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Monday Mailbag: Roster Finalization Edition

It’s been a busy day. You can read about the busiest parts here. Now I’m sure that not everyone fully agrees with the decisions that were made, but it’s important to remember that none of these positions are overly important. None of these players are immune from being replaced at a later date. And finally the minor disagreements we have over these players can be fun when not taken too seriously.

[I’m being told that as a hockey blog we’re supposed to dump gas on the fire]

WHAT THE HELL WAS ALL THAT? ALL THE WAIVED GUYS WILL BE STARS AND ALL THE RETAINED GUYS ARE BUMS!

Anyway, for reals, I would have waived Sparks instead of Pickard, and kept Trevor Moore instead of Freddie Gauthier, but when I die on a hill, I want it to be for something more important, like complaining about Justin Holl’s icetime in a couple of weeks.

Anyways, your questions…

A lot less Goat. Maybe that’s not the case as he’s had an uncanny ability to stick around, but I think if it comes down to forwards the battle is on between Leivo, Lindholm, and Gauthier for who gets bounced out the roster, and Gauthier has to be the leader there.

The Leafs are also carrying a couple of spare defensemen in Holl and Marincin, and it’s entirely possible that one of them could be sent down instead, although it’s worth looking at who is still waivers exempt, and for the time being that is Dermott, Kapanen, Lindholm, and Ozhiganov. If the Leafs are less than thrilled with any of these players, they would be the easy choice. Of course Matthews is also waivers exempt, but I made the bold decision to not include him on that list.

We’ve probably heard about the same amount as everyone else. The team is married to the Nik Ehlers comparable and the Nylander camp has dug its heels in on Chiarelli’s handwork, and is using Draisaitl as their preferred comp.

The interesting thing is that Nylander’s agent has been through this recently with Johnny Gaudreau’s contract, and ultimately that might be a fair place for Nylander to land, fully knowing that he hasn’t had a Johnny Gaudreau type career just yet, but inflation is a real thing.

There’s also the loophole of how the further the Leafs and Nylander wait into the season, the more manageable the long term cap hit becomes. This is probably the incentive for the Leafs to wait and stick to their guns up until December 1st, where Nylander is in the much more real situation of missing pay cheques soon.

I expect we’ll see Nylander back with the Leafs at some point in October, but I have to admit I’m kind of curious to see how the Leafs do without him. Paying a small fortune for wingers has never held much appeal for me, and if the Leafs can get by with one premier winger and not be hurt by it, I’d consider that a way to approach the Marner deal with even stronger footing.

And since you’ve asked about Marner, all I’ve heard is that talks have started, but I’d have to imagine they are in the difficult position of wanting to see a Marner comparable get paid, but also wanting to make sure there’s enough money left over for Mitch.

Good News, Martin Marincin is a Leaf! He will be whipped ruthlessly.

That being said, there are numerous factors of Leafs fandom who all have differing opinions. For convenience sake we’ll lump them into two camps and assign the whipping boys for each group.

Leafs Facebook:

The whipping boy here is and always will be Jake Gardiner, but don’t rule out Martin Marincin, William Nylander, and Kyle Dubas factoring into this group as well.

Leafs Twitter:

Well, Freddie Gauthier has to be the clubhouse favourite out of camp, but don’t rule out Igor Ozhiganov, Ron Hainsey, Nikita Zaitsev, and for reasons I’ll never fully appreciate, Patrick Marleau. The Patrick Marleau haters are the worst. Crap! I wouldn’t doubt that Zach Hyman and Connor Brown could get some attention here.

Me personally, I will be taking my Roman Polak aggression and shifting it towards Garret Sparks, who I do not like. I feel that targeting my anger towards the backup will give me a lot of nights off where I get to really enjoy the team. Of course I say that now, but I’ll turn on Zaitsev real quick.

There’s a few reasons:

#1. He’s not that good.
#2. Mike Babcock doesn’t seem to like him and had no real intention to play him.
#3. He was going to be put on waivers and likely claimed anyway
#4. 7th round, 6th round, 5th round, basically picks in any of these rounds are hail mary picks anyway. The Leafs traded a defenseman they’d never use for a lottery ticket that stands an incredibly small chance of turning into the next Andreas Johnsson.
#5. Trades are fun and brighten our days

I get that people like Carrick, and there are some sheltered numbers from a couple of years ago that make him seem more promising than he’s ever been, but if Carrick being gone means we’ve got a chance to usher in the Holl era, I’m all for it.

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  • killerkash

    I’m not particularly thrilled with Sparks style but he’s been good enough to beat out Pickard on the Marlies so I can live with the Leafs decision. But, I really hope Mac doesn’t get plucked off the wire. He’s a seasoned pro and has fulfilled his role very well with the Leafs.
    The Goat is good centre depth insurance as we don’t know how well Lindholm is going to adapt just yet. The rest of the decisions I’m good with as well. I like the fact they kept Holl but I could live without Marincin but both need more improvement to be useful in the bigs.