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TLN Mailbag: Hijacked By Jon Edition

Hello everybody! It was a long weekend and if garbage men can push back Monday collection until Tuesday, certainly we can do the same with our mailbag. Our opinions aren’t all that different than the steaming bag of diapers I set out on the curb this morning, so in that spirit, here are a bunch of answers to questions you were hoping Ryan answered instead of me.

What a handsome question, Travis. I appreciate it.

One of my first thoughts on this is whether or not the logjam of talent that exists now should be considered something the Leafs need to thin out or whether we want to embrace it and the competition and depth that goes along with it. I think for the most part we’re all good with that, but when cap considerations are factored into this, the reality is not everyone on the Leafs will be back next year.

Bozak, Komarov, and van Riemsdyk  are the obvious names that come up given their unrestricted free agent status next summer, although personally I’d rather play them out through this season, and just not re-sign them next year. That may seem like poor asset management, but the Leafs have a chance to play out this season with a really stacked forward group and I’m in favour of that.

That being said, you asked an honest question about trade candidates and deserve an honest answer. My answer is the Leafs will be most likely be dealing from the bottom of the roster, not the top. Players like Rychel or Leivo who don’t really fit in and could interest another team are most likely to go. Soshnikov, when healthy, is probably another player like that. It’s much easier to deal cheap players in season and if Toronto is comfortable with their depth without these guys I wouldn’t be surprised to see them moved.

Another very handsome question, what luck!

I can see we’re definitely in talking trade mode this week, and I’ll do my best to give a different response then above. In the unlikely event that heading into an 82 game season there is a team that feels it has too many top four defensemen and not enough wingers, then I’d have to say that van Riemsdyk is probably the most likely to be moved. He only has one year left on his deal, so I’d imagine the Leafs would get someone in a similar situation back, or possibly someone with a marginally regrettable price attached to them long term, but that’s how I see it playing out.

Again, giving it a little bit more thought and not just looking at how things are today, potentially there is a team that is just gonna suck hard (looking at you Colorado and Las Vegas) and once any hope for being competitive goes away you might start seeing teams like those willing to deal defensemen like Barrie or Miller for worthwhile futures, which the Leafs can afford to give up either Brown or Kapanen on the wing (knowing they’d probably still need to add to that deal if it was for Barrie). I’m willing to bet the Leafs management are well aware of that roster hole, but I respect that they aren’t willing to give up their long term depth too easily.

A bit more of a further refinement of the trade question. This is working out perfectly for me. By the end of this post I’ll be giving my thoughts on if JVR and Brown was too much to give up for Trouba.

Anyway, I really like Trouba. A lot. And playing him with Rielly makes more sense than anything else in the world and I want to see it. In reality though, the Jets are painfully reluctant to make trades. They just don’t happen a lot. Winnipeg is also a city that understandably no one with a No Trade Clause will waive it for, and that really limits the options. The Jets are also wanting left handed defensemen more than they are wanting forwards at this point and that means giving up Gardiner to get Trouba.

Players like Bozak and van Riemsdyk are guys who could help the Jets offense a ton, but with both of them being eligible for free agency next year, that would have to be a huge worry for the Jets, because I can’t fathom why either of them would want to live in Winnipeg when they had their choice of 31 different cities.

I can’t see the Jets being excited about develop futures either, if they are getting a young talent they probably want them to play now. If I’m coming up with a deal that I think could happen, it’s probably Nylander for Trouba with maybe some pieces on either side to make both teams happy, and I don’t want to give up Willie, so no, I don’t see the Leafs acquiring Trouba.

If I’m crystal balling into the future on this, I’ll go with Dmytro Timashov as a rookie tournament standout, and Travis Dermott as a rookie tournament disappointment, and here’s why. I think in our TLN Prospect Rankings we’re already seeing some willingness to write Timashov off because he didn’t quickly develop to pro, and I’m gonna give him the benefit of doubt that he can come in and out perform his age group still in a rookie tournament. As for Dermott, I think we’re at the point where people are penciling him onto the Leafs roster already, and while he might not have a bad tournament, he’ll remind us that he’s still a year away.

As for the main camp, my choice to disappoint is always Martin Marincin. He’s usually slow to adjust to the season and doesn’t lend himself well to the eye test that training camp relies heavily on. I’d see him as the seventh defenseman heading into the season unless the Leafs have had enough of him and decide to waive him.

If we’re talking someone who is going to be wonderful, I’m betting on Connor Brown. I’ve bet against Connor Brown often enough and this season I’m getting in on the ground floor. I think he shows up ready to prove he can live up to last season.

This deserves some consideration. Marleau and Marner getting heavily sheltered minutes against weaker competition and they have Martin there too, which isn’t as bad as people like to make it out to be. Let’s see what the rest of the forward group could look like with that:

Hyman-Matthews-Nylander
JVR-Bozak-Brown
Komarov-Kadri-Kapanen (do not abbreviate this line)
Martin-Marleau-Marner

Honest to goodness, I could be fine with that.

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