I love spite tours. You know, when a top player moves teams and immediately finds success? My all time favourite spite tour has to be Marian Hossa’s when he went from a cursed player who couldn’t win to an underrated core piece on a modern dynasty.
This year’s Stanley Cup Finals is a double dip in spite. Phil Kessel going for back-to-back, or PK Subban getting instant gratification. It’s fantastic. I want the Leafs to have a spite tour. They should sign a player or two with some spite on their shoulders, or trade for some spite. Quality talent, of course, but spiteful talent.
I just wanted to get that out of the way before Game 1. Here’s a mailbag.
— Mœ (@MoemanHD) May 28, 2017
Hard to say for sure. He’d probably be a better fit on that line that Zach Hyman is; he might not be quite as good at forechecking and displacement, but he’s come a long way in that regard. He’s also got better natural puck skills as well, which would help him bury a few more of those opportunities that Hyman couldn’t (this, of course, is of no disrespect to Zach, who I think has a place on this team and arguably on that line).
I don’t think a 20/20 season, a slight uptick from what Connor Brown put up on the Kadri line, would be out of the question. Maybe even more if he catches his groove on the skilled side of the game fast enough. I’m also not rushing to put him there, though; balance is good and if he makes it so the fourth line can trade blows with other teams’ middle six, that’s fantastic too.
— bobbi 🙂 (@mo_toews) May 28, 2017
You have to imagine it would still be Morgan Rielly and Nikita Zaitsev. The Rielly/Gardiner debate will last forever, but I think those who use it to pull down Rielly don’t give enough consideration to the fact he played much of the year coming off a rough leg injury, and that his pairing was given disproportionally tough assignments.
I don’t think swapping the two around fixes the pairing’s issue. Spreading the matchups might, though, if only to better rest the top two for when they need it.
Of course, if the opportunity to add a top end, offensively-leaning defencemen were to arise, you go for it.
@JeffVeillette What possible justification can be given if Martin is protected before Leipsic/Rychel other than "intangibles"? I still can't figure it out
— Screech (@cgaragan6) May 29, 2017
I’m not quite sure. I get what he brings to the team and I’m not going to sit here and tell you that he can’t contribute or that he should never play another game in Toronto. But it’s no secret that Matt Martin’s contract is far from favourable, and with that in mind, I can’t see Las Vegas giving him much of a look. His strongest asset right now is how he’s helped acclimate the team’s young players, and the Golden Knights will be almost entirely mid aged to veteran aged for the first few years. To them he’d simply be a forechecker who doesn’t score very much but can drop the gloves a bit, and those guys practically grow on trees in the annual UFA pools.
I’d expose him and fully expect him to be back next year.
— Mike (@GrimTruth23) May 29, 2017
Almost assuredly looking at a full season with the Marlies. He’s going to be a heck of a player (we’ll talk about him in more detail later in the week), but getting him adjusted to the pro game would be a good idea. Not to mention, the big club has an abudnance of talent in his position already.
@JeffVeillette Will Ben Smith have a greater use than simply expansion exposure?
— Sorsby (@savejustinsmoak) May 29, 2017
Probably so. I’m not a huge fan of the fact they extended him when it did because it makes their expansion plans pretty clear, but I think the Leafs have learned that he’s not much of an option for them up front and that they’ll need a better fourth line centre moving forward.
The good news is that AHL Ben Smith contributes much more, scoring at about a 30 goal a season pace in his career down there. He’ll probably be a very capable top-six centre for the Marlies next year, splitting the main centre responsibilities with Adam Brooks.