Monday Mailbag: Civil War


As we make the transition from “oh, hockey is over for a bit” to “OH MY GOD, CAN’T HOCKEY JUST START AGAIN”, the crew here at The Leafs Nation are always looking for new things to talk about. As you’ve probably noticed, we’ve begun multiple mini-series, looking back, at, and ahead into the history of the Leafs. If you’ve ever wondered how we decide who the best of the best are for these series, I’ll tell you straight up; it’s by screaming at each other. The only thing that has stopped Jon and I from coming to blows is a 3500km gap between our houses.

That’s what makes us the best. We care and we laugh it off afterward. I don’t know what this has to do with the mailbag, but as I’m sure you’ve noticed, I’ve given up on pretending the opening paragraph of the mailbag means anything. So, uhh, keep sending in your questions every week! (Seriously though)

@eddya52 asked: Which player from the Leafs is realistically the next one to be traded?

Probably somebody who is a fringe player come training camp, that would be lost to waivers if sent down anyway. Like, a Matt Frattin type of player, but not necessarily him. 

In terms of players that “matter”, though I’ve got a feeling that Roman Polak is requested by the first good team to suffer a long-term injury to a defenceman come October. He’s on the last year of his contract, he has those visual elements that meat-and-potatoes guys love, and he isn’t entirely awful.

@mo_toews asked: Do you think Mike Babcock will play Dion Phaneuf has his number one defenceman, or as a possible #2 or #3?

Mike Babcock is a big fan of Dion Phaneuf. He’s invited him to Team Canada’s Olympic Camps in the past, and he was a driving reason behind Detroit’s interest in acquiring him throughout last season. You have to think that he has reasons for liking the captain, and will give him a mixture of feedback and every opportunity possible to execute upon that feedback and improve.

If it doesn’t go as planned, however, I have no doubt that Babcock will ignore ideas of pride and put an emphasis on those who are better. It’s entirely possible that Phaneuf spends some time as the #3, presumably behind Morgan Rielly and/or Jake Gardiner. It all comes down to how Dion responds to change.

Harte of a Lion asked: Have we requested a draft pick from Anaheim for the Dave Nonis hiring? We’re entitled to a pick, are we not?

The Leafs haven’t requested a pick from Anaheim because they’re not eligible to receive one. While Nonis was prior Leafs property, his new role with the Ducks isn’t considered an important enough one to demand compensation for. The rule applies to coaches and general managers; Nonis joined Anaheim as a Senior Advisor.

@StephenSwales17 asked: If the cards fall into place, do you think that the Leafs jump at the chance to unite the Nylander brothers at the draft?

Let me take you back to the year 2009. The Leafs were bad, and everyone knew it. Their top prospect had exceeded initial expectations, and he had a brother that everyone declared to be better than him going into the draft the next year. Leafs fans set their sights on that brother and were very disappointed when Boyd Devereaux screwed them out of the pick needed to obtain him. They had to settle for a skilled guy with alleged attitude issues two picks later.

Nazem Kadri is a better hockey player than both Luke and Brayden Schenn combined. Now, I think the world of William Nylander and it looks like his brother Alex is the real deal, but it only makes sense to acquire him if he’s the best player available when the Leafs get to the podium. It’s not like the two played with each other very often at a high level, much like the Schenns. There is no benefit other than a surname to unite the two; having them both should be a product of coincidence, not an intent.

@CorporalKomarov asked: how are you cope with being double agent? Is tough life komrade.

Is indeed tough, Leo. Fans of whale city much question integrity of my work. Team goalies more scared of trades than injury. Team super pest bites people instead of chirp in many language. Other writers smarter than Clarkson’s agent. Makes good challenge though, like hot take journalist in hot dog eat contest.

  • SEER

    If Nylander has a great year in the AHL (+ ppg) what are his chances of making team Sweden in the world cup? Also, since he was born in Canada, wouldn’t he also be technically eligible to play for the U22 North American team?

    • Gary Empey

      Nylander is On the bubble for World Cup of Hockey 2016:

      From Hockey News- Projecting Sweden’s roster.

      All these players are considered on the bubble to make the team…

      Patrik Berglund, Andre Burakovsky, Jimmie Ericsson, Carl Hagelin, Johan Franzen, Marcus Johansson, Melker Karlsson, Marcus Kruger, William Nylander, Carl Soderberg (previously “disqualified” from consideration by Marts), Alexander Wennberg.

      I think because Nylander previously represented Sweden internationally be must continue to do so.

  • Gary Empey

    Jeff I have a question for you.

    From what I have read it looks like Marner really doesn’t want to go back to the OHL.

    What are the Leafs to do if he turns out to be their best centre at training camp?