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Monday Mailbag: ‘Gripping Title That People Will Want to Click On’ Edition

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. I think it’s safe to do one now that Jake Gardiner is injured and the decision was made not to trade him, so that cuts down on 2/3rds of the questions I was tired of answering. We get to keep it fresh this week with a bunch of exciting questions, so let’s go….

Well, here’s a three part answer to your question.

For me personally, I’m a Leafs fan living in Edmonton. Hating on the Oilers is second nature to me. And I know all my co-workers would have been as awful to me today if the Oilers had won as I’m being to them today. Beyond that, I was a Jets 1.0 fan in the 80s, and the good Oilers kept the decent-ish Jets from ever having a chance to go on a playoff run. Jets 1.0 fans are the original division playoff format haters.

As a site, TLN is part of the Nation Network based out of Edmonton. So the Leafs constantly beating up on their precious Oilers is a chance to stick it to corporate. DAMN THE MAN! and whatnot.

For Leafs and Oilers in general, well, we went through a decade of darkness together. The Leafs escaped with a well built team, young superstars, and a return to the playoffs. The Oilers, well, that Connor McDavid kid is nice, but hopefully they aren’t too attached because they are one Keith Gretzky promotion away from his trade demand.

In short, they hate us because they ain’t us. And Leafs fans are excited to be the ones doing the kicking when someone is down for a change.

This is a very fair question to ask a Leafs site, since half our posts are us questioning Mike Babcock, complaining that the backup goaltender sucks, or we’re viciously trying to trade Nikita Zaitsev for buyout candidates. Wondering if we like the Leafs is something I ask myself as well.

The answer of course is Yes, but to a creepy, obsessive amount where it seems we can’t enjoy the good in front of us including possible Vezina and Norris performances out of Andersen and Rielly. We could very well see other Leafs on the NHL 2nd All-Star team, and we could see Andreas Johnsson make the All-Rookie Team (is that still a thing? I can’t remember.) We’ve got two 30 goal scorers, 3 point per game scorers, with a defenseman not far off. And we’ve got the most exciting team any of us have seen in almost a generation. Yes we like the Leafs. We might write too critically of them at times, but we can’t very well have every post be “Feelin’ Fine about Auston.” I know because I asked.

I thought I’d have a better answer than I do on this because it’s a lot more tricky than I thought it would be. The fact that the cutoff for the compensation being just a 2nd round pick is at $4.05M makes that easy floor to say I’d definitely match to that. The fact that it’s $6.09M before it jumps to a 1st, 2nd, 3rd as compensation probably means that it will be unlikely that a team is offering that much and also the Leafs should definitely not match. That leaves $2M worth of space between $4-6M that compensates the Leafs with a 1st and 3rd round pick in 2020 if they don’t match Kapanen.

The interesting part is that if you were to trade Kapanen, the return you’d get would definitely be better than a 1st and 3rd. The issue is that if the offer is over $5M, it’s not difficult to fit Kapanen’s salary into the Leafs, and it might be hard to trade Kapanen if you match, even to the team that just offersheeted him. Dilemma. For me the magic number on Kapanen is probably still the $6M.

I’d rather match it and trade him, with having to retain some salary if necessary in the process. Or I’d look at other pieces I didn’t like as much as Kapanen as part of the equation.

The thing with offersheets is that the player has to agree to it, and also it’s hard to imagine that teams don’t know that it is coming and can mitigate a lot of risk before it even comes to signing an offer. The offer for Kapanen would have to be completely out of line with what the Leafs or any other organization would be willing to pay him for it to just be signed and not used as leverage in a negotiation with the Leafs instead.

So, I think somewhere in there I said I’d match at $6M and I think I’ll stick with that, but with the caveat that I’m trying to trade him at that price. At $4M-$4.75M, I’m probably just keeping him.

As someone who would very happily like to be saying I told you so about Martin Marincin and Justin Holl right now (although Holl is technically not a callup), I have to admit they are underwhelming. In fact, the Leafs blueline is an absolute disaster outside of Rielly (almost all the time) and Muzzin (a lot of the time.) I am not liking the blueline at all, but my interest in doing anything about it is no existent.

Ideally we’ll get some healthy Marlies in the future and we can see what Calle Rosen and Andreas Borgman can do, but again, they aren’t going to replace Gardiner and Dermott, and it’s just a matter of if they are better 5th or 6th guys.

At this point we know the Leafs are playing the Bruins and it doesn’t seem worth doing anything drastic just to get one extra home game in the series (famous last words.) I guess you’ll have to check back with me after the next injury.

We can all talk about future captain John Tavares or future captain Morgan Rielly or future captain Auston Matthews all we want, but when this happens there is only one right answer and that answer is Patrick Marleau.

I don’t care if you hate Marleau’s contract or if his production has slid, or if his no movement clause is a personal attack on you. Marleau has had a first ballot hall of fame career and he came to Toronto to make this happen and he’d certainly be the players choice for this.

Finally…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The most important question I’ll answer this week.

For starters I have to acknowledge both of the Charlie Murphy True Hollywood story episodes as amazing. As was the Wayne Brady sketch, Racial Draft, and Keepin’ It Real Gone Wrong. Rewatching it a couple of months ago reminded me of how great this show was and how unlikely we are to see a show like it on TV again anytime soon. Anyway, here are the two that standout to me as the best of the best.

My runner up sketch is Reparations:

but the greatest sketch of all-time is unquestionably The Mad Real World. Do not @ me on this, just enjoy.