Monday Mailbag: Pre-Draft Offseason Edition

The Caps have won the Cup, the Marlies are up 3-2 in the AHL, and we still have a couple weeks before the draft comes in and all of that offseason transaction hype begins. So, rumours are still floating around, so it’s time to dig into some offseason questions.

A lot of it probably has to do with the media looking at the team’s need for defense, and because they have to support their media friends in Edmonton, assuming that every defenseman needs to be traded for a Taylor Hall. The Leafs have three of those: Auston Matthews, who you don’t trade unless Babcock doesn’t like him; Mitch Marner, who’s Canadian and #clutch because he performed down the stretch; and William Nylander, who’s Swedish, didn’t put up as many points as Marner, and DOESN’T TRY HARD!

Much like Ian says here, I agree that Marner and Nylander are pretty similar players. While Marner put up eight more points than Nylander this year, Nylander actually had seven more even strength points than Marner. With two of the five players on Marner’s powerplay unit (most likely) leaving, it’d be interesting to see if Marner can repeat that kind of production on the power play.

Marner was phenomenal down the stretch this season and in the playoffs, but in 2016-17, Nylander did the same. Now, Marner is a whole year younger than Nylander, so he definitely has more upside in that regard.

Basically, it seems like people give Nylander the short end of the stick because he’s the European of the big three, and the old school media likes their Canadian players, especially on Canadian teams. However, I think Dubas knows better than to trade either of them, so in the end, it probably doesn’t even matter.

Continuing from the last question, I have a hot take: IF the Leafs had to trade one of Marner or Nylander, I’d trade Marner. Marner’s perceived value is much higher than Nylander’s, despite them being pretty similar players, and I think Nylander has a bit more value with the potential to be a center down the road.

Of course, that’s if I was the GM, and I had a gun to my head and they told me they’d shoot me if I didn’t trade one of them. It’d be a terrible idea to trade either of them, even if it’s to improve our defense, and I’d imagine neither of them are at risk of getting traded, because I don’t think management is that stupid.

Well, the Leafs are currently looking at five holes in their roster going into next season, with JVR, Bozak, Komarov, Plekanec, and Polak leaving. I have a feeling the Leafs are going to add one center this offseason through trade or free agency, so that leaves four holes.

In terms of forwards, Andreas Johnsson is a shoe-in, but that doesn’t really count because he’s already made the team anyways, and he also acts as Leo Komarov’s replacement. I could see two of Trevor Moore, Carl Grundstrom, and Miro Aaltonen also join the team to fill the other spots, but I could also see Josh Leivo or Par Lindholm take those spots too.

On defense, if the Leafs don’t address the hole externally, I could see Justin Holl, or even Timothy Liljegren coming up and filling in that spot. Depending on what happens to their defense, and if more holes are created, we could also see Rosen, Marincin, or Borgman fill in on the bottom pair as well. Oh, also Travis Dermott.

Even though there are no holes in goaltending, the performance of both Sparks and Pickard in the minors could mean that we might see McElhinney surpassed for the backup spot, so either of those players could potentially join the Leafs as well.

There are certainly a lot of options on the Marlies that could join the Leafs, part of the reason why the Marlies are doing so well this season.

This is a mailbag Chris, not a “give me your best joke” bag.

Which, if that’s it, that’s pretty sad.

Yeah, he most likely isn’t. The fact that we’ve only been hearing this from Dreger should tell the whole story. Dregs hasn’t reported anything about the Leafs correctly since his cousin Dave Nonis was fired. Need we forget that he reported that the Leafs would be extending Lou Lamoriello, only for them to announce he would be promoted to senior advisor?

Maybe Marner will ask for $10 million, but I’m going to wait until I hear it from an insider that is #actuallygood at his job until I believe it.

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  • Capt.Jay

    The funny thing is… Nylander is Canadian. Born and raised. He’s more Canadian than Auston. His dad who is pure bread Swedish and never liked the North American way took the family back to Sweden the moment his NHL career was done. nylander spent his his teenage years there. We have to quit with the European tag with him.

    • Capt.Jay

      He moved to Sweden at 14 and came back here half way through his draft +1 season meaning he was 18 when he played for the Marlies. He also has 6 names so that must carry some weight somewhere

  • Hugh Allan

    Trading any one of Matthews, Marner, Nylander or Reilly would be criminal!
    That said, would you be willing to trade Nylander straight up for either Dougie Hamilton or Matt Dumba to fill the glaring hole on the 1st pairing right hand side?
    This is a question for all you fans and bloggers not a suggestion.