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Monday Mailbag: Dubas Edition

What a time to be alive. Dubas is the GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the MSM are filling their diapers about it, it’s glorious.

Anyways, enough about my happiness, you guys have some questions.

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Curtis McElhinney is a career .909 goalie coming off a career year with a .934 save percentage, and a .924 the year before that. He has one year left on his two year, $850,000 contract. If there was a time to trade a player like him and get max value for him, that time would be now. Especially with both Sparks and Pickard looking like they’re going to be knocking on the door, I’d imagine that the Leafs will probably look to trade him to a sucker looking for a backup goalie. Worst case, he doesn’t get traded, and the Leafs send him to the minors next year.

As for the other two, Sparks is coming off of a career year in the AHL, with a .936 save percentage, and while Pickard only had a .918 save percentage in the AHL, he’s had solid NHL experience thus far. I’d imagine that both goalies will probably get their fair shot in the preseason to win the backup role, and the other probably gets traded to a team looking for a young goalie. My bet would be Sparks gets the job, but that also would’ve been my bet last year too.

Yeah, he’s currently living in his mom’s basement, ironically.

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An apple, because it’s always the fruit that first comes to mind and is talked about a lot, despite the fact that it’s still quite average and there are better fruits.

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If the Leafs didn’t make any trades or signings, and brought back all their RFAs, this is what I’d want their roster to look like next year on opening day.

Forwards

Hyman – Matthews – Kapanen

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Marleau – Kadri – Marner

Johnsson – Nylander – Brown

Grundstrom – (Trevor) Moore – Leivo

Kapanen has definitely earned his chance to get some big minutes, and I think what better way to maximize his production than by playing him with Matthews. Besides, he’d be the ideal replacement for Nylander when Nylander moves to centre. Second line remains the same, because why change it, and then put Nylander at centre in a sheltered role to start, and that’s also a good way to start grooming Johnsson. The fourth line is just my ideal players from the press box and the Marlies/Europe who could make it, but you could put any one there.

Defense

Gardiner – Rielly

Dermott – Zaitsev

Hainsey – Carrick/Liljegren

The Leafs big problem against Boston was how heavily one sided their defense core’s skill was. The left side was stacked, and the right side was horrible. So, to fix that a bit, I put Rielly on the right side with Gardiner to have an actually decent top pair for the first time in forever (don’t give me the “Babs likes his left shots on the left side” argument, he ended that when he played Hainsey there all season). This also gives Dermott a top 4 role, which he more than deserves, and I kept Zaitsev there because I think he deserves at least one more shot there (unless you can trade his contract, then trade it). That gives Hainsey a depth role to thrive in, and then ideally Carrick or Liljegren slot beside him (and NOT Roman Polak).

Goalies

Andersen – Sparks

I won’t go too much into this since I did in an earlier question, but hopefully this year Babcock will play Andersen a bit less, and give Sparks a good amount of games.

JVR and Komarov I’d be hard pressed to find a team to trade for their rights, because wingers are a dime a dozen (not saying JVR is, just that there are a lot of scoring wingers in free agency this year right now).

As for Bozak, I doubt he’d be traded for his rights either, but I could see a team like Vancouver getting suckered into it, especially since they’ve already reportedly expressed interest in him.

Laugh at the people that think that’s the problem with this team, get more small, skilled wingers and defensemen, and out score their problems.

But seriously, their size wasn’t the problem against the Bruins, since Tampa didn’t seem to have a problem with it. The Bruins just made the Leafs think they needed to be physical to win, even though they didn’t.

Well, considering my new place doesn’t have wifi or cable, I currently am dealing with this existential dread (I haven’t watched a game since Winnipeg/Nashville Game 6).

But, normally I take the summer off from hockey, aside from the odd project and article, to focus on other things. My summer job keeps me busy, and then I’ll take the free time to focus on other hobbies, work on my music, play video games that I haven’t gotten a chance to yet, watch movies and TV shows that I haven’t yet, and watch the odd baseball game here and there.

Also, now that I don’t have hockey as an excuse to avoid social interaction, I actually hang out with friends too.

I doubt that current Leafs change their numbers, as they’ve all kind of established them at this point (except maybe Johnsson and Dermott), but I’d imagine this paves the way for players like Liljegren (#78) to play with those numbers from this point.

And @Totally_Offside already said this, but yes, I’d like to see a player use the number 69.

I feel like the captaincy will either go to Matthews or Rielly, although I’m not sure which one will get it at this point, while the other will get an alternate captaincy. My bet for the other alternate captaincy is that it will probably go to Marleau.