TLN Monday Mailbag: March 6th

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Technically speaking, I’m in the middle of a two-week vacation from work. But our big fancy redesign is tomorrow, and after a few thousand articles written and probably another hundred of them lost to technical errors, I wanted to take one last venture into the back-end before we jump into a brave new world.

What better excuse than to reach into the mailbag? Let’s take a look at what’s on everyone’s mind this week.

When I look at offer sheets, I think about a few things. Is the player good enough to be worth the picks? Do I want to give more picks to a divisional rival? How much havoc would making a trade make?

Chaos theory leads me to want to step in and make the rest of the Atlantic squirm by sending offer sheets to Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, Jonathan Drouin, Alex Galchenyuk, or David Pastrnak. The Flames don’t really have a great RFA, which is a shame because I’d love a good barn fight. Leon Draisaitl would be fun, but I don’t want to send the Oilers a McDavid warning shot. Tyler Toffoli is having a down year but Dave Nonis would lose his mind if the Leafs managed to get him after his tenure.

Mikael Granlund, Alex Wennberg, and Damon Severson would be legitimately interesting players to look at, but more than likely this will be yet another cold war like it is every other season.

There’s a bit of yes and no here. Repeating last year wasn’t likely to happen, given his above career average shooting percentage and offensively-driven usage. A combination of regression and being used in more of a shutdown role has led to a bit of a dip, though it’s likely more than one would have hoped.

I’m not too concerned about it in the sense that he’s far from Toronto’s most important option offensively these days, but I’d also probably leave him exposed to Vegas in June and have Brendan Leipsic ready on standby.

I don’t think they’re missing him to a drastic degree, in the sense that Alexey Marchenko has been fine in his games. One could say “well, Carrick coming back could mean scratching Roman Polak”, but I’m not exactly optimistic that such a thing will happen. There’d likely be a slight improvement in having Carrick in over Marchenko over those games, but not enough that I think it’s cost them games.

Prior to the Boyle acquisition, my “today” thought was reuniting a Toronto Marlies line of Josh Leivo, William Nylander, and Zach Hyman. They were absolutely dominant in the AHL last year, both in scoring points and controlling the pace.

Whether Boyle stays or not is going to make an impact on the decision here, and I imagine Nylander being converted back to centre next year will make either him or Tyler Bozak the full-time 4C next year. on the wings, I’d probably stick to pulling Hyman back down away from the Matthews line, and it’d be nice to see Brendan Leipsic get some regular NHL action in next year.

This is a silly question. The Leafs recently fell out of a playoff spot and have only one 5 of their last 17 games.

…yes, the Leafs are actually good, even still. There’s a lot of one goal craziness in that mix, the shootout is a crapshoot, and their percentages are iffy right now. There’s still a lot of time for one more hot streak; this idea that only the other teams in the Atlantic can go on a ride at this point of the year because the Leafs are doomed to collapse is silly.

Will they make it? I suppose anything can happen. But they’re still playing in a way that they deserve to, on the whole.

  • Stan Smith

    The only observation I have for the mailbag is that you need at least one line that are experts at playing in their own end. Having offensive skills is a bonus but their defensive acumen is the most important skill they need to possess.

    • Skill2Envy

      Hence Marner being that two-way threat on his line, Komarov and Brown are both good defensively. Matthews can play both ends. Hyman does a decent job and Leivo usually comes off the boards or out of the corner with the puck in Leafs possession.