You may have noticed that I’ve been posting a lot less over the past little bit. It’ll probably be like that for another month or so; I’ve been working non-stop, and head out on the Five Hole For Food tour in a week. (We’ll talk more about that in a couple of days!). You’ll still see a bit of content from me, but for now, I think the other, more intelligent writers on the staff (everybody other than Bobby) have it under control.
With that said, the mailbag is still a thing! Catherine took it over for the past two weeks, but I’m back behind the wheel today to answer some of your questions.
@cgaragan6 asked: Kessel and Phaneuf aside, who do you think is the first player that the Leafs trade? Where do they head, and what do they get back?
You just know it’s going to be somebody that really throws us all off. They’re going to end up trading Richard Panik to like, the Las Vegas expansion team for a 12th rounder and we’re going to scream about things and cry and it’s going to be great.
If I were to make an educated guess, it’ll be Roman Polak. His contract is much more palatable now that it has a year remaining and the Lefas can prey on a team that is undecided about their draft pick on day two.
@zackhjiazi asked: Where would the Leafs be right now had they not done the Phil Kessel trade?
They would pick Tyler Seguin first overall. They’d put all the pressure on him to turn the team around as an eighteen year old. From there, he’ll take the same party issues he had in Boston and multiply them by fifty in his hometown. By 2015, instead of the current superstar, that he is, he’ll be in the AHL, considered the worst bust since Alexandre Daigle.
The following year, they take Gabriel Landeskog first overall, in an effort to find the Wendel Clark to go with Seguin’s (ultimately unsuccessful) Doug Gilmour. Landeskog tries to live up to the hype in his first rookie camp, but suffers a career ending concussion after Colton Orr beats him into a bloody pulp.
Jared Knight scores 96 goals in the 2014 season, after finally being reunited with Nazem Kadri. Unfortunately, it’s with the Habs, after the Leafs traded them both for a streaky Rene Bourque.
@RichardHead93 asked: Who is the first goaltender getting drafted this year, and who takes him?
Ilya Samsonov appears to be the highest ranked goaltender at the moment. He’s projected to go in the mid-late first round, driven by his 0.918 save percentage with Magnitogorsk’s MHL team. He also put up an astonishing 0.945 in seven starts for the Russian U18 team, and has made many curious with his 6’3 build.
For all we know, the Leafs could take him at 24 if he’s still available. The Leafs could definitely use yet another goalie in the system who is a few years younger than the other prospects.
@ahurst11 asked: Are there any KHLers similar to (Nikita) Zaitsiev that the Leafs might be looking at?
You have to figure that they’re looking at all possible options. Nobody really sticks out right now; Nikita Soshnikov was an interesting pickup by the Leafs and league goal leader Steve Moses was picked up by the Predators. Unless they feel like making my Alexander Radulov April Fools Day joke into a reality, I’m going to defer to their European Scouts as better versed in this than me.
@HunterCrowther asked: Who are some players who could have big impacts on the Toronto Marlies next season?
I’m interested to see what happens down the middle, now that Greg McKegg has been traded and Sam Carrick looks likely to join the Leafs full-time. The Rupert twins will likely take a bigger role on the team, and it’ll be interesting to see what the likes of Brendan Leipsic, William Nylander, and Byron Froese do now that they’ll be with the team from the start of camp.
Goaltending will be interesting too. I wouldn’t be surprised if they transition Antoine Bibeau into the Solar Bears’ starter under their new-look ECHL development system, while letting Christopher Gibson and Garret Sparks really fight for minutes. Basically, what we expected last year, but for different reasons.