With the 2018 NHL trade deadline approaching, the Toronto Maple Leafs are in an fascinating placement. A good circumstance could be designed for them to be potential buyers, sellers, or even to do absolutely nothing. Here are the Leafs’ top 3 possibilities for the impending NHL trade deadline and the initially possibility is to make a enormous splash with a blockbuster offer.
Possibility 1: Trade for Erik Karlsson
Whole disclosure, when I started composing this short article I experienced this possibility in the vicinity of the bottom of the list of players I was thinking of and just about as a joke, but by the system of composing it, I have managed to influence myself that this is the way to go.
The Leafs’ path to the Stanley Cup will include things like playing towards the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators (or a little something similarly tough) and Toronto would not have house-ice advantage towards any of them. That is a tall undertaking and none of the players on TSN’s trade bait board would make a enormous variance.
Check with you, would including Mike Eco-friendly or Mark Letestu or Jack Johnson boost the Leafs’ probabilities of receiving by that gauntlet of strong teams to acquire the Stanley Cup? Is that compact uptick in their probabilities really worth supplying away draft picks or potential customers? I say no. That kind of negativity can direct you to want the Leafs to be sellers and trade away pending unrestricted free of charge brokers James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak and Leo Komarov for some draft picks. I really don’t like that possibility possibly.
The Leafs’ probabilities of winning the Cup may possibly not be good but they are not zero possibly. Anytime you can make the playoffs you have a opportunity. There are also a lot of wingers for sale proper now, such as Rick Nash, Evander Kane, Max Pacioretty and Mike Hoffman. With that expertise accessible, the price of a winger at the deadline will be driven down and JVR and Komarov won’t get sufficient of a return to make it really worth supplying them up this yr.
So, if buying a rental is not the most effective possibility and offering is not possibly, that signifies the most effective thing to do is absolutely nothing, proper? Perhaps flip Josh Leivo for a fourth line centre and simply call it a working day? That is in all probability what WILL happen at the trade deadline, but what Ought to occur is much extra enjoyment to take into consideration.
Let us converse about following year for a instant. With JVR, Bozak, Komarov, Dominic Moore and Roman Polak coming off the publications, the Leafs will have some cap house, but it will be really tough to spend it offered the reality that Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner will both be owing significant raises in 2019. The free of charge agent course is also weak, assuming John Tavares does not want to signal a one-yr offer with Toronto and John Carlson re-symptoms with the Washington Capitals. The Leafs will be worse following year unless of course Lou Lamoriello can make a trade at the deadline or this summer.
That is the place Erik Karlsson arrives in. Relatively than expending the following two years content material with only generating the playoffs, the Maple Leafs can turn into Stanley Cup contenders by including an elite defenceman with a heritage of lights it up in the playoffs.
Karlsson is the perfect addition to the Leafs roster as he’s a proper-capturing defenceman who will improve the electric power engage in, penalty destroy, five-on-five, 4-on-4, 3-on-3 and any other mixture. He would virtually make the Leafs superior at all the things. He’s also signed by following year on a crew-helpful agreement.
I regarded as Drew Doughty and Oliver Ekman Larsson in this place as properly, but I think that the Kings won’t trade Doughty offered they’re in their very own playoff race and it is tough to convey to how very good Ekman-Larsson genuinely is and what he’d be like in the playoffs offered the reality that his crew has been terrible just about his total occupation.
To date, the Senators have claimed that Karlsson will not be traded and perhaps they believe that they can get a superior haul for him in the offseason but they ought to trade him at some point. It is pretty distinct that Karlsson will not re-signal with Ottawa offered the reality that he’s explained he won’t consider a hometown lower price and Eugene Melnyk feels he now spends also much on the Senators.
In get to entice the Senators to trade Karlsson now in its place of hold out, the Leafs will have to fork out an particularly substantial price. I assume they would have to portion with some mixture of various initially and 2nd-spherical draft picks, Connor Carrick, Garret Sparks or Calvin Pickard and Josh Leivo or Nikita Soshnikov.
The cost will be agonizing but the Leafs can manage it as their pipeline of potential customers is now strong with Andreas Johnsson, Timothy Liljegren, Justin Holl, Jeremy Bracco and Miro Aaltonen all playing for the AHL’s most effective crew, the Toronto Marlies (extra on the Leafs potential customers down underneath in possibility 3).
Possibility Two: Trade for Derick Brassard
Sticking with the Senators as a trade spouse and with a player that is signed by following year as properly, Derick Brassard could swap Tyler Bozak as the Leafs’ 2nd/third line centre. Bozak’s struggles this year haven’t been publicized normally as the media has decided on to aim on the momentary slumps of players like William Nylander, Mitch Marner and Nazem Kadri, but he’s only on pace for 40 points, which is properly off of his common 50 points per year.
Brassard is having a down yr offensively as properly but he’s much superior than Bozak in his very own finish and he would deliver a ton of playoff expertise, having designed it to at least the Convention Finals the moment with the Senators previous year and two times with the New York Rangers in 2014 and 2015. Brassard has executed particularly properly in those people playoff runs, with 55 points in 75 occupation games.
If you’re asking yourself why the Senators would even take into consideration trading with a division rival, these trades will only support the Maple Leafs for the following two seasons seasons that the Senators will be expending closer to the bottom of the standings rebuilding, and trading with the Maple Leafs will support replenish some of the foreseeable future property Ottawa shed in the Matt Duchene trade earlier this yr.
Possibility Three: Trade Josh Leivo for a Centre Prospect
If you believe that that this year is however about attaining expertise for Toronto’s younger core and the Leafs are considerably extra probable to acquire the Cup in 2020 or further than, than this is the possibility for you. Josh Leivo requested a trade, having played just 25 games in the earlier two seasons and offered how he’s dealt with the circumstance he warrants to get his wish.
The acceptable return in a Leivo trade would be a mediocre draft decide or a prospect and the Leafs’ concentrate on for that prospect ought to be a centre.
When thinking of their pool of potential customers, it is strong at every single placement but centre:
- Goaltenders: Garret Sparks and Calvin Pickard
- Defencemen: Travis Dermott, Timothy Liljegren, Andreas Borgman, Calle Rosen, Justin Holl, Eemeli Rasanen
- Wingers: Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson, Nikita Soshnikov, Kerby Rychel, Jeremy Bracco, Carl Grundstrom
- Centres: Miro Aaltonen, Frederik Gauthier…..
The centres are missing, to say the least.
No Rentals for the Maple Leafs?
I purposely still left Mike Eco-friendly or any other pure rental players off of this list. The compact uptick in the Leafs’ probabilities of winning a Stanley Cup this year wouldn’t be really worth the property Toronto would have to give up. Adding a defenceman would also drive possibly Connor Carrick or Travis Dermott out of the starting up roster and avoiding them from attaining playoff expertise is counterproductive.