On Episode 3 of the MLHS podcast, Ian Tulloch and Anthony Petrielli discussed the Alex Galchenyuk trade and the rumours of the Leafs’ interest in Mikael Granlund.
MLHS Podcast – Episode 3
Tulloch: In his rookie year, it was one of the few years where Alex Galchenyuk wasn’t a trainwreck defensively statistically. We saw a talented kid who off the rush had some offensive ability. But every coach has gotten frustrated because he doesn’t buy into the team concept, especially defensively. Is the story going to be any different in Toronto? Probably not, but are there any signs for optimism that he could maybe fill in somewhere they can use him?
Petrielli: I am not going to hold my breath on him at all, but the cost was low and they are gambling on the upside. It is what it is, although I will say as an aside that I liked Korshkov. Where he was drafted [2nd round pick in 2016] is a hot-button topic and I totally get that, but he scored well in the AHL, he is scoring well in the KHL this year, he played one game with the Leafs and scored in that game. I think he could be a serviceable player in the league. He can move around and he is a big dude who has a goal-scoring knack at the rate that suggests he could play at least a litlte bit in the league.
Tulloch: I didn’t think he could skate, personally. Whenever you draft a 6’4 guy with skating deficiencies and you are leaving the 5’8 guy who tore up the OHL off your board, those decisions always frustrated me. But the Leafs weren’t the only team to pass on Alex DeBrincat. A lot of teams did and they were wrong to do so.
Petrielli: That’s fair. Pierre Engvall was the same way, though. He was basically drafted because he was big and they kind of figured out his stride. I don’t even know if he wants to come over to North America. My guess is no, but I do think he at least had potential.
All of that said, all we are talking about is a potential third- or fourth-line guy who is big and might be able to score the odd goal in exchange for a guy who is legitimately talented and also pretty big himself.
The thing with Galchenyuk is that it is more of an indictment of the depth they have already constructed. They are coming to the realization that basically everybody else in the world had already come to which is that Jimmy Vesey isn’t very good, and that is putting it nicely. Who are their depth guys and where is their depth scoring? Let’s roll the dice on Galchenyuk and see if it works.
Tulloch: Is he going to play on a line with Tavares and Nylander now? I am not sure if that would work. But you are running out of options. Things aren’t working. Ilya Mikheyev hasn’t looked great there. Jimmy Vesey didn’t work there. You could try Kerfoot there and move Thornton to third-line center.
Galchenyuk is a player who struggles defensively but has some offensive talent. On this Leafs team, there could be a role here potentially. The idea is that you need to bring in a left-winger — a player who can contribute in the top nine.
Mikael Granlund is someone Elliotte Friedman brought up as someone he thought Toronto would be interested in. I know that the cap hit would make it a bit difficult, but what are your thoughts on Granlund?
I always liked him as a passer. He was always one of those guys, when you watched him at international events, who I liked his playmaking and creativity. He is one of those guys where coaches are yelling at him to shoot the puck — kind of like Alex Wennberg; you wish he would shoot it a bit more — but I always liked his creativity.
It didn’t work out quite as well as Nashville would have hoped. He looked better in Minnesota. I
Petrielli: I really like Granlund as a player. He is super crafty. I have a lot of times for guys who are crafty and creative. They do interesting things on the ice to open things up for teammates. I am all about that.
My question would more be: Do we think that Tavares and Nylander are a left-winger away from being a good line? Or do those guys just not work that well together and they need to give it a rethink as to the overall makeup of the forward group?
Do you think they are a Mikael Granlund away from being a good line?
Tulloch: In theory, Tavares, Nylander and anyone should be a good line. That is what the Leafs were hoping for when they allocated most of their resources towards bringing in TJ Brodie and realized they are going to go cheap on forward because of the superstars who can play with anyone. But Tavares and Nylander haven’t been able to play with just anyone this year.