With the Leafs’ season done, I imagine that mailbag questions are going to be a bit weirder. Mostly, “what do you think about this draft prospect”, “who should the Leafs sign”, and “why does Tim Leiweke appear to be flying a giant blimp over South East Etobicoke”. I’m not good at following amateur prospects, I don’t like playing crystal ball, and I’m voting for whichever mayoral candidate declares war on Mimico.
So during the offseason, instead of doing a mailbag every Monday, I’ll do one every time I get five questions that I want to answer. So really, it’s in your hands.
Hey Brother, avid follower @BforBenny here. In your honest opinion, what team do you believe James Reimer ends up next year? Much appreciation!
I’m pretty sure he’s out of Toronto for next season. Whether it’s the right decision or not is a different and very complicated topic altogether, but the gossip is that he’s going to be respectfully requesting a trade shortly. I see two significant options here, and they’re the Winnipeg Jets and the New York Islanders.
Winnipeg has a fascination with the “local boy”, much like all Canadian markets do. That’s why Eric Fehr was brought in and given more opportunity than he deserved. If the Jets are gutsy (and smart) enough to get rid of Ondrej Pavelec this offseason, even if it takes a buyout, Reimer is a good enough upgrade if matched with a replacement level backup.
As for the Islanders, Evgeni Nabokov is getting to that age where you can’t possibly commit to him. Beyond that, there’s a bunch of okay goalies but nothing that sticks out. Reimer is still young enough to come up with the Islanders core, and may fast track their success.
Do you think Eric Knodel has a future playing with the leafs anytime soon? Or will he stick around with the marlies for a while?
It’s really too early to tell where his NHL potential is. With that said, even if there is some, I can’t see him joining the team for at least another season. There are several young defencmen on the Marlies who have shown NHL upside, and they’re better groomed to the organization’s philosophies, training regiments, and systems. A full year in the AHL next year shouldn’t be surprising.
Why do the Leafs keep breaking my heart year after year?
Because because you need to feel something at the end of the year, don’t you? Otherwise, it’s not worth the emotional investment.
How come more NHL teams don’t have at least 1 game a year with their farm team playing in their arena? Ex: more Marlies at ACC games, Hamilton in Montreal
Some markets have less interest than others, and wouldn’t be able to fill up their NHL rinks. The Marlies proved that you can’t do them too often this year, dropping from a nearly full ACC on Boxing Day to an almost full lower bowl on Family Day. Mind you, they’re also easy to find regularly.
There’s also the fact that these buildings are frequently booked. To make a one off like this work, it has to be at a time where the AHL teams are able to make a detour from their regular itineraries (most games, Abbotsford and St. Johns being the most regular exceptions, involve bus travel), and a concert or other sporting event that will generate more revenue isn’t in its place.
do you think MacWilliam can be an NHL level defenseman?
I can see it. They’re grooming him to be an upgrade on Korbinian Holzer, getting a hold of his development at an earlier age and even playing him with Korbi for almost all of the season. He’s got a lot of the physical tools that teams love to have in their bottom pairing, and will likely get a shot in the near future. Whether he’s quick to stick is another story, though.