seven playoff goals, too..

    Connor Brown /
    Right Wing / shoots R /
    Born Jan 14 1994 / *Toronto, ONT. /
    22 yrs. ago /
    Height 5.11 / Weight 183

    RECENT STATS: (*Up to May 24th 2016)

    2015-16 Toronto Maple Leafs – NHL
    7 Games… 1 Goals… 5 Assists… 6 Points… -2
    —————————-
    2015-16 Toronto Marlies – AHL
    34 Games… 11 Goals… 18 Assists… 29 Points… +10
    ————————-
    2016 AHL PLAYOFFS
    12 Games… 7 Goals… 2 Assists… 9 Points… -3

    Brownie Points: Connor Brown 2015-16 Season Goals & Highlights – TML

    —> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9TIBt_ytVE

    ==================

    Travis Dermott / Defense / shoots L /
    Born Dec 22 1996 / Newmarket, ONT. /
    19 yrs. ago /
    Height 5.11 / Weight 207

    RECENT STATS: (*Up to May 24th 2016)

    2015-16 Erie Otters – OHL
    51 Games… 6 Goals… 37 Assists… 43 Points… +36
    —————————-
    2016 OHL PLAYOFFS
    13 Games… 3 Goals… 11 Assists… 14 Points… +7 *PPG+
    —————————–
    2016 AHL PLAYOFFS (Toronto Marlies)
    1 Game… 0 Goals… 0 Assists… 0 Points… -1
    ————————-
    2015-16 Team Canada U20 – WJC-20
    5 Games… 0 Goals… 2 Assists… 2 Points… -2

    Dermott’s Vision: Travis Dermott 2015-16 Season Goals & Highlights – TML

    —> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aQn5d3X3MQ