As long as we’re making series predictions, I think this mailbag is done in five questions. Maybe push six or seven, but I can’t see my attention span putting up that much of a fight against the standard format.
— Zach King ❌ (@ZachTKing) April 9, 2017
I can’t see a ton happening. The scream a few months ago would have been to the effect of “turn on the jets and catch them off guard”, shedding your depth players and replacing them with fresher, healthier blood. But a key part of that was the fact that those guys didn’t look too great out there and had results that weren’t particularly confidence inspiring. Now that the third pair is playing much better and the fourth line is as good as its’ been, there’s not much reason to call for a change.
Beyond that, nobody else has really been moved around in a while. I can’t see Babcock changing things up without being forced to.
— Ashley 📎 (@AshonIce) April 10, 2017
This is a tough one. There are a few capable backups hitting the market, and prospect Garret Sparks has had another impressive AHL season that gives at least some confidence in the idea that he can be a backup in the NHL when healthy. But Curtis McElhinney hasn’t done anything yet to argue against bringing him back on the cheap. Hard to say whether it’s the right decision, given a career’s worth of sub-par performances before this year and no explanation given for the spike in performance, but unless he ends up having to play in the postseason and bombs, I wouldn’t be shocked if he re-ups.
@JeffVeillette Besides this playoff run, what are you looking forward to most in the next 6 months of Leaf Land?
— Kevin Linker (@linker_30) April 10, 2017
Never hearing about the expansion draft again. Well, until Team 32 comes around, but that won’t be this year and probably not next. Having every roster argument somehow spin around to a draft where the Leafs really don’t have much to think about in has been exhausting and I’m happy to leave it behind.
@JeffVeillette Who gets the call if Zaitsev is unavailable for the playoffs?
— Daniel Levitan (@djlevitan) April 10, 2017
That depends on whether Babcock values handedness or total ability. If it’s the latter, Travis Dermott is probably the best Marlies defenceman available, even with zero NHL experience. If the former matters, Justin Holl is having himself another quietly good season as the Marlies’ all-purpose righty, and I think he’d put up an at least respectable showing.
With that said, it can’t be stressed enough that the Leafs already have two fallback options in Martin Marincin and Alexey Marchenko, so there’d have to be a few injuries to get there.
— Ian Tulloch (@regressIan) April 9, 2017
Not sure. All I know is they’ve shown up and they’ve been stealing all the food from the office mini-fridge. Welcome to Ian, Evan, and Dylan regardless; hopefully, we’ll be rounding out the staff even further as the spring progresses.