Toronto Maple Leafs Trade Deadline Return Speculation

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The Toronto Maple Leafs are going to be sellers at this years trade deadline – whether the management wants to say it publicly or not.

The hot names in the rumor mill are Cody Franson, Daniel Winnik and Mike Santorelli as likely candidates to be moved.

There are others that have popped up including Dion Phaneuf, Phil Kessel, Joffrey Lupul, and Jake Gardiner – but those names are less likely to be dealt by this years deadline.

Let’s take a speculative look at what the return could be for the three hot commodity players as well as a bonus player.

Cody Franson: 2nd Round Pick + Good Prospect/Young NHLer

Franson’s value could move to a first round pick if there is enough interest. That’s especially true if the team looking to acquire him plans to fall in the 25-30 pick range. A deal involving Franson has the potential to include a conditional first round pick (condition being he resigns) as well as a good prospect/young NHLer if the gaining team has the cap room – without making additional moves – to accommodate Franson beyond this year.

Daniel Winnik: 3rd Round Pick

Winnik could fetch a second round pick, or the addition of a work in progress prospect to the 3rd, if the bidding intensifies for his services. That’s going to be determined by how well he plays over the next few weeks and whether or not other teams make moves. A team expecting a conference finals berth could possibly offer a 2nd round choice for Winnik with little risk.

Mike Santorelli: 3rd Round Pick

Like Winnik, Santorelli is depth acquisition only with more offensive upside. The return, though, should be the same. There’s also a possibility that his return goes above solely a third round pick, but if Winnik’s does, Santorelli’s probably won’t. Would the Leafs love a bidding war on both players? Sure, but it’s not probable that there would be significant interest in two depth guys out of Toronto.

James Reimer: 3rd Round Pick

If the Leafs can get a 3rd for Reimer, they need to take it. He’s been underwhelming since Bernier arrived and the cap space from moving him would be much needed. Devan Dubnyk just fetched a 3rd rounder when Arizona traded him, we can expect the same for Reimer. The only problem in Reimer’s situation is not many teams are looking for goaltending help right now. A Reimer deal might be more suited for the offseason.

If Toronto can maximize the return on Franson and one of Winnik/Santorelli while trading all four they could end up leaving the trade deadline with a first, second and two third round picks. That would be a significant win for the Maple Leafs moving forward.

At the end of the day it’s about not losing players for nothing and if you can potentially turn those players into something that might be of worth down the road you do it.

If you think any of these values are insane, I’ll point you to the Douglas Murray trade from the San Jose Sharks to Pittsburgh Penguins only a few years ago. Murray was dealt for two second round picks.

If there is interest, the value of a player can increase beyond what they’re expected to fetch. It certainly did in the Murray deal.

I wouldn’t count out the conspiracy theory approach to Daniel Winnik being dealt at the deadline and returning on July 1st. He’s done a good job in Toronto and the Leafs will miss him next year if they can’t find a player that worked as well in the bottom six as Winnik.

One thing is pretty clear: this season is lost.

Under the watchful eye of Brendan Shanahan – possibly breathing on the back of his neck – Dave Nonis should be working the phones for the rest of February and the first few hours of March to move the upcoming UFA’s.

Next: Weekly Prospect Report