Monday Mailbag: First Time’s A Charm


So they’ve decided to let me get my hands on the Monday Mailbag here at TLN, let’s see how badly I can make Justin regret it. There were lots of great questions (and a mediocre one from Steve) so I didn’t get to them all but thanks for everyone’s contribution.

This one had me stumped for a long while. With 8 games left in the season, we’ve most past the drama of the trade deadline, are now over the initial excitement caused by the arrival of the Nylander et al, and are probably more concerned with the impending Marlies playoff run than anything else. So is there any more point?

“Yes!’ screamed the Rogers executive who is probably in line to buy a few extra bottles of booze for when the playoff ratings are released. 

As fans, we still do have a little to get excited about. Since the departure of Dion Phaneuf, Morgan Rielly has turned into a new player. He’s growing into a star before our eyes and if nothing else we are going to be able to look back at the second half of this season as the time we saw a young player begin to realize his potential and turn into the all-world defender that will be leading the franchise for a decade.

Oh and also there’s a strong chance that with a win next Saturday, Mike Babcock will be able to crush the playoff dreams of his former team in Detroit, and that is always a great thing for Leaf fans.

Honestly, I think that Jonathan Bernier is going to start the 2016-17 season as the starting goalie for the Maple Leafs. I don’t think that the Leafs are going to be ready to compete for a playoff spot next season and as a result, I don’t believe that they will be in a rush to find the ‘goaltender of the future’. One thing that could change all that is the possibility of an expansion draft in June 2017. The NHL BOG will decide on expansion by this June and as soon as teams know it’s coming, it will drastically change their plans for the future. All reports suggest that you will only be allowed to protect one goalie from the expansion draft. That could make many young goalies available via trade as teams might want to get assets for them instead of losing them for nothing to Las Vegas. As soon as the expansion plans are announced I’d be calling Pittsburg about Matt Murray, Anaheim about Frederik Andersen and Nashville about Juuse Saros. There is however, one NCAA goalie I have my eye on.

I am a goalie, but I am not THE goalie at TLN, that honour goes to the one and only Cat Silverman. She doesn’t know what the heck she’s talking about when it comes to the forwards she likes (see every American winger 5’9 and shorter) but if she thinks a goalie is going to be good you’d better pay attention. A couple weeks ago, Cat explained why the Leafs should try to sign NCAA free agent Alex Lyon, the Junior netminder from Yale. This is an idea that I am totally on board with, should Lyon decide to forfeit his senior season and turn pro.

If Lyon were to decide to stay at Yale for his senior season to graduate (something no one could possibly fault him for) there are a couple other guys I wouldn’t mind the Leafs taking a flyer on. Nick Ellis at Providence College is one. After serving as a backup for his first two years, Ellis had an incredible season this year carrying the load for the Friars. Charlie Lindgren of St. Cloud State is another guy who had a great season this year and has now had back to back seasons as a starter with great numbers. Of course, both Lindgren and Ellis are just finishing their Junior seasons, so they are both eligible to go back to school but if either decides to turn pro and sign with an NHL team, the Leafs should definitely be in on them.

No, Martin Marincin is absolutely not elite. He is a decent defender who the Oilers probably shouldn’t have let go, but if you view him as anything more than a bottom pairing defenseman on a good team, you should probably re-evaluate the method by which you evaluate hockey players. 

Oh Richie, this would be funny if not for the sad fact that Trump actually won Arizona last week. Many people withing the Leafs fan base as well as many in the media are gifting Marner a spot on the NHL roster for next season because he isn’t eligible for the AHL. I’m no so quick to assume he’ll be a full-time NHLer next season. don’t get me wrong, I think Marner is an incredible talent and will be a very good NHLer one day but being too good for the OHL does not make you NHL ready.AS we saw in the World Juniors, Marner was dominant on the powerplay when he had the time and space to create offense, but 5 on 5 he was far less impressive against tougher competition than he’s used to. Could he be NHL ready by September? Maybe. But he’s got a lot of work to do this summer. 

What a good question. Who is this Steve Dangle character? I hope the world hears from him again at some point.

This question could be taken a few ways. Why is Kadri so polarizing around the NHL? That’s easy. Because he’s a pest on the ice that gets opposing players and fans riled up. He gets under their skin and draws penalties in a very similar way to what Darcy Tucker used to do.

Why is Kadri so polarizing among the media? This has a lot to do with who is analyzing his play. Kadri draws a lot of penalties, but on top of that, he also has a tendency to dive from time to time. This will rub the old school guys the wrong way. Guys that will see his exaggeration on one play and hold it against him when he’s the victim of a legitimately dirty play as he was a couple of times Saturday night.

Why is Kadri so polarizing to Leafs fans? I honestly don’t know. If you look at his point total from this season you see a player that could maybe leave a little to be desired. But playing on a terrible team it’s hard to tell what people would expect from him. It’s hard to produce when you have so little around you. It’s not even an eye-test vs analytics thing. Kadri’s underlying numbers point to a player that helps his team far more than his point total would suggest, but also if all you do is watch him on the ice, you see a dynamic player that competes in all three zones and has turned into a very complete hockey player. Maybe he’s too brash for some? Too out spoken? Or maybe he’s just the kind of person some people just can’t bring themselves to root for, whether he’s on your favorite team or not.

My initial reaction to this question was “what he heck is Kumite”? Then, upon remembering that Mr. Jeanshorts is an Oilers superfan, I assumed it was some sort of witchcraft that helps you win lotteries. 

Upon further research, it turns out that Kumite is a type of freestyle martial arts, closely related to Karate. Knowing this, the answer is simple; Antonella would win in a Kumite tournament within the TLN family. Not because she’s the biggest (she’s actually the smallest), not because she’s the most intimidating (Justin owns a throwing axe for a reason) and not because she has the sweetest dangles (Ryan Fancey will school you all in a game of shinny). It’s because less than a month ago Cat proclaimed herself Anto’s personal bodyguard and between the two of them they’d be unstoppable. There’s no doubt in my mind that they would fight dirty and be absolutely ruthless. “We are as cruel as we are dope”, Anto told be last night. And you can rest assured, she isn’t wrong. 

  • MatsSundin#13

    Great point about the expansion draft and the Leafs being able to pick up a goalie that way….Would also love to see if Vasilevskiy from TB would be available.

      • CMpuck

        Agreed, TB will expose Bishop. I don’t think he will get the money he will seek from TB with their cap crunch and Vali waiting to take the net.

        TB also has to expose 25% of their cap so it helps putting him there.
        Plus he will be a UFA so it’s claimer beware as he could just sign elsewhere.

  • CMpuck

    Funny that people play dumb about why people wouldn’t like Kadri but no want wants to pay him over 5 million. The pro Kadri camp gets pretty sober when we start talking extension.

  • silentbob

    Why is Kadri so polarizing to Leafs fans?

    Expectations vs What we got, its the same thing that happened with Schenn (and if Rielly or Nylander or Maner don’t become franchise players, it will happen to them too). A lot of fans expected Kadri to become a top line player, and ultimately he just isn’t/didn’t become THAT good. So in the eyes of a lot of fans he is a failure/bust.

  • silentbob

    Why is Kadri so polarizing to Leafs fans?

    Expectations vs What we got, its the same thing that happened with Schenn (and if Rielly or Nylander or Maner don’t become franchise players, it will happen to them too). A lot of fans expected Kadri to become a top line player, and ultimately he just isn’t/didn’t become THAT good. So in the eyes of a lot of fans he is a failure/bust.