It's Friday morning, and our link-aggregating process is undergoing technical difficulties. In the meantime, here are some random opinions that I have.
1. I think, if we have to choose, it would be better to stick with the big three of Matthews-Nylander-Marner and our current defence group rather than trade one of the big three for anything less than a perfect return. In other words, unless we find some GM drunk on the side of the road with an elite 1D, I think it's better to be elite forward heavy than D heavy.
2. Having said that, I'm making moony eyes at Kevin Shattenkirk. I know, I know, you can't fall in love with pending UFAs and even when you do they go elsewhere, and even when you get them it's a bad contract. But he's so good, and he might not cost any assets until he cap crunches us down the road. Even then, he might help the Leafs accelerate their timeline, and ideally this team is making very great strides in the next two years.
3. If we do make an unexpected blockbuster trade, I think the Leafs might consider the 4F-4D split for protection in the expansion draft, rather than the 7F-3D-1G. This is if the major forward going the other way is JVR (or Bozak, or Kadri, but for different reasons JVR seems more likely.) At that point, the Leafs could protect something like Kadri-Komarov-Brown-Leipsic up front, and Gardiner-Rielly-new defender-Carrick on the back end. This question basically winds up as "would you rather risk Connor Carrick or Kerby Rychel", and even when we acquire, oh, I don't know, Dougie Hamilton, I'd probably rather hang onto Carrick. Something to think about.
4. I'd guess the Leafs have a one-in-four shot at a playoff spot this season.
5. Sometimes I glance at my preseason predictions to see how wrong I'm becoming. Some of them I feel good about, some of them not. Two I'm definitely going to be wrong on: I overestimated Matt Martin's point total, because I assumed he was intended to play up the lineup based on his salary and that he'd benefit from elite linemates and ice-time. The other guess was I thought Arizona would sneak into the eighth spot in the West and win Tippett a Jack Adams, and instead they've turned into absolute trash. Mea culpa.
6. Zach Hyman has looked damn good the last couple of games (maybe less so in the Calgary flop, but still.) Just saying.
7. I hate Christmas. I am a Grinch. Ban all Christmas carols forever.
8. The best holidays are those weird, low-stakes ones where you don't really feel any pressure to do anything specific other than just "not do work." If I were Prime Minister I would invent random statutory holidays. April 30th shall henceforth be Auston Matthews Lottery Day, and none shall slave for profit.
Hope y'all are having a lovely Friday. The weather in Toronto is actually pretty nice and we've got a grudge match against the Canucks tomorrow night. The Marlies are also kicking off one of their three-in-three stretches, so it's a weekend for Toronto hockey. Be safe and comment at each other with moderate civility. Go Leafs Go!