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Highs and Lows for 2019: The Bottom Six Wingers

Last summer, I did a series that went over all of the Leafs who were likely to play in the NHL that season and explored the floors and ceilings of their upcoming season. And, in the content starved month of August, I’ve decided to bring it back again.

Much like last time, I’ll be looking at the best and worst-case scenarios for all of the Leafs, and in the best-case scenarios, assuming that they won’t be traded and they will be healthy. Obviously, that won’t happen, but it’s easier to assume in this case.

One thing I will be adding is that I will also look at last year’s evaluations and see if they were closer to their floor or ceiling, to give a better idea as to what to expect.

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Today, we’ll be looking at the remaining wingers in the lineup that weren’t covered in the top six portion of this series, or at least the ones that will likely be mainstays in the lineup.

Trevor Moore

What happened last year? Moore shot up the depth chart so quickly, I didn’t even cover him last year!

Ceiling: Last year saw Moore have an Andreas Johnsson-like season, where he cracked the roster a little bit, and did so well that he was a mainstay in the roster come playoff time.

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While I don’t think he has the ceiling of Johnsson, I think with a bigger role in the top nine (maybe even top six with Hyman out for a month or so), he might be able to put up a bit more production. His eight points in 25 games becomes 26 at a full 82 game pace, so it wouldn’t be too outlandish to say that he could put up 30-35 points in a top nine role this year.

Floor: Of course, we only have 25 games of regular season data and another seven from the playoffs, so who’s to say that Trevor Moore can do that at the NHL level over a full season. Maybe we learn that he really isn’t much more than a slightly productive fourth liner.

I highly doubt this happens, but Moore’s floor could simply be put at him not being a mainstay on the roster and being a scratch on and off throughout the year.

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Apr 21, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs center Nic Petan (19) warms up before playing against the Boston Bruins in game six of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Nic Petan

What happened last year? N/A

Ceiling: Petan’s biggest struggle with the Leafs since the deadline was consistently staying in the lineup, as their depth on the wing saw Petan be a scratch more often that not.

With Marleau, Brown, and Ennis all gone, that leaves Petan with an opportunity to crack the lineup and get a consistent role this year, especially early on when Hyman and maybe Marner are out of the lineup.

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With that in mind, I’ll set Petan’s ceiling as getting a bottom six role, and putting up a solid 20-30 points in the process, while seeing minimal time out of the lineup.

Floor: Which then sets up a very easy floor to establish for Petan, and that’s one where he isn’t able to secure a roster spot early on, and then finds himself out of the lineup more often than not.

It’s unlikely he would get traded considering he just got a two year extension, and Dubas clearly saw something in acquiring him that he would like to see play out before making a further decision.

So, I’ll set Petan’s floor as maybe seeing 30 games and only getting 10 points out of it.

Ilya Mikheyev

What happened last year? N/A

Ceiling: The Leafs have made a habit of bringing in European players to help round out the depth of their roster over the last few years (see Zaitsev, Aaltonen, Rosen, Borgman, Ozhiganov, and Lindholm) and as of right now, the best that’s come out of that is Zaitsev, and even saying that, none are currently on the roster.

Mikheyev had a great year in the KHL, putting up 23 goals and 45 points in 62 games, and an additional 11 in 13 playoff games. While being good in the KHL as shown that you can be hit or miss in the NHL, there’s that chance that he could be a hit like Radulov or Dadonov.

With that in mind, I’ll set Mikheyev’s ceiling at a consistent top six/nine role, and putting up 40 points with the team.

Floor: While I could easily set his floor as a Shipachyov, I get the feeling that Babcock has taken a liking for him, even saying he might start the season with Matthews. So, I doubt that he’s going to be kicked off the roster like Shipachyov.

But, what I will set his floor as is as a player who clearly can’t handle the NHL game, but Babcock and his stubborn self refusing to admit it, and Mikheyev just doesn’t work in the roster.

I don’t want this to happen, but I think it’s just as likely a possibility as him becoming a Radulov or Dadonov.


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