This doesn't solve any issues for the next two or so seasons, but I watched a lot of Marlies live this year, and the growth I saw in the blue line was encouraging. Won't necessarily be enough, but the D issues may get better in a bit. Marincin, Lilligren, and Rosen all had impressive stretches of play this AHL season. Marincin may need a bit of coaching to get his transitions to NHL level, Lilligren needs another year with the Marlies and to physically develop more, but the best is yet to come.
Yeah, it’s good, no doubt about it. They’ve got some help coming in the future.
But like you said, it doesn’t solve their current issues. The Leafs aren’t in slow-build mode now, with the steps they’ve taken and the addition of Tavares. They need NHL defensemen, and right now, they’re light on those. I would love to see one or two of the Marlies step up next season and shoulder some of the load, but I don’t want to have to count on that happening. It’s the same reason I’m against penciling rookies into a top-six forward or top-four defense position. In my opinion, if you’re counting on a young guy to come in and have a career season, you’re not doing your job. You want those guys to win jobs, and not get pressed into something they’re not ready for. It happened with Dermott last season. There’s an adjustment period, and I’d rather do what I can to bring in an established player who we know without a doubt can provide what’s needed and let the younger guys keep developing.