MAIL CALL! Your Leafs trade deadline questions answered, and trade proposals panned

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s Trade Deadline SZN, and in our attempt to milk every last drop of potential content out of this event, we did a mailbag! So let’s dive in to answering your questions and reviewing your trade proposals.

Are the Minnesota Wild for real?Who’d you rather have via trade to the Leafs: Palmieri or Hall? And which price would be steeper?
— Damn Antifa Daniel (@theForester26) April 8, 2021

Mark: Yes, the Wild are for real. Adding a gamebreaking talent like Kaprizov has completely altered the Wild’s look and they are getting excellent goaltending from Talbot and Kahkkonen.
Hall, hands-down. There’s a couple of lazy narratives going around about Hall: one is that he has only 2 goals this season and the other is that “his teams don’t win”. Allow me to bust those. Firstly, Hall is shooting at one-fourth of his career shooting average so this is bound for a regression. Secondly, an individual does not make a team. EDM to NJD to ARI to BUF is a murderer’s row of bad teams to play for, and having a winger single-handedly propel a bad team to success is a rare thing. …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Kyle Clifford: “We like our chances”

As I’m sure is the case for many of us, Kyle Clifford wants the Leafs to be back in action. In a conference call interview on May 14, Clifford made his case for getting back to playing for the Stanley Cup.
“Just speaking with the guys on our team, there’s a real strong appetite to get playing no matter the circumstances. We look at our group and we like our chances. We know it’s not going to be easy, but at the same time, there’s an exciting group here.”
“Obviously do it safely, but I think the team is hungry to get back playing, and the fans are hungry for us to get back playing as well.”
The appetite is understandable, of course. Professional athletes like those in the NHL don’t get to where they are without an undying sense of competitiveness and an unquenchable thirst for greatness.
For the Leafs, living and playing in the biggest city in Canada, a restart would be an unenviable challenge for team health officers and local, provincial and federal public health officials.
Ultimately, for Clifford, the journey is about …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Announcing the Absolutely, the Leaf’s Madness” bracket

In case you were wondering what your favourite Leafs blog was going to do for content during this hiatus, look no further. Well, keep looking, we’ll have other stuff too, but also look at this. It’s our official March Bracket…
ABSOLUTELY, THE LEAF’S MADNESS!!!!
Okay, so you aren’t particularly excited about this yet, but hopefully you will become very invested in this because you have absolutely nothing else to going on regarding sports outcomes.
We’re starting off by asking you, our valued reader to submit your 5 favourite Leafs from 5 distinct eras of the team that will make up our regions. It’s going to be those votes that influence who winds up on the bracket and establish the seeding. And you know because it’s the Leafs, we can’t just go with 64 player bracket, IT’S 67, BABY!!! WOOOOOOO!!!! There will be three play-ins so we can do this right.
Here are the regions:
Your Grandpa’s Leafs region: This covers off everything 1967 and earlier. The glory years when a team didn’t really need to be good, you just needed …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The NHL has officially decided to suspend the season

A day after the NBA had it’s first case of COVID-19, and suspended it’s season, the NHL cancelled morning skates and team meetings in order to allow the league and the NHLPA to assess their situation and determine next steps. The end result is what we all should have expected, and honestly hoped for…

The @NHL pauses 2019-20 season. https://t.co/WMePei4clH pic.twitter.com/W5Hqmk3kX7
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 12, 2020
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For now we’ve got just an indefinite suspension, meaning that life will may pretty much go on as planned in the very near future, except for when there is the realization that it is unlikely that there will be encouraging developments in the near future. After all, this has been something that has been steadily worsening since December. While I don’t want to crush any optimism, this seems like a window of time for getting buy-in to more substantial actions.

Hearing as part of the #NHL‘s due diligence process, teams have been asked to provide arena building availability through the end of July.
— Frank Seravalli (@ …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

John Gibbons is interviewing for the Astros’ managerial gig

In case you’ve been living under a rock, the Houston Astros don’t have a manager right now. A.J. Hinch was fired after being suspended by Major League Baseball for one year due to his role in the Astros cheating their way to a World Series title in 2017.

Among those being interviewed for Houston’s open managerial gig are none other than our old friend John Gibbons.

According to MLB sources former Toronto manager John Gibbons will interview with the #Astros tomorrow in Houston as part of the club’s search for a replacement for AJ Hinch.
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) January 16, 2020

Other names who have been linked to the job are Astros bench coach Joe Espada (who wasn’t around in 2017), former Rangers manager and back-to-back ALDS runner-up Jeff Banister, long-time veteran managers Dusty Baker, Buck Showalter, and Bruce Bochy, and former players Will Venable (Cubs third-base coach), and Raúl Ibañez (Dodgers special advisor).
Gibby has been hanging around and enjoying life since being let go by the Blue Jays after the 2018 season. He was paid by the Blue Jays last year as his contract ran through 2019, but now he& …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

So, how long are these assistant coaches going to last?

The Leafs (in this case meaning Shanahan and Dubas) sort of wanted to fire Mike Babcock last spring when the Bruins put them away in game seven. They didn’t, and instead did the most common next thing: replacing the assistants around him. But it’s hard to parse out who pulled the strings most in this regard; Most would probably lean toward thinking Paul McFarland, brought in from the Panthers to help the powerplay, was a longtime Dubas target, while Dave Hakstol, a former NHL head coach himself, was more in line with Babcock.
I can’t say if that’s accurate because obviously no one is going to spill on it, but regardless, with Babcock out and Keefe coming in, it’s now worth asking “What is the point of having these guys around?”
Sheldon Keefe will take over behind the Leafs bench tonight, and he’ll be alongside these two coaches who he’s never worked with in the past. And it isn’t like they’ve been rockstars to this point either – the defence looks absurdly mistake-prone (supposedly Hakstol’s area) and the powerplay (McFarland’s brainchild) has been so bad it’s hard to describe. …

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Author: Ryan Fancey / The Leafs Nation

We don’t need to write off Liljegren to write in Sandin

In case you haven’t heard, Rasmus Sandin is a Toronto Maple Leaf. In what became easily the biggest story of camp these last two weeks, the 2018 first-rounder shot up the organization like a rocket to nab a NHL roster spot and will make his debut a couple days from now. And the discussion around him isn’t “Can he stick all season?”, it’s “How far into his potential can he dig right now?”, and I’m not even sure I’d bet against him playing top four minutes within 20 games. It’s been that kind of camp.
But with Sandin’s ascent came the typical comparisons that Leafs supporters like to make, with Timothy Liljegren being the obvious target for some negative talk. This happens all the time in hockey and in sports in general, especially in Toronto; Marner can’t be good without it meaning Nylander is now somehow bad, even Rielly and Gardiner had similar discussions surrounding them. It’s par for the course, especially when the players get to the NHL level. But Liljegren isn’t at that level yet, and while people are quick to point that out as a failure on his part, …

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Author: Ryan Fancey / The Leafs Nation