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WordsOfWisdom

Mitch Marner out with ankle injury

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Well, the reports are in: Mitch Marner is expected to miss AT LEAST a month with the ankle injury he sustained in the Flyers game when he fell awkwardly.

 

Chances are, he'll miss more than that (or it'll be much longer before he's 100% again). I suffered a severe ankle sprain a few years ago where I damaged some of the ligaments down there. While I was walking on it (with an air cast) fairly quickly, it took a long time to fully heal.

 

marner-injury.jpg.d7442f3994cd782aef64f87baaa67eb2.jpg

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This is horrible for the Leafs. Like...really horrible.

With all the press guys like John Tavares, Auston Matthews, Morgan Reilly, and Frederick Andersen get (rightly so...they ARE mega talents after all), sometimes it feels like Marner gets pushed to the back burner in the news...everything else being equal that is.

He doesn't seem to have the higher profile of any of those players (I would even venture to bet that Jake Freakin Gardiner got more press then he did when he was with Toronto...although for probably ENTIRELY different reasons), doesn't have the flash of some of those guys, seems very soft spoken.....but, and I say this from an outsiders point of view, looks to me like HE is the one that really makes things "go" on the Leafs.

The straw that stirs the drink, the cog that turns the machine, the lynchpin of a concerted Toronto attack at any given moment...you get the idea.
Maybe there are numbers out there to support this hunch of mine, but to me, when Marner is in, and playing well, it allows the other Leafs forwards to be slotted better on lines and he can ALWAYS be counted on to do smart things with the puck and get it to those waiting snipers...and he also always seems to offer a very safe outlet for the much maligned Leaf defensemen when they find themselves in a jam.

As good as guys like Tavares and Matthews are up front, I think, should the Leafs lose them for periods of time (we've seen that happen already the last couple seasons including this one), buys can still step in, step up and maybe not completely account for their production, but do good enough...…. but losing Marner, not only his production, but presence, intelligence, and vision on the ice? 
Not so easy to replace....and IMO, will leave the Leafs forward units in a bit of disarray.

Obviously I am a Leaf rival fan, and to be honest, if Toronto were to fall down some competitive hole from which they won't recover in time for the playoffs, I wouldn't bat an eye.... but I think Marner is a HELL of a player, I AM a fan of his, he is not given nearly the credit he should be due compared to many of his teammates, and it is a damned shame he won't be part of the Leafs' quest for a Cup for awhile.

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23 minutes ago, TropicalFruitGirl26 said:

This is horrible for the Leafs. Like...really horrible.

With all the press guys like John Tavares, Auston Matthews, Morgan Reilly, and Frederick Andersen get (rightly so...they ARE mega talents after all), sometimes it feels like Marner gets pushed to the back burner in the news...everything else being equal that is.

 

Yes, it can be hard to stand out among the forward group of the Leafs but I think Marner was quickly getting there. I think he's viewed as being on par with Matthews or Tavares skill wise, but goal scorers tend to get all the glory over play-makers.  Losing a play-maker does sort of pull the "offence plug" out of the socket.

 

I think we've seen that the Leafs can survive the loss of any one of Matthews, Tavares, or Marner (I'm assuming they will).... but the team is still only "10th" in the East (see my other post) and has major problems defensively. It's almost a moot point because even with all three of them in the lineup this season, they're not playing like a playoff team.  :( 

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There aren't too many other players I'd be willing to trade the likes of a Nikita Kucherov for, but Mitch Marner definitely is one of them.

Some might think that is crazy, but upon closer inspection, it really wouldn't be.
Given Marner's playstyle and ice smarts, I would bet 1, 000 gold Puppas that Mitch would make the PERFECT linemate for one Steven Stamkos.

Since Martin St. Louis was traded, the Bolts have yet to find a linemate for Stammer with whom he had the same 'magic' together on the ice. Not Tyler Johnson, not Ondrej Palat, not Yanni Gourde, and yes, not even Nikita Kucherov.
In fact, Kuch and Stammer do better (and elevate their lines better) when apart, for whatever reason...perhaps they are too similar in their playstyle, or the opposite...their thinking methods are hard wired a certain way and just are not compatible on the ice as a consistent force.

Marner on the other hand, shows adaptability and he can seemingly transition very easily from playmaker to sniper and always keep the defense guessing... is he gonna take the shot? Is he gonna pass it to his ultra dangerous sniper linemates? Is he gonna drop it to the point to a blue liner with a cannon?
Stamkos could use someone who can read him, feed him the puck consistently, or decide, "hey, they got Stammer covered good...I NEED to make this play happen and snipe it myself".... so far, none of the  linemates they've tried with him can do this on the regular....I believe Mitch would be able to.

Sure, Marner won't have the raw numbers of Kucherov (two 100 pt + seasons is insane, and he probably has MORE of those coming), but Mitch's numbers going back this season and the last two have been FAR from shabby....and he also has this nice propensity to almost always take AWAY the puck more than he gives it up on turnovers....something Kucherov sometimes can struggle with.

 

The two players' salaries are almost comparable...Marner's cap hit being slightly higher at 10.9M vs Kucherov at 9.5, plus Marner is younger by 4 years, which would theoretically give the Bolts more "prime years starting today" with the current core group, but for what he brings to the table, below Kuch's raw numbers, but still impressive enough, and other skillsets, I'd say the extra 1.4M in cap hit is well used!

 

If all this sounds like I am down on Kucherov and would want him traded...well, no, that not be true. I love having Kucherov on the Lightning, and if he retires a Bolt, I would be happy with that.
And of course, there IS NO trade being worked on to swap these two guys.

I was just simply pointing out the value I see in a player like Marner….his value not only to his own team, but to many others as well, but particularly to being a potential linemate of Stamkos.
If Stammer had gone to Toronto and been paired with Marner, I believe THEY, along with whomever you want to put into the third slot next to them, would be the dominant line in the NHL...over Boston's, over Colorado's, over Vegas' top lines.

And if Marner WERE to be swapped with Kucherov on the Lightning, I believe the same would apply...and the Bolts would still have enough forward depth to cover Lines 2-4.

Tell me one thing though, @WordsOfWisdom ….
Marner is always listed as a center.... yet he seems to play the wing most of, if not all, of the time... he has the mentality of a center, but plays well enough as a winger.... which is he suited better for, in your opinion? Or is he the type of player that can do either without missing a beat?

Ironically, Stamkos is often shuttled between winger and center as well, although honestly, I think he does his best work as a centerman….but still, he and the Bolts are in search of "his guy" to be the inseparable linemates on the ice that he and MSL once were.

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9 hours ago, TropicalFruitGirl26 said:

There aren't too many other players I'd be willing to trade the likes of a Nikita Kucherov for, but Mitch Marner definitely is one of them.

Some might think that is crazy, but upon closer inspection, it really wouldn't be.
Given Marner's playstyle and ice smarts, I would bet 1, 000 gold Puppas that Mitch would make the PERFECT linemate for one Steven Stamkos.

 

Great, can we have Victor Hedman?  Toronto does well with Swedes.   :) 

 

9 hours ago, TropicalFruitGirl26 said:

Tell me one thing though, @WordsOfWisdom ….
Marner is always listed as a center.... yet he seems to play the wing most of, if not all, of the time... he has the mentality of a center, but plays well enough as a winger.... which is he suited better for, in your opinion? Or is he the type of player that can do either without missing a beat?

 

Usually your best play-maker is a center, so I'm guessing Marner would be there if not for Matthews and Tavares. The Leafs have a glut of elite centers. It's great to have depth, and it reminds me of the days when the Leafs had Gilmour and Sundin and Clark and Anderson, etc... but in today's NHL you're only allowed one good line and three junk/filler lines. Toronto is trying to ice "two NHL teams" worth of elite forwards and the result it clear: they can't defend. There's no getting past the cap, and the cutbacks have to come somewhere. 

 

My prediction is that Toronto is going to make a block buster trade that gets rid of one of the "big three" (Matthews, Marner, or Tavares) in order to acquire a defenceman. It might as well be Hedman.  

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On 11/12/2019 at 7:31 AM, WordsOfWisdom said:

My prediction is that Toronto is going to make a block buster trade that gets rid of one of the "big three" (Matthews, Marner, or Tavares) in order to acquire a defenceman. It might as well be Hedman.  

 

Wouldn't it make more sense to trade Nylander? I honestly can't see them trading Tavares, and honestly I don't know if there (m)any teams that would value him at that contract. His best days are behind him, and another 6 years for a declining Tavares seems like a bad idea.

 

I guess the one I can see them trading is Matthews if he is planning on leaving Toronto after his contract is up. May as well get what you can.

 

Honest question - what do you think of Babcock as a coach? I read the other day that he steadfastly goes with Andersen in the first game of a B2B, then the backup the next night. Obviously, we know how the second half of the B2Bs has gone. But what I found interesting was that Babcock will use that formula regardless of how his goalies are currently playing, regardless of opponent, regardless of standings. 

 

Is it just me, or is that more "set in my ways" than "coaching"? Imagine having your #1 goalie rested and ready to bail out the tired players on the 2nd half of a B2B... That's how the Flyers won against Boston the other night. Hart bailed out his players in the 3rd when the tired legs of 4 games in 6 nights was starting to be a big factor.

 

I'm not suggesting there's a "right" way or a "wrong" way, but more of a "why would the coach not be willing to adapt rather than be steadfast about it?"

 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, brelic said:

Wouldn't it make more sense to trade Nylander? I honestly can't see them trading Tavares, and honestly I don't know if there (m)any teams that would value him at that contract. His best days are behind him, and another 6 years for a declining Tavares seems like a bad idea.

 

I guess it's up to whichever player has the most market value. I think Tavares is a lot more "proven" (or "tested") than Nylander is.

 

In any event, that group of Matthews, Marner, Tavares, and Nylander aren't going to stay together if the Leafs want to win anything with the group of guys that they have. All the star power is up front and there's really nothing on the blue line besides Rielly. If the Leafs had another $25 million in cap space to spend on two incredible defencemen, this team would be the most dominant team in the league. But it's not coming. They're already maxed out. They can't add anyone at the trade deadline. The Leafs have no wiggle room in which to tweak things on this roster. They're in a situation where they have only two choices:

  1. Stick with what they have (10th best in the East currently, no second round playoffs) and hope for the best.
  2. Major trade involving one of their highest salaried players to change the core group.
2 hours ago, brelic said:

Honest question - what do you think of Babcock as a coach? I read the other day that he steadfastly goes with Andersen in the first game of a B2B, then the backup the next night. Obviously, we know how the second half of the B2Bs has gone. But what I found interesting was that Babcock will use that formula regardless of how his goalies are currently playing, regardless of opponent, regardless of standings. 

 

I'm starting to wonder if Babcock's reputation as a coach was built by Detroit's excellent roster more than him. The things you look for in a good coach are:

  • Defence (Leafs don't have any)
  • Power Play
  • Penalty Kill

I'm not seeing where Babcock is having any kind of impact, but maybe the players we have really are that bad defensively. Hard to say.

 

As for the goalies, the trap you fall into by playing your #1 each time is that you keep finding ways to play him until he's exhausted. I don't mind a switch on back to back games. The problem is the team never played well in front of Hutchison anyway, and were sleep walking through those back to back games.  :( 

 

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2 hours ago, WordsOfWisdom said:

 

I guess it's up to whichever player has the most market value. I think Tavares is a lot more "proven" (or "tested") than Nylander is.

 

In any event, that group of Matthews, Marner, Tavares, and Nylander aren't going to stay together if the Leafs want to win anything with the group of guys that they have. All the star power is up front and there's really nothing on the blue line besides Rielly. If the Leafs had another $25 million in cap space to spend on two incredible defencemen, this team would be the most dominant team in the league. But it's not coming. They're already maxed out. They can't add anyone at the trade deadline. The Leafs have no wiggle room in which to tweak things on this roster. They're in a situation where they have only two choices:

  1. Stick with what they have (10th best in the East currently, no second round playoffs) and hope for the best.
  2. Major trade involving one of their highest salaried players to change the core group.

 

Option 2 might be the better route at this juncture, but this isn't a do-or-die year for the Leafs.... though I suspect it is for Babcock if he doesn't get out of the 1st/2nd round.

 

Honestly, the team doesn't have to be great all year. They just need to ramp up slowly and peak around playoff time. 

 

Shanahan has been forward-heavy in his high draft picks, part of that is a function of who was available at the time, and there is no way you're passing on Matthews. 

 

But the upside is that you can deal from a position of strength to address a weakness. 

 

2 hours ago, WordsOfWisdom said:

 

I'm starting to wonder if Babcock's reputation as a coach was built by Detroit's excellent roster more than him. The things you look for in a good coach are:

  • Defence (Leafs don't have any)
  • Power Play
  • Penalty Kill

I'm not seeing where Babcock is having any kind of impact, but maybe the players we have really are that bad defensively. Hard to say.

 

As for the goalies, the trap you fall into by playing your #1 each time is that you keep finding ways to play him until he's exhausted. I don't mind a switch on back to back games. The problem is the team never played well in front of Hutchison anyway, and were sleep walking through those back to back games.  :( 

 

 

Yeah, I'm starting to wonder that too. He sounds like a genuine asshole too. 

 

We're seeing the Flyers play 180 degrees differently from last year, and the major change was the coaching staff. I'd be willing to wager that the same Leafs roster would look quite different under AV or Trotz. 

 

From the sounds of it, Babcock has never even tried having the Leafs #2 start a B2B, and have Andersen fresh for the next night when his teammates need him. Do you know if Babs has tried that?

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1 hour ago, brelic said:

From the sounds of it, Babcock has never even tried having the Leafs #2 start a B2B, and have Andersen fresh for the next night when his teammates need him.

 

??? :thinking:???  I just looked into it...

 

Babcock always started Hutchinson on the second game of a back to back, regardless of who the opponent was.  :) 

 

1 hour ago, brelic said:

We're seeing the Flyers play 180 degrees differently from last year, and the major change was the coaching staff. I'd be willing to wager that the same Leafs roster would look quite different under AV or Trotz. 

 

I'm wondering if the players have tuned him out or if he can't win with this group. Eventually, after years and years of roster changes, one can't continually fault the players for a lack of success. There have been a lot of changes to the team since Babcock got here, but the result has been the same. 

 

1 hour ago, brelic said:

Option 2 might be the better route at this juncture, but this isn't a do-or-die year for the Leafs.... though I suspect it is for Babcock if he doesn't get out of the 1st/2nd round.

 

I don't think this team sees the playoffs this season. Do you think Babcock is fired come April 4 when the Leafs are on the outside looking in? (We're at the 1/4 poll now. After a team plays about 1/3 of its season, the "die is cast" so to speak.)

 

 

 

 

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Sandin played his 7th NHL game tonite, picked up 2 assists so he now has 4 points in those games. I saw him use his body 3 times to win or neutralize battles, that's close to 3 more times than Rielly would use his body in any given game.

 

If it's true that the hockey world views Rielly as TO's best d-man and as a perennial potential all-star then I think TO should look for an upgrade on defense by using Rielly. Few teams would trade a legitimate top 2 d-man for a winger such as Nylander. 

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      There aren't too many other players I'd be willing to trade the likes of a Nikita Kucherov for, but Mitch Marner definitely is one of them. Some might think that is crazy, but upon closer inspection, it really wouldn't be. Given Marner's playstyle and ice smarts, I would bet 1, 000 gold Puppas that Mitch would make the PERFECT linemate for one Steven Stamkos. Since Martin St. Louis was traded, the Bolts have yet to find a linemate for Stammer with whom he had the same 'magic' together on

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