Maple Leafs Mailbag: What’s Jack Campbell’s next contract worth?
All that really matters now is positioning.
The Maple Leafs are on track for 111 points – their best season ever, from a points standpoint – and could still end up in third place and without home ice advantage in the playoffs.
As things stand now they’re tracking towards facing Tampa in the first round. Hardly seems fair getting the two-time Stanley Cup champion right off the bat. But hey, to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best.
Maybe they pass Tampa and get home ice. But they’d still have the second best goalie in the series, regardless if it’s Jack Campbell, Petr Mrázek or Erik Källgren, who, if nothing else, at least knows how to make a good first impression. Andrei Vasilevksiy is that good.
I’d say their chances are better if they face Florida, or even Carolina in the first round. That would require dropping to a wild-card position. There’s also that adage: careful what you wish for.
Wouldn’t it be fun, though– and I mean this — if teams could pick their first-round opponent. I mean, what gripping drama would that make. Finish first, and choose what of the other playoff teams you want to meet. A whole draft around playoff brackets.
To the Mailbag. If you have a question, email me at [email protected] and I’ll answer it in the next Mailbag.
QUESTION: It goes without saying that since Leafs Nation never panics, we all know that Jack Campbell will return soon, immediately reverting to the reincarnation of Turk Broda and sending his next contract soaring into the stratosphere. How does everything that’s been happening in the Leafs net (by Friday, if not Monday, who knows who’ll be new in town?) affect his UFA position for next year, the one-two in goal by September, and the cap?
ANSWER: I think it’s fair to say Campbell’s price has come down to a more reasonable stratosphere. It’s how he does the rest of the way that will be the tell. If he’s terrific, that’s good new short term for the Leafs, but bad news contract-wise, because his price will rise. They can’t really afford an expensive goalie. I’d put him in the $3.5 million range. But if he and Mrázek are both back – I have my doubts — one would think they’d have to pay him more than Mrázek, but I’m sure they could go to $4 million. But all eyes are Erik Källgren now.
QUESTION: Funny how Frederik Andersen is kicking butt in Carolina. Finally got healthy and got out of Toronto. Might have made sense to give him what he wanted money wise. Now it’s like you said, a five alarm fire. I know the Leafs were following the Shanaplan and wondering if they jumped the gun. After last years terrible deadline trades , I can’t think they were following the plan. Maybe management caved in under the Toronto fan pressure ?
This is the team GM Kyle Dubas put together and signing John Tavares was his first mistake, second one William Nylander. Tavares is a great player, hard worker, no doubt. But not needed. I would have kept Nazem Kadri and spent that money on defence. Nylander is a great player when he’s inspired but trade him for goalie, defence.
I enjoy watching the Leafs aka #34 and #16 most nights as they definitely entertain. I’ve been watching them since 1966.
Matthews deserves the Selke just on that play where he backchecked, stripped the opposition of the puck, turned around and takes in the offensive zone and scores. Sorry for the ramble but your thoughts?
Thanks for what you do
ANSWER: Signing Tavares was absolutely not a mistake. If you remember, they did spend Kadri’s money on defence. First Tyson Barrie. Didn’t work out. But Jake Muzzin and T.J. Brodie have. Now Ilya Lyubushkin. Don’t get me wrong. I think Kadri’s terrific. Having a pretty good year (playing for a contract, funny how that works out, eh?) after two sub-par ones in Colorado. But I understand why the trade was made. If you want to go back in time and look at mistakes made during what we’ll call the Matthews era, I’d say signing Patrick Marleau was the big mistake. That was unnecessary, at least at the price he commanded.