The Mailbag

The Mailbag

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Got a few minutes, so let’s get to some mail:

“Q – So the question is, or hypothetical topic, why don’t the Buds buy a European team as a farm team?  Or a Russian team?  Use those like they do the Marlies.  That way they can squirrel away late round picks and have their guys train/mentor them, and make better assessments of when these late rounders are ready… and that would open up all kinds of hidden gems.  Since the Show has a hard cap, MLSE could use this avenue to better their chances of success and all the memorabilia sales that go with it.”

- Adrian Lok

A – An excellent question, and potentially an avenue that could be explored in more detail by NHL teams someday. Without delving into a long rant, my gut tells me that it would be a tremendous investment in both time and money, and whose potential gain is rather limited. Another consideration is that teams generally only have maybe two or three European players per league anyways, and 90% of these players are already under contract to another European team, so it may not be worth the hassle. Instead, most organizations will assign specific people to oversee that player’s development and speak regularly with his coaches in order to reach a mutual understanding on the best way to improve upon all aspects of that player’s game. The Red Wings in particular, have perfected this strategy. If a team is very concerned that the player’s development is not handled properly, they can always request that said player transfer over to the CHL where it would be easier to keep tabs.

“Q – Can you discuss the benefits and disadvantages of trying to sign James Neal of the stars to an offer sheet worth appx 3 mil per year? Worst case scenario we don’t get him and stars have to make tough decision best case we get him and give a 2nd rounder?”

- Kalman Laufer

A – Keep in mind Kalman that a player must agree to sign the actual offer sheet for that value because regardless of whether or not it’s matched, that will be the salary he will be earning. The advantage of getting Neal to agree to a $3 million offer sheet is that it would address the need for a big, top line scoring winger at a marginal cost. The downside is that it would essentially paralyze the Maple Leafs because the Stars could wait a full week before making a decision. Since the Leafs wouldn’t be able to commit more resources to free agents without knowing how the Neal scenario would play out, the team could miss out on the rest of the market. However, the whole discussion is moot if Dallas matches and I would imagine they would love to have Neal at that kind of money, especially when the alternative is a 2nd round pick.

“If I am right the Leafs have 49 contracts after they sign Marcel Muller and Christian Hanson according to Capgeek. Is that right?”

- Dale Leiska

A – That’s correct. Garrett Bauman has done an excellent job of going over that topic in his recent blog, and the “slide rule” should afford the Maple Leafs with some contract flexibility moving forward.

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