Shoutout to James Van Riemsdyk, Jake Gardiner, Matt Hunwick, Garret Sparks, Connor Carrick, Jeremy Bracco, JJ Piccinich, Nolan Vesey, Tony Cameranesi (for six more weeks), Dominic Toninato, Dakota Joshua, Joseph Woll, JD Greenway, and Jack Walker on this fine Fourth of July. May your day be filled with glittery eagle GIFs.
Also, we have a mailbag that’s overflowing with questions, so let’s get chipping away!
@F_Grisanzio asked: Why do we go nuts on everything this organization does? This regime should need more time to get rid of contracts from the Nonis era.
I’m not as far on the “this contract is the worst” scale with Matt Martin as others are, but ultimately, the concern is about giving a player term. I’m not sure how “the Leafs need to get rid of old questionable contracts” is a justification for signing a new questionable contract.
The present skepticism comes from a recent trend of moves that aren’t as clearly in line with either rebuilding or capitalizing on market inefficiency as the ones last year. I think it’s fair to be skeptical. I don’t know if the fanbase has “gone nuts” yet, even in it’s most critical pockets, it just feels like an extreme after such a lengthy stretch of silence.
Trust me, if the Leafs end up making a move that is extremely obviously bad, the skepticism will be a lot rougher than what some have said this week. It’s not at that point, though, and I personally don’t think it will get there.
@JazzJackrabbit_ asked: What would be the Zaza equivalent of an NHL shootout attempt?
For the Leafs? Some say Jason Allison is still skating up to goal... but league wide, definitely this.
@Qtktkat asked: Do you think the Leafs will play their expiring contracts more than the kids, in order to trade them at the deadline again?
If they do, it won’t be for the sake of deadline flipping. The Leafs didn’t think they were 30th place bad last year, and percentages considered, they probably aren’t if you replay the season again. They’re adding a bunch of players (Matthews, Nylander, Marner, Zaitsev, and maybe others) who are safe bets to improve the team offensively and Andersen is a safer bet in net. This likely won’t be a bottom feeder team next year.
Mike Babcock will look to win games. If he plays a player, be it a prospect or a veteran, it’ll be because he thinks that’s making the team better. If management wants to go a different way, it’s up to them to add players to and remove players from the available lineup. But Babcock’s playing to win.
@GirlsWhoKnows asked: If you were Mike Babcock, how would your lines look with the additions of the new free agents?
Let’s not think about that yet. If this question means “if you’re the head coach”, the Leafs have way too many roster players right now and it would be silly to assume this is the final group of guys who will go into the season. Even if they are, decisions on demotions and waivers still have to be made before one arranges into lines.
If the question is literally “if you’re Mike Babcock”, then let’s wait until Dan Cleary retires or signs elsewhere.
@ryanfancey asked: Why do you hate the Leafs?
They aren’t catering to my analytics needs. If they trade some of these extra pieces for players who are dominant at score adjusted BOFA, what’s the point of even playing the season?