TLN Monday Mailbag: August 15th


IS VESEY SIGNED YET? ITS VESEY SIGNED YET? IS VESEY SIGNED Y-no, Jimmy Vesey hasn’t signed yet. In fact, as we found out yesterday, he’s not even a free agent until midnight. So, while we wait to collectively panic, let’s dip into the mailbag.

@Zeer0id asked: Is Nolan Vesey a legit prospect?

I see what you did there..

Honestly? I wouldn’t put any huge bets on it. He’s only a year younger than his brother and scored fewer than 0.33 points per game with the University of Maine last year. He might have the physical tools, but the talent level doesn’t appear to be there. This is one of the reasons that I don’t think Nolan is a huge bargaining chip in acquiring Jimmy; I can’t see a situation where the Leafs sign him after his senior year, unless he finishes his college career with an impact year, a la Zach Hyman.

@trickgh83 asked: Why are the Leafs so intent on replacing Garret Sparks as a backup?

I don’t think the team is particularly intent on doing so. The situation here, more likely, is that they think he’s capable of playing NHL minutes if need be, but that there’s still some room left to learn in the AHL, and that they can potentially find an inexpensive and better present backup.

That’s us guessing, too. It’s entirely possible that things like the Jhonas Enroth speculation are smoke and mirrors, and that the Leafs actually have no issues with Sparks being the secondary guy. But if they look elsewhere, I doubt its a kiss of death.

@Awetitu asked: Will Matthews have an immediate impact or need to develop with the Marlies? Are we Pollyannas for thinking he will?

Auston Matthews was a 1.27 point per game forward in a quality, defense-first European league as a teenager, where NHLers have gone during lockout years and have put up similar or not as brilliant results.

I really, really wouldn’t count on him needing to play with the Marlies. There is a better chance of him being the first line centre on opening night than there is of him playing a regular season AHL game.

@Rutty_91 asked: Which rookie longshot will surprise everyone next year with making the team out of camp?

Nobody. Nylander, Matthews, Marner, and Zaitsev are going to make the team, but that’s not a shock to anybody. Nikita Soshnikov and Connor Brown would be names to consider for this, but I don’t think there are enough roster spots up for grabs at the moment. If Toronto starts moving some bodies, then they’ll squeak into the roster pretty quickly, but it’s hard to pencil either player in right now.

@mistersouthward asked: Are the Leafs developing Bracco into a trade piece? Talented but fits a similar mould as Marner/Nylander. Is there room?

Seeing as the Leafs haven’t really been in a position to do much player development work on Jeremy Bracco, it’s hard to really say they’re going to turn him into anything in particular just yet. It’s possible he gets caught in a numbers game, yes, but a level of support churn in the middle/bottom six is not out of the ordinary and a model that the league’s best teams already follow.