Answering the Maple Leafs Mailbag

It’s the weekend and that means that the Toronto Star’s Kevin McGran is answering his mailbagbut it also means that I will be stealing it and answering the questions myself.  Why? Why not?  Basically, I think it’s useful to offer a second opinion on the topics people choose to ask about, and, more than anything, it’s fun.

As always, I offer you an extra 100% more Technotronic music videos to help sooth your soul while you read about the Leafs.

So, let’s get too it.

QUESTION: Kevin, James, I do not see the Leafs trading the 4th pick for an easy fix. I’ve read some articles sharing the fact that the Leafs might have interest in getting valuable assets back for the fast and easy rebuild but I do not think this is the case. I believe Shanny has specifically stated that this rebuild is a long term and unavoidable cost that the club has to go through in order to come out through the other side a playoff contender. That being said, if we were to hypothesis, what is an example of a trade you think would be a viable option for the Leafs to get rid of their 4th pick?

God bless,

Andrew C. Boehmer

ANSWER: This is really little more than a statement, followed by a question it wasn’t necessary to ask. Not sure why McGran would pick this one to be honest. The Leafs are not going too trade the #4 pick unless it’s to move down and add another pick.  If they were going to trade the pick, they could probably get a ton for it, but they aren’t going that way.

QUESTION: Are there any potential UFAs young enough to meet the Leafs’ criteria of age and price? How about players who could get squeezed off a roster because of cap issues: are there any you can see who are young enough and at the right price to fit in with the Leafs’ plan, or are those the very players teams will keep while squeezing out older players? Would the Leafs ever accept a bad contract to get a young player, or would eating up the cap room be self-defeating?

Nick Martin, Winnipeg

Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf  (Photo Credit: Andy Martin Jr)
Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf (Photo Credit: Andy Martin Jr)

ANSWER: In a cap system, there is a lot of room to get creative. If you are trading away all your best players to get younger, as the Leafs will likely do, then for the duration of your rebuild, you can easily afford to take on bad contracts in exchange for assets. As the NHL’s richest team, the Leafs will definitely be looking to make these kind of moves.  Not self-defeating at all.

As for UFAs, I think the Leafs will look for value guys who can reestablish themselves and then be moved for picks at the trade deadline. Other than that, not much of a point in signing guys while you rebuild.

 QUESTION: Kevin. James, Good afternoon. I have been a hockey fan all my life, enjoyed Hockey Night in Canada’s broadcast before the Rogers takeover.

I feel that there are too many outstanding questions concerning the Rogers / NHL deal. For example:

Why 12 years? No other major professional sport organization signs such long term TV deals?

Why exclusive? Again, no other major professional sport organization signs such exclusive TV deals?

The panel. Why is there only one original “Sportsnet” person, everyone else was either imported from TSN or CBC.

Why does Sportsnet use the CBC studio? They signed a 12-year contract, should not they invest in their own studio?

The coverage is horrible. During an earlier Rangers game, the main camera was very high, I felt like I was sitting in the old “blue” section at Maple Leaf Gardens.

The “extra” cameras are nothing special, just an additional camera with a Rogers logo.

CBC’s older coverage and TSN’s older coverage (last year) was much better, both technically and announcer-wise. This year, thankfully, they did not mess with the Houston/Simpson combo (to me the best coverage and team in hockey today). It is a travesty that Bettman signed this questionable TV deal. We the viewers are suffering.

TSN is still a much more superior network, their hockey, football, golf and auto racing coverage and reporting is so much more superior than its competitor.

It is time for you to be more critical of this network. To me, they are still a “college” network, TSN is much more superior.

David P

ANSWER:  I really don’t care about the studio, where they got the guys they got, or if it’s exclusive or not. What I care about is that HNIC is a quality broadcast.  I don’t know about Kevin, but I have been super critical of not just HNIC, but Rogers lame and insulting response to criticisms.

Phil Kessel Maple Leafs
(Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

QUESTION: Leafs should trade 5th 4th pick 2015 and Phaneuf to Edmonton for Draisilt and Yakupov. Leafs would be getting a NHL ready centre ,rid themselves of large salary and getting a young prospect .

John I

ANSWER: This isn’t a question. But, that being said, hell yeah! I mean, Edmonton would hang the phone up and spend the rest of the day laughing, but former #1 and #3 overall picks for Dion and the #4? This would trump the Gilmour trade for most lopsided deal in team history, and it’s never going to happen, but I like your style John I.

QUESTION: Hi, Kevin  James. I was wondering what the Leafs can do to a player such as Kessel if he shows up at training camp out of shape. What does a team do in this scenario?

Jim McD

ANSWER: I am pretty sure they could suspend him, but I really don’t think Kessel’s fitness levels are a real issue. He is awesome at hockey, and even last year during all the turmoil, he put up tons of shots and just went through a prolonged slump. People need to lay off, this guy is in shape, he’s one of the NHL’s best skaters and he’s been a top ten scorer in three of the last four years.

QUESTION: Are the Leafs going to draft Lawson Crouse if they can’t get Dylan Strome?



ANSWER: How would I (or anyone) know that? I feel like they’ll  make the right choice and take Marner, even if Strome is available, but I don’t really know anything.

Mitch Marner, OHL, Hockey, London Knights
Mitch Marner is a magician with the puck and smart without it. (Photo: OHL Images)


QUESTION:I was thinking of an idea to replace the draft lottery. How about a best-of-three games draft tournament? It would be based on where the team’s that don’t make the Stanley Cup cut is in the overall placings. So it would look just like the Stanley cup playoffs. The winner of the two conferences would get the 1st pick. The other winner of the other conference would get second pick. The winner of each division would get 3rd and 4th pick based on wins. The rest of the picks would depend on how they do in the tournament.

ANSWER: Why would the players agree to play extra games for free? Why would anyone risk the injuries? Who would even watch a tournament full of loser teams? Brutal idea.


QUESTION: Why dosen’t Toronto see if the Oilers would be interested in trading Draisaitl for Kessel/Bozak or or some other type of trade. Toronto needs a big centre. This is one team that can supply that need. Thanks

R McIlmoyle

ANSWER: Why does everyone think the Oilers should trade Draisaitl? If you have a first-line quality centre on your third line, you have an edge over virtually every team in the NHL.  Since he won’t need to be paid big-money for a while, it would be insane to move him.  Just roll three amazing centres and watch the victories pile up.

That being said, should Edmonton just completely lose their minds, yeah getting Draisaitl on the Leafs would be fantastic.

Leon Draisaitl (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
Leon Draisaitl (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

QUESTION: Stamkos to leafs for 1st round 2015, 2nd round 2015, Kessel, Kadri

Anubhav M

ANSWER: That is way too much to pay for one player, even Stamkos.