What’s old is new again! The Mailbag has a new header look with an ode to the past, though Lou is our new delivery driver. With that said, let’s dive into your questions for today.
@seanandrewdance asked: Who out of the Holy Trinity of Prospects is going to be a bust?
Honestly, it’s very doubtful that any of them will be.
Now, does that mean that they’re going to be fighting each other for the Hart Trophy for the next decade? Probably not, there are a ton of other great players in the NHL. But Mitch Marner’s Draft+1 saw him put up historical numbers in junior. William Nylander’s +1 and +2 saw him put up historical SHL and AHL numbers for his age, and his late-season call-up had him scoring at a 50 point pace. Auston Matthews is one of the most well-rounded prospects of the past several years, who put up elite at any age numbers in a European Men’s League as a teenager.
All three seem like advanced, ready to be NHL top-sixers now, and the oldest of the three is 20. Athletic prime is still three or four years away for them. They’re going to be awesome, and at least for a little while, awesome together.
@wallacemark80 asked: Who will be the biggest surprise to make the roster out of training camp? Who will be the biggest disappointment not to make it?
Though he’s a safe bet to be ‘on the roster’, I think a lot of people are going to be surprised by how definitive Frank Corrado’s presence is going to be. He only got better as the season progressed, presumably as nagging injuries went back to 100% health and his legs got back into form.
Assuming he’s spending the whole summer getting into better shape, he should have no problem solidifying himself in the lineup. Many Canucks fans thought he was ready last year, and after Zaitsev (maybe even including him), spots on the right side are anybody’s game.
As for biggest disappoint, Connor Brown and it won’t even be his fault. He’s near-universally loved by the part of the fanbase that is aware of the whole system, is a hard worker, and is probably NHL ready. But the numbers game on the wing is so heavy, especially with waiver eligibility considered, that the team will likely have no choice but to send him down to start.
@whothecanuck asked: Do you think the Matt Martin signing makes Uncle Leo a likely trade-deadline candidate to be moved for picks/prospects?
I really don’t think so. Komarov is a more efficient scorer, generates more offence, has much better net possession numbers, gets the puck into high-danger areas, draws more penalties, hits just as much is already well liked in the room, takes fewer penalties, and has a better contract. If he fought, he would be better at Matt Martin at basically every Matt Martin thing. They’re likely here to play two separate roles.
@__Pete__33 asked: Why did we all collectively forget about James van Riemsdyk?
It’s crazy, isn’t it? JVR had a huge first half to last year, establishing himself as a forward who could be good without the help of others, both from a play-driving and point-getting perspective. His injury put him into the back of everyone’s minds, though, as did the hype train for the big three kids.
You know the forward core is looking good when James Van Riemsdyk is an afterthought. It’ll be interesting to see how he performs this year.
@ryanclassic asked: If his contract cannot be bought out, what role do you see for Jared Cowen this season?
If he can’t be bought out, it’s probably because he’s too injured to be cleared to play. If he’s too injured to be cleared to play, he can’t be placed on waivers. If he can’t be placed on waivers, he can’t go to the Marlies, and the Leafs have to eat that full cap hit while placing him on injured reserve.
Ryan, if I know you, you’re about to buy a crazy jersey for the laughs. It’s going to have to be a Leafs. jersey. Just know that Matt Hunwick already wears #2.