MAILBAG: Week of February 24th


The Olympics are done, the Marlies back-to-back weekend has come to and end, and I can attempt to sleep again. It’s a miracle! But first, let’s get to some questions.

If you’d like to submit a question, email me at, or tweet your question with the hashtag #TLNMailbag. Tagging @Jeffler would be a fun courtesy, but unneccessary, especially if you’re closing in on character limits. You can also leave your question in the comments of this post. 

What’s your opinion on the Reimer/Bernier situation? Who moves/stays, and why? –@5JaredAllen4

I think a lot more is being made out of it than there needs to be at this exact moment. The reality is, James Reimer is a restricted free agent at the end of the season, without good enough numbers this year to ask for a significant raise. The Leafs have lots of time, perhaps as much as 16 months to make a firm decision on these two. Sixteen months could make a good goalie into a bad one, or an elite one. It’s a fickle position.

The Leafs organization as a whole is in a weird spot with goaltending. They have two very good and young but not yet top-end NHL goaltenders, a near-veteran who is too good for the AHL, and two somewhat promising 20 year olds competing for ice time in their respective leagues. Having competition is a very good thing that drives everybody to work harder, but eventually players hit tipping points if they can’t break through.

I do think that it eventually ends with the departure of Reimer, though. Just the acquisition of Bernier to begin with showed that management had some skepticism in Reimer’s ability to start a full season, and the numbers this year speak for themselves. Is it the right decision? Honestly, I don’t know either way anymore. My personal preference has changed about a dozen times this season. I guess we just watch this one play out, and whoever goes, Leafs fans should hope for the best possible return to make the team better.

If Marlies had their best players in their team (all 2 way contracts) and played in the NHL, where would they finish? –@AmmarHussain96

Dead last. Straight up. The best possible Marlies roster involves taking the current lineup, making them healthy, and adding Carter Ashton, the only waiver-eligible player right now. Morgan Rielly is too young to play in the AHL.

This means your star players are Peter Holland, Spencer Abbott, TJ Brennan, and Drew MacIntyre. Their combined NHL salary would be just $16,353,611. If the team plays all 82 games against the Edmonton Oilers, they probably win however many shutouts the goalies have plus about ten earned games. Maybe the roster they put out during last year’s lockout puts out more of a challenge, but I really have to stress the difference between “team with a few potential NHLers in development” and “full NHL roster”.

What are your thoughts on Sam Carrick’s season with the Marlies this year? –@leafsfandan88

He’s been solid. He’s had a couple of games where he’s contributed offensively, is dependable in his own zone, and isn’t afraid to stick up for his teammates. At 22, he still has a couple of years to build his game, and I could see him turning into a quality bottom six centre.

What impact will Bolland and Smith’s return have on the Marlies lineup? –@Steve362B

The wheels are already in motion, with Peter Holland being sent down to make room for David Bolland. As I mentioned in the second question, I figure that the next step is to leave Trevor Smith on LTIR for a few more days (to free up a few more cap bucks) and send down Carter Ashton.

Think they’ll make any major moves before the deadline? –@DontBeSaad20

Unless they decide to sell (very unlikely) or they’re able to make a trade where they improve while shedding cap space (even more unlikely), I doubt it. When you start getting into nickels and times in the balance sheet, your roster is pretty locked into place.