Mailbag: The Encore


I asked people for questions that weren’t the usual ones. Yesterday, I got a lot of them. So many that we had a second mailbag today! This works out very well, actually; we’re going to be turning the Mailbag into a Tuesday thing from this point forward, so consider this a passing of the torch.

@cgaragan6 asked: Do you think that it would be wise to keep Kessel and hope he bounces back and ups his value again?

Definitely. This is probably the lowest his value has been since he joined the team in 2009, and at the end of the day, we’re talking about an elite forward who will still be among the best right wingers in the entire league when this team is ready to compete again. While cashing in is nice, I’d prefer to hold on to him all the way through rather than sell low.

@JCamps30 asked: What happened to Tyler Biggs?

Depends on what you mean. What happened that took him out for the season? He suffered an Achilles injury in the spring that required year-ending surgery, and he’ll be back to play in the last year of his entry-level deal next year. What happened to him as a player? Well I don’t know if anything happened. The team thought they were getting something they weren’t. Biggs is a bottom six forward and should be treated as such for the rest of his deal, at which point the team can make a decision on whether to continue the development process. With Frederik Gauthier being younger and (presumably) better, though, that could lead to a tough decision. Let’s have this talk again in twelve months, though.

@astewart91 asked: Was the late-sesaon version of the Marlies more or less exciting to watch than the Calder Cup final team?

This is another “depends” comment. The team was more exciting to watch at even strength, just because they were exceptionally good skaters compared to the rest of the league. At the same time, there were arguably more big names on the 2011/12 team, they had a more lively playoff crowd, and they were better on special teams.

For the sake of the team’s future, though? This team made you more confident than the latter. It’s much more rookie driven.

@sagajo asked: I was curious of Dubas comment that previous Leafs prospecst have felt that they need to stay in TOR in the off season to have a chance. Do you think this is accurate, could this be a reason they have traded a lot of their euro prospects (that go home over summer)?

I think this may hold some weight. Not that I think the Leafs were more biased about it than any other team, but like in the case of any job, you feel that you’ll get the best acknowledgement for your efforts when your bosses are able to see it. Many teams have probably made these types of decisions based off of that cognitive bias, just like business have done it.

What Dubas is doing here is stating that he cares more about the result rather than having to see the process himself. This isn’t something that holds true for everything in player development, but if it’s just a matter of fitness, it’s not vital.

@ScottMaxwellPTB asked: Can jet fuel melt steel beams?

Dion open-ice checked the towers. MLSE made money off of Game 7.

  • silentbob

    Trading Kessel needs to be one of the top priorities for Shanahan and co. this year.

    First he MIGHT still be playing at a high level when the Leafs are ready to compete again, but he also might not. This rebuild may take longer then many of us are assuming right now. If the 4th pick this year is a bust, if some/all prospects like Nylander, Brown, Percy etc.. end up as busts, less then expected or years away, if they get unlucky and end up with a mix of young talent like the Oilers (if, if, if, if) etc… it could easily take a while.

    You’re also assuming Kessel will bounce back, which there is no guarantee of. Its just as likely that this year was a regression for Kessel and that he’ll be a 25 goal, 60 point player for the next 5 years as it is that he’ll bounce back and have a 35 goal, 80 point season next year. If the former happens not moving him now would mean passing up the best return you’d get for him as his value will probably drop even more.

    Second, even if this year was just an off year for Kessel and the Leafs are ready/able to compete in the next 3-5 years (Kessel prime age window), is it worth holding onto him for that? Aren’t we still talking about seeing the majority of Kessel’s best remaining years wasted during a rebuild? Does it really benefit a group of young players to play with Kessel at the top of his game for 1 or 2 years, and then be saddled with an older, under performing, over paid player? It keeps being said that he isn’t a leader, does things “differently”, “just shows up and scores” etc… which is fine when you’re part of a winning team but does that make someone the kind of veteran you want to keep around a bunch of younger players?

    I see some risk with very little reward in holding onto Kessel beyond this off-season.