TLN Monday Mailbag: July 25th

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Today was a crazy day. Peter Holland was heading to arbitration, but then he wasn’t. Frank Corrado followed suit with his own change of plans, also settling before arbitration with his own one-year deal. Also, I got Toronto FC up to the Champions League on my FIFA 16 Career mode, took my dog for a walk, and wrote a thing on Canucks Army. Crazy day.

But now, as we approach midnight, it’s time to go through the mailbag and answer some of your questions. Let’s go!

@JameyPalmer asked: Who is going to be the new core of the Marlies, now that many of their best players are graduating?

A lot of the group that made up the core of late last year should still be sticking around. Brendan Leipsic and Connor Brown will likely spend most of the year there, and I think that Josh Leivo ends up clearing waivers if they decide to send him down. Kasperi Kapanen needs another year, Rich Clune and Andrew Campbell are back as y our veterans, and the goaltending trio will have to work itself out.

I also think there’s a very strong chance that you see Byron Froese return to the core group; there’s just no room for him on the Leafs roster. Tobias Lindberg and Colin Smith will still be there, Frederik Gauthier will still be there, Rinat Valiev and Justin Holl will still be on the point… it’s not actually that different of a team, when you think about it. Yes, they lose names like Nylander, Brennan, Arcobello, Soshnikov, and Hyman… but that still leaves one of the AHL’s best teams before replacement.

It’s amazing how much depth is in the cupboards, really. Now they just need to work into harnessing the upside of these players.

@OeegieMonster: If the Leafs were Pokemon, who would be Magikarp?

Stephane Robidas, no question. The Leafs have him in their group to sit there and do nothing, presumably because one of his legs doesn’t work. If he’s just going to splash around on the ice, he can take up a Pokeball but get sent to the PC for the entire trip across the region. 

@aLadintheNorth asked; What should the Leafs expect to get for Polak? Can’t be two second round picks again, surely.

I wouldn’t look at Polak as solely a sign and sell move, in total honesty. More than anything, bringing him back probably had more to do with having a depth right-handed shot that is already familiar with Mike Babcock’s systems than it would be for value.

After all, I can’t imagine the Sharks are looking back fondly at the cost they paid for him and Nick Spaling, even if the team chugged along to the finals. A do-over likely sees a much lower return, which the Leafs probably won’t consider unless a right-hander from below starts to prove themselves.

@BorealNinja asked: Assuming Frank Corrado gets signed, do you think he plays all 82 games? If not, how many?

Only 85 players in the entire league played 82 games last year. Playing an entire year healthy is a miracle… though if by “plays all 82 games” you mean “is a regular in the lineup from start to finish”, I think it’s certainly possible.

As for games played, to kind of play on the Polak point above, I wouldn’t be shocked if the Leafs took advantage of their roster depth to an extent and limited the games played of some of their players, for the sake of keeping them rested. 

@JJDigitized asked: Have we seen the last of Joffrey Lupul in a Leafs jersey? Seems like a weird situation, what value does he have left?

Certainly possible. Many have it as an all-but-certain, though Lupul seems driven to keep playing. His saving grace might be that the Leafs might want to get him to the games played threshold for the expansion draft, but they might look to other players to catch them up to the neccessary qualifications.

  • Tommy Cat

    Can’t agree about Brown on the Marlies. I think he’ll be on the big squad for most of the season … maybe the entire season. 6 points in 7 games during his audition last season? How can you top that? Has a high end drive train as Babcock likes to say. I know there are vet contracts on the books, and a lot of them are forwards but this is now a young players team and I think if any youngster goes into camp and legitimately makes the team I think a spot will be made available at the expense of a vet. And Brown may very well be one of those players.

    In regards to Polak, the whole deadline dump thing is probably past its best before date. Having some solid vets around those kids for the entire season is more important right now than another 4th round draft pick. The vets I think are retained as mentors are Polak and Laich.

    PS Solid reporting on the possible Enroth signing.

    • I think Brown is a very capable player, don’t get me wrong. I also think that the whole “any kid can grab a roster spot” at camp has its limits because making the Marlies a bunch of older players who don’t want to be there is more damaging for the prospects than overripening them.

      The obvious players will be up. The ones that probably deserve it but aren’t frothing at the mouth might need to wait for a window, which I think is Brown’s case to start the year.

  • JB#1

    Hey Jeff,

    Do you know if the Leafs are able to trade the retained money on Kessel’s contract?

    If yes, maybe after this season they could look (yes CBJ, I see you) to a team to take on a higher $, but shorter term, AAV so as to get the lower $, but longer term, Kessel money off the books before the end of 21/22.

  • Stan Smith

    I think the big question with Corrado is does he play at all? At the moment Rielly, Gardiner, Polak, Zaitsev, Hunwick and Marincin all slot ahead of him. Carrick and Corrado both have to clear waivers to be sent down. Right now I have to think Carrick has the edge to stay with the team. If they don’t want to carry 8 dmen someone has to go.