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PPP Midseason Roundtable, Part 3: The Future

We've looked at the 2015-16 team, and the 2015-16 players. What about what lies ahead?

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

See Part 1 here.
See Part 2 here.

Today on the PPP roundtable, we talk about what to expect of this team's future here and beyond.

(10) Saturday was Game 43, which means the clock on William Nylander losing his UFA eligibility finally stops ticking. Obviously, he suffered a setback with a concussion at the World Juniors, but once healthy, he will be the subject of questions as to whether he will play for the big club this year.

Do you see Nylander joining the Leafs this season? Why or why not?

KATYA: Yes.  They should get a look at him in the NHL when he’s 100%.

ELSELDO: I’m for sure repeating myself from the start of the year, but I would only bring up Nylander if the Marlies are locked into the playoffs.

SCOTT: Had he not suffered the concussion, I would have said yes. If he rejoins the Marlies quickly and continues his strong play for 10 more games, I’d still say yes. But if his health keeps him off for an extended period of time, then they’re not going to throw him into the NHL and there’s a good chance he finishes what little of the season he has left on a Calder Cup run.

FIDDY; If hes back to 100%, I see no reason not to get him in some games, especially if roster spots begin opening up after the trade deadline.

ACHA; Nylander needs to take his time with the concussion protocol, finish out the season with the Marlies, and join them for their playoff run.

JP: Let him recover from his injury at a level of play he is already prepared to handle. The mood around the Leafs’ dressing room is bound to get darker as players get traded. He’ll have the rest of his career to play for the Leafs and the team doesn’t need any hot streaks screwing up their draft pick.

11) Fill in the blanks, RFA Edition!

Nazem Kadri should get ________________.

SCOTT: Nazem Kadri should get between 4 and 5 million per year, and term.

ELSELDO; Kadri should get 4 years, $22 million.

FIDDY: 5 years, $5.25M AAV.

JP: I have no idea. $5M over four years? Five years? Would that get it done? Maybe $5.5M.

Morgan Rielly should get ________________.

FIDDY; 6 years, $5.75M AAV.

JP: The Jake Gardiner deal. Rielly has had moments of brilliance this year, but I’m less and less certain that he’s going to be the top-pair defender that we hoped for.

ELSELDO: 3 years, $12 million. A bridge type deal that still under pays him because we haven’t bought out UFA years. He’s 24 when it’s over and can cash in on a 6-7 year deal then.

SCOTT: Morgan Rielly should get whatever Morgan Rielly’s little heart desires (within the confines of his first non-ELC contract and the CBA).

(12) How many rookies will be on the Leafs' 2016-17 Opening Night roster? Who?

FIDDY: There will be at least two, but it could be as many as five.

ELSELDO: Four - Marner, Nylander, Brown, Johnson.

ACHA: agree with El Seldo: Marner, Nylander, Brown, Johnson, with the hopes that Marner is not the Leafs’ Jonathan Drouin.

SCOTT: Locks: William Nylander and Mitch Marner.

FIDDY: William Nylander and Mitch Marner are almost certain locks to make the team next fall.

JP: Nylander and Marner, for sure.

SCOTT: This year’s first round pick, Garret Sparks, Connor Brown, and Kasperi Kapanen are strong candidates, and Brendan Leipsic and Andreas Johnson are dark horses.

JP: Connor Brown if he can get healthy and do some damage in the end of the season, and maybe one defender. Kapanen is likely to get a few games next season, but he hasn’t done enough so far to show that he’ll be ready to make the roster out of the gate.

FIDDY: It wouldnt surprise me if Connor Brown could make this team out of camp, and I think Brendan Leipsic may get a look in a depth role.

KATYA: Nylander, Kapanen, Marner, Patrik Laine.

ELSELDO: Whether Marner stays after 9 games is the question. I can see them dragging his 9 games out to the World juniors, then sending him down afterwards.

(13) (EDITOR’S NOTE: in honour of Mats Sundin, this question has been left blank. Please do not write an answer here)

ELSELDO: OKAY

ACHA: OKAY

KATYA: Du är inte chefen över mig.

(EDITOR"S NOTE: you're all jerks.)

(14) Finally, the big one: will Steven Stamkos be a Toronto Maple Leaf in 2016-17?

KATYA: Nope.

SCOTT: Nope.

ELSELDO: Nope.

ACHA: Eyes dot gif.

JP: The odds are against it, I think.

FIDDY: I think it's possible at this point. If he doesn't stay in Tampa, I think playing in his hometown for MIke Babcock and a ton of money is a big sell.

JP: There are just too many other good options for Stamkos, though the Leafs probably have the best chance of any team other than Tampa to have him on the roster come October of next year.

ELSELDO: He either stays in Tampa or somehow ends up a Hab.