Great news everyone, September rolls around on Thursday (that came quick, didn’t it?) and hockey is just around the corner. Until then, though, we’re left to contemplate, speculate, and discuss whatever hockey-related ideas we can possibly squeeze some entertainment out of.
With that said, let’s get started on today’s mailbag.
@40BaySt does Marner make the team out of camp?
Even though his odds have presumably worsened over the course of the summer — what with the team bringing the likes of Matt Martin, Kerby Rychel, and Brandon Prust into the organization in various capacities — I still think he ultimately ends up on the Leafs this year.
Like, the guy put up 126 points in his draft year, then this year he put up 116 (in 6 fewer games), and then he put up an absurd 44 points in 18 games in the playoffs, en route to winning pretty much every CHL award you could imagine. And numbers aside, his skating, puck skills, and two-way game look polished enough for him to play in the NHL at a high enough level.
Size will be a big question mark, and he needs to come into camp as close to 170 pounds as possible. He also still has a lot of developing to do, and if he does play for the Leafs next season I imagine it’ll be in a complimentary role, even more-so than the roles Matthews and Nylander figure to be pegged into.
But all things considered, I just think he’s too good to not make the team. I think he’ll be there come October 12th.
@LadleToTheGravy who wears the letters on opening night?
I think the Leafs probably roll three to four alternates this year, with nobody wearing the C. I think the best five bets to get a letter are: Matt Hunwick, Tyler Bozak, Morgan Rielly, Roman Polak, and Brooks Laich. Now, Polak and Laich figure to get limited roles, and you don’t usually see “spare parts” players like that get a letter, but I know the organization is extremely high on Laich’s character (as they should be), and Polak wore an A last season.
I also think Van Riemsdyk, Kadri, Lupul, Martin, and Prust are all letters candidates, but for various reasons, probably don’t get one.
If I had to guess, I’d say Hunwick, Rielly, Bozak, and Laich are wearing letters on opening night.
@trickgh83 if up to you, what would be next big move? Unload some prospects for seasoned skill? Or horde & develop & stand as is?
Generally speaking I think the team is in a fairly good position to stand pat. They have potential franchise players in Matthews and Marner, with other great supplemental pieces like Nylander, Van Riemsdyk, Kadri, Gardiner, Zaitsev, and Andersen in place. That’s not mentioning the wealth of draft picks and decent depth prospects that they have to keep the young players coming.
My big concern right now with the team’s future is defense. Cup contenders typically have an elite defenseman. I think the organization believes Rielly will be that guy, and I like Rielly enough that I think it’s possible that he becomes that, but right now I’m not convinced. This is going to be a big year, I think, in Rielly either proving me wrong, or Rielly proving that he’s better suited as a great complimentary player.
If Rielly isn’t the guy you can win with, the team needs to look elsewhere to fill that hole, so that would be my next (potential) big move.
@__Pete__33 since both our goalies came from Californian teams, are they destined to fail?
Toskala, Bernier, and now Andersen…third time’s a charm!
@cameo60 don’t you hate pants?
I like pants. I like jeans and pyjama bottoms. But, I also like shorts, and feel like society needs to be more accepting of adult men that wear them.