Sports Mailbag—January 26, 2012

January 27, 2012 No Comments »

Does the contract extension of John Michael Liles make anybody on the Leafs expendable?

—Michael Teitelbaum

The short answer to your question is yes.

I have been thinking for a while now that with the plethora of talent that the Leafs have on defence, somebody on the Leafs would be on their way out. And now, with his brand new $15.5 million, four-year contract extension, that odd man out clearly won’t be John Michael Liles. Looking at the Leafs’ depth chart, I would say that the odd man out would be Luke Schenn.

With the emergence of rookie sensation Jake Gardiner, the previously deemed “untouchable” Luke Schenn by general manager Brian Burke may see himself on the trading block by the deadline. The young star not only has the highest trade value of all the Leafs’ defencemen, but his play has slumped as of late after not being able to adapt to the weight he packed on during the off-season.

Though Schenn’s play is not as bad as someone like Mike Komisarek, the contract of Komisarek would see potential buyers not getting enough bang for their buck.

Furthermore, even though Brian Burke is a fan of Schenn, he has made it abundantly clear that he will not hesitate to make any trade that will improve the future of the Maple Leafs franchise.

I have no doubt in my mind that Burke is keeping busy and is continuing his ongoing quest to bring a top-line talent to the buds. I know of many teams are in need of a defenceman, and having Schenn would definitely help them out. If an opportunity arises to trade for a top-line talent, Burke will have no problem pulling the trigger, even if it means sending somebody like Schenn away.

 

What do you think of Patrick Chan joining the 300 club at Canadian nationals? How do you think he’ll fare at Worlds?

—Skater Fan

 

I think that Patrick Chan being the sole member of the 300 club—a feat that I didn’t think could be accomplished—is an amazing accomplishment and I think that we should be proud to call him a Canadian.

Chan skated with poise and each one of his seven jumps—including two quads—was flawlessly executed. Even though his score of 302.14 will only stand as a Canadian record—because the scores at Nationals tend to be a little inflated—it sets a precedent.

I think the 2011 Lou Marsh award winner will have his work cut out for him at Worlds. Chan will have to face off against Russian superstar Evgeni Plushenko, which will surely be a tough match. Plushenko is a talented skater to say the least, but Chan is riding a huge wave of momentum. Chan is near the top of his game at the moment so don’t be surprised if he’s is in the running for gold at the Worlds as he continues to represent the true north strong and free with strong programs.

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