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Monday mailbag: We’re talking about going bald edition

What’s up with the the Leafs?

Besides the fact we’re talking about Nikita Soshnikov again – who played five games in the AHL on a conditioning stint, registered five points, and then was recalled to the NHL to suddenly be placed back on injured reserve, in a move that few people understand but is apparently legal, they’re also in the middle of a playoff push and have an important divisional game tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Without further ado, we jump right into the first question, not-so-coincidentally about the… Tampa Bay Lightning.

This one’s probably the hottest question floating around the Leafs these days, as it’s mostly up to the 1-2 divisional battle to see how the Leafs playoff matchup will line up. As James Mirtle pointed out in the Athletic the other day, it’s possible, if unlikely, that the Leafs make a push for the 1 or 2 spot in the division.

Will we see after tonight? No, probably not.

But if I had to pick one to play, I’d probably play Tampa, who’s played 55 games to Boston’s 54. The two teams are about even on quality overall, but solely looking at goals for/against numbers, Tampa’s a little bit leakier at the back end (145 vs. 131 goals against) despite being a stronger team offensively (198 goals to 180). Even if neither series is favourable as it’s two of the league’s best teams, I’d take the Leafs in an offensive shootout rather than lining up against the notoriously swarming Bruins defensive game.

Trade everyone under 25. Hire someone from the 1983-84 Oilers again. Shrug.

From a Leafs standpoint, we’d like to see all first overall picks kept out of the division. So there’s Buffalo, Detroit, Ottawa, Florida and Montreal tied for first. Add Edmonton, because, well, they’ve won it four times. A six way tie? Is that allowed? Sure it is, it’s Toronto vs. Everybody out here and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t want all of those teams to fall flat.

While the feelings aren’t as strong, we’d have to eliminate the rest of the Eastern Conference too, as they post the most immediate threat to the Leafs’ playoff chances.

No one really wants Chicago to get another  top pick, Vancouver is another Canadian team so we can’t really say we’re cheering them on to get the first overall pick, and outside of that we’ve only got one other team in Arizona who’s completely eliminated themselves from the playoff push.

Let’s give it to Colorado if they fall out of the playoff run. They’ve been fun this year, and Nathan Mackinnon plus Rasmus Dahlin seems like a dang fun time. Why not?

Praying that it’s not William Nylander. Zach Hyman tends to keep his hair pretty short, so he’s probably hiding something. Based on age, Ron Hainsey and Curtis McElhinney could be prime targets, not to mention senior citizen Patrick Marleau. But we’re going to go with Leo Komarov, because of all the extra sunlight he’s allowed into his helmet over the years by keeping his visor in that position. That makes sense, right?

Auston Matthews currently has 13 multi-point games this year, good enough for a tie for 26th in the NHL. He’s 49th in the NHL in scoring. So. Not really sure what to make of that, but it appears he’s no less common of getting multi-point games than any other top-end player.

If they have to continue the conversation past there, it’s probably not worth still talking to them.

We had a few questions about Soshnikov as well, but honestly, we have no clue what’s going on there.