I just had leftover pizza. I love pizza. It’s tasty and informative.
These slices were just tasty, though. That’s a shame. Anyway, we had a lot of interesting questions for this week’s mailbag. Let’s get started!
@connorpwayne asked: What will be the fate of each potential “Robidas Island” contract next season?
For reference, last season saw Nathan Horton go on Long-Term Injured Reserve while Robidas was just on regular IR. Toronto wasn’t overly close to going significantly above the Salary Cap and could afford to go with this.
Horton will likely fit this description again. He’s not going to walk away from four more years of salary, even if they start to taper off in back years. Robidas will depend on how much money the Leafs spend over the summer. Joffrey Lupul and Milan Michalek have also been questioned; Lupul has two more years on his contract while Michalek has just one. Michalek played decently well after returning to the lineup and could very well be tradable at the draft. Lupul I imagine will be a discretionary call come September.
For a little more on the nuances of LTIR, I highly recommend DragLikePull’s post from two weeks ago.
@LorneyHockey asked: Is there a max number of unsigned draft picks that a team can have? Between next year and this year, it could be a problem.
There isn’t a set number of unsigned prospects that a team can have, but there is a maximum number of combined players that a team can possess. That number is 90, and it makes up the “maximum reserve list”. This includes up to 50 signed players, which means that your number lies somewhere between 40 and, say, 65.
Toronto’s maximum list, assuming that the Leafs walk away from every UFA they have, sign all their RFA’s, make no trades, buy out Jared Cowen, and keep the rights to every unsigned prospect they have except for Tony Cameranesi (who they sent home after a few games with the Marlies), is at 58 players. There’s lots of room.
With that said, you can’t keep prospects unsigned forever. With some, you only get two years to do so. The bigger battle is going to be staying under 50, not 90.
@GregHarbinson asked: Are you surprised we haven’t heard anything about the Leafs new uniforms yet?
Not at all. I imagine we’ll see the away jersey revealed at the draft when Auston Matthews wears it for the first time, the home jersey at Steven Stamkos’ press conference, and the retro jerseys throughout the summer months.
@liam_boland asked: Do you see a chance of William Nylander being moved to the wing next season assuming the Leafs draft Auston Matthews?
To piggyback off of the last point, a Stamkos signing would definitely make this conversation interesting. Toronto is in a position where they can make Nazem Kadri the best, most sheltered third line centre on the planet and move forward with two gamebreakers ahead of him. Matthews will be one of them (and yes, that’s who they’re picking. Stop it, everyone).
From there it becomes a matter of how the first week of July goes. If they feel happy with who they have and don’t go for the big man, Nylander will likely remain at centre long-term. He looked quite good in his stint with the Leafs and will only get better with age. Stamkos won’t come here without an expectation of playing down the middle, though. If that signing happens, Nylander will likely join Marner in being converted to the wing.
Remember when the Leafs traded for Phil Kessel and his first ever centre was John Mitchell? This… won’t be a problem again for quite some time.
@Rutty_91 asked: When do you see the Leafs naming their next captain, and who do you think it will be?
Sorry for continuing to Stammer on. If for some reason that doesn’t end up happening, Toronto will likely wait a year to see how things play out with Morgan Rielly and Auston Matthews, who I imagine are the frontrunners from of the youth. Rielly has been a model player for the team on and off the ice and tends to relay the message that a team has to listen to each other and work together, which the organization loves. But Matthews’ leadership qualities have been hyped up too, so maybe its worth waiting a year. It wouldn’t be unprecedented; the Leafs went the entirety of 2008/09 and 2009/10 without a captain.