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Monday Mailbag: Jan 29, 2018

Hey look there’s no hockey on tonight. That really sucks. It could always be worse, there could be another All-Star game or skills competition tonight. It seems bizarre that there aren’t any NHL teams willing to take advantage of this slow news cycle to complete a trade and allow there new players to get settled into a hotel in their new city over the All-Star break. It seems even odder that with all the GMs in one place that not one deal could be completed and all we’ve got out of this weekend is that Jaromir Jagr is gone.

Anyway, here I am to fill your day with hockey content because I care about you more than the NHL does.

Thank you Bill for lobbing a softball over the plate for me to start off the mailbag. Yes, the Leafs will absolutely make a deal and I confess to being terrified about what it will be. I don’t think we’re going to see any fourth dimensional chess where van Riemsdyk gets moved out for a ransom and those pieces are then used to get the 1D of our dreams. That would be fun. What would terrifying me is the likely deal where the Leafs give up their first round pick for Erik Gudbranson or player of similar ilk. If this doesn’t happen we’ll all be better off, even if it does make for a boring deadline.

No matter what we can certainly expect some reshuffling of the deckchairs on the Marlies, and potentially we’ll see a couple of depth players added for the playoff push. I’m sure we’ll see the 2018 version of Ryan O’Byrne come onboard soon.

What a wonderful world filled with hope that you live in. I want to believe in this, but we’re either going to see Dermott back to the Marlies because it’s easy or we’ll see Connor Carrick pay the price for Zaitsev coming back. Roman Polak is comfort food for Babcock and I can’t imagine them taking him away from Babcock when Polak’s style fits the bill of “playoff hockey”. I’d hope that Zaitsev coming back would make Zaitsev a trade chip, but that’s not going to happen either. My money is on Carrick in the press box or traded. Once Zaitsev and Rielly are both back, it should be interesting to see what the D pairings look like.

My preference:

Rielly-Hainsey
Gardiner-Dermott
Borgman-Carrick

What I think will happen:
Rielly-Hainsey
Gardiner-Zaitsev
Dermott-Polak
(Borgman rotating with Dermott)

This is a topic near and dear to my heart since a burrito for lunch sounds like a great idea. To answer this properly, we must ask ourselves what is health? Is it limited to physical health? Are we considering mental health? The health of your soul? Will consuming burritos make you a better person and help make the world a better place with the only potential downside being heart disease or diabetes in the distant future? I’d say there is no limit to the joys that a burrito can bring and consuming as many burritos as possible in a work week is something to strive for and not something to be concerned about. So shine on you crazy diamond and go get your chorizo on.

What a wonderful question. The thing about Sparks is that he’s got a very good blueline in front of him. Most of his blueline could get a cup of coffee in the NHL and we wouldn’t bat an eye about it. Sparks has also been less than great in the NHL when he had an extended look and I’m safely in the Pickard is better camp, so I’m all for exploring any value that Sparks may have at the trade deadline.

The downside to selling a goaltender is that there’s not going to be much return on him. At best the Leafs are getting a mid-round pick and that’s not too exciting. There’s also the fact that Sparks is under contract for next season and Pickard isn’t. If McElhinney hadn’t held on to the backup role this season and either Sparks or Pickard saw serious time in the NHL we could make a better decision about which way to go, but since Sparks is signed and Pickard is arbitration eligible the reality is that Sparks will be here next year and Pickard won’t be. If someone wants a goaltender the Leafs are better off dealing Pickard unless someone makes a solid offer on Sparks or wants him included in a bigger trade, but I wouldn’t expect that to happen at all.

The really unexciting options are who they want to move. We’re talking Fehr, Marincin, Rychel, Pickard, Soshnikov, and maybe Leivo. The Leafs likely want to shuffle some new players into the system, but probably aren’t too keen on wanting to give up what they have at the top of their lineup. We’ve heard the term “in house rental” regarding Bozak, Komarov, and van Riemsdyk and it seems they’ll be treated as such, which is disappointing when it comes to Bozak and Komarov who aren’t particularly good. If the Leafs have to move someone to bring in a top tier player, that’s a different story, and I’d say the players to watch would be Connor Brown and Mitch Marner.

The Leafs will give Leivo some playing time in the last half of the 2019-20 season and that will lead to the Seattle Cranes taking him in the expansion draft.



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  • getrdone

    After not watching any of the NHL All Stars in action, I just would like to know the feelings of followers here about getting the best at the Alstars skills competition, like who are the best shooters and bring them in for hardest shot, who are the fastest skaters in the NHL and see who really is the fastest. Not just a representative from each team and skill test among them.

  • Tommy Cat

    I read articles on here sometimes for a laugh. Its amazing that some people can put so much time and energy into something they obviously don’t understand. Leo Komarov is a good player. I know you people want hitting and fighting removed from the game (for some reason, maybe because you don’t actually watch) but at this time hitting is a part of the game. It wears an opponent down, it forces them to be more aware and play heads up instead of trying to dangle, and nothing puts energy into teammates legs more than the big hit. And it actually separates a player from the puck! Really!!!

    Players like Leo are way more valuable in the playoffs than regular season. Think about it …. you play the same team for 4 or more games …. maybe 7 … And please no new inherently flawed stats to try and prove your point. WATCH THE DAMN GAME!!!