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TLN Monday Mailbag – July 17th

Another Monday, another mailbag. I suppose that’s about all we have guaranteed to talk about this summer, unless the Marlies plan on continue to sign players until the AHL questions why they have a 146-man roster going into training camp. Here’s what was on your minds this week:

I think the Leafs are done as far as free agent options go. Toronto covered all of its supposed needs other than a mobile, slam-dunk top four defenceman, and I don’t think there are any of those left. Sure, there are good names on the market in many positions, but most of them are in spots where they’d be pushing out a good player from the lineup, diminishing potential returns just a little bit.

They’re probably going to type up a document, have him and his agent head down to 50 Bay Street, and have him scribble on it. There were initial concerns about whether the Leafs had the technical ability to sign their last remaining RFA due to the offseason salary cap, but now that we know that Lou Lamoriello and Brandon Pridham can bend the very fabric of space in time (or, more realistically, didn’t follow an unwritten rule) and that offseason LTIR exists, Toronto can use its 50th SPC on Brown should they feel the need.

If I had to guess, they’re just waiting in case a trade requires them to take on one more contract and they find themselves unable to make a contract-clearing move before then.

I think one of those “quantity for quality” type trades is inevitable; some suggested names to head out can be found here. Being at 50 contracts isn’t a situation the team wants to find itself in by any means, as it has huge limits on flexibility in the trade market.

Do I see Colorado being that exact fit? That’s hard to say. If they plan on trying to get better, then maybe they’ll take on roster talent. If this is another tank year, though? It would have to be prospects they can stuff in San Antonio heading to them.

I think the Carolina Hurricanes are the easy call for “biggest winner”. As I described them on Twitter this spring, the team was already “sneaky decent”, with possibly the least marketed elite defensive corps in hockey. But this summer, they rounded themselves out quite nicely. Marcus Kruger is a good bottom six forward, Justin Williams was a great veteran signing to bring back after a long breakup, the Jaccob Slavin extension is probably going to look extremely good in short order, and most importantly, Scott Darling should be a huge upgrade for them in goal.

As far as losers go, there are a few options. The Panthers seem to have lost their sense of direction. I can’t believe the Habs went all out on having a mobile/puck moving defensive core. But the Capitals probably get hurt the most; even if you don’t count Kevin Shattenkirk’s rental as a lost player, Justin Williams and Marcus Johansson are still significant losses, and giving TJ Oshie eight years after an inflated shooting percentage season was kinda bonkers.

I don’t like saying anything is completely impossible because this league is pretty bonkers, but…

  • Doughty: 0.1%. His cost would be astronomical and I don’t think the Kings are ready to part ways yet.
  • Franson: 0.1%. Dunno if he fits into management’s mantra of mobility right now, but if they can’t find another defenceman, I guess it *could* happen.
  • Auston’s C: 50%. He’s almost definitely the guy long term. Might be a reason or two to wait.
  • The Donald: I mean, David Clarkson got traded twice without salary retention.

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