This mailbag is a bit on the later side, but that’s because another sport has put me in complete and total disbelief for the past seven hours. Seriously, I had zero confidence in the Italians to do anything today, even as a devoted and biased fan of the Azzurri, but to beat Belgium by TWO?! What a time to be alive? The cross on the Pelle goal, in particular, was a work of art.
But that has nothing to do with the Leafs. These mailbag questions, on the other hand…
@hUssUn25 asked: Other than Mitch Marner, which prospects have a shot at making the Leafs next season?
Auston Matthews (sigh, okay; whoever the Leafs pick first) is a given. William Nylander may as well be a given. Nikita Soshnikov played very well up top last year and will likely play with the team full time. Is Nikita Zaitsev still a prospect? Beyond that, all of the B guys (Johnson, Brown, Leivo, Leipsic, Harrington, Percy, etc) will at least get a look at camp.
@Brock2V asked: How likely is it that Toronto moves for a defenceman, and does it make sense to sign Stamkos when the Leafs will need to sign the kids later?
Toronto could probably get by with the defensive group they have if they’re not looking at seriously going for it next year; while the group kind of tapers off after Gardiner, Rielly, and maybe Zaitsev, the Leafs are in a position where they’ll have to decide who gets to be protected with the last spot in the expansion draft. Certainly, Toronto won’t give up the chance to add a guy if he’s on the market for less than he’s worth, but I don’t see Lou getting into bidding wars.
As for Stamkos, keep in mind that giving a superstar the bulk of the minutes and potential goal scoring situations means that he’ll drag down the output of the young guns, are going to be in RFA years to begin with. While some of the raise money is spent on him, him being the clear go-to talent also brings down their raise potential as well. You know, “if it happens”, that is. But we’ll talk about that more in a few days.
@nrandreycharles asked: Is the second day of the draft televised this year, and if so, what station/time can I watch it?
The NHL Network has historically been the place to go to find it, though web streams are usually plentiful, both legally and not-so-legally. We’ll do our best to hook everyone up with the best way to follow along on the day of, and if not, we’ll have a ton of coverage up.
@vandermolen10 asked: Who would you look to as potential candidates for Toronto’s back to back picks?
Our staff have done a great job on the #AfterAuston series designed for this exact purpose. I’d start with Jess’ profile on Adam Fox, and keep scrolling through some of our candidates. More bios are coming up every day!
@WB_222 asked: Who should the Leafs trade for at draft weekend?
Screw the rules and let’s piss off an entirely different sport. Fork up the 120+ million Euros that Juventus wants for Paul Pogba and teach him how to skate. It makes no sense, but it would be hilarious.