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TLN Monday Mailbag: June 19th

We got a lot of questions this week, but I had to leave a few exposed for TheGoldenKnightsNation’s mailbag.

I’d probably lean towards happy here. He’s the one with the biggest shot of playing regular minutes out of the three kid forwards that everyone had their debates about, and while he might not be in the starting 12 to start the year, I’d be shocked if the Leafs had the same injury avoidance luck next year. He’ll get more than thirteen games in if he makes the Leafs; I don’t think Babcock hates him or anything, he just needs to find him a spot.

I hope they commit to one approach instead of hitting a middle ground. This team has potential to be legitimately good out of the gate, or they could be dreadful but quickly amass one of the best prospect pools in hockey.

That said, It think they’ll end up middle to tank. A decent haul of draft picks to avoid touching most of the players, but they’ll end up with one or two good defencemen (hi Sami Vatanen) who have “down” years while playing their toughest minutes of their career.

It’s definitely possible. The question will probably be “Will he be successful with the Leafs”, given their depth chart, but he’s put up fantastic junior numbers heading into the start of his pro career. We’ll likely have a more definite picture of where he stands by the time training camp is done, but it’s hard to bet on the guy who scores everywhere he goes.

It’s complicated. He wasn’t super great on the right side when he was playing with Matt Hunwick, but was Stellar with Jake Gardiner. He’s been awful on the left with players like Roman Polak, but great with Connor Carrick. Pretty good on either side with Martin Marincin or Nikita Zaitsev. So he’s got a great, average, bad on both sides.

I’d say a lot of that has to do with zone placement and matchups, and it’s hard to get an exact read. Big picture, most defencemen perform better on their dominant side, so if the question here is a roundabout way to get to “should the Leafs acquire a leftie instead”, I don’t know.

I’m going to stick with keep, followed by trade up. The market for picks in this draft is surprisingly low, given that the “weak” part of it goes away after the first few selections. The Leafs probably won’t trade it for a player unless they have plans to sell a player for other picks, and they likely won’t trade now unless someone they love is very obviously going to drop well beyond 17.