Toronto Maple Leafs: Keep Or Trade?


Let’s play a game. It’s called Trade or Keep.

The rules are simple. Take every regular member of the Toronto Maple Leafs roster and say whether they will be traded by the trade deadline or kept at least until the end of the season. For now, we are not taking into account the off-season. That could come with a whole lot more shaking up the core of the roster. The team we suit up in the Blue & White next season could be vastly different than the one that finishes this one. After all, a team cannot trade every member of their roster during the season.

So lets begin.

Phil Kessel – Keep

Remember, this is just until the trade deadline. Kessel might very well be traded in the off-season. However, he would be difficult to move in before the deadline. Any team in playoff contention, even if they would like to add scoring, probably doesn’t have the cap room to bring in Kessel.

James van Riemsdyk – Keep

Even if the Leafs go into a rebuild, they would be wise to hang on to JVR. If the Leafs roster were to be reduced to a bunch of rookies, van Riemsdyk is old enough that he could serve as a leader to the team. He would also be young enough to fit right in with the team.

Tyler Bozak – Trade

As Phil Kessel goes, so does Bozak. So, even though Bozak had a pretty good start to the season, he has pretty much dried up at this point. As some members of the media have pointed out, Bozak’s cap hit could be take on by contending teams, where he could serve as a pretty good second-line center.

Nazem Kadri – Keep

If the Leafs are looking for players aged 22-25 in returns for their own players, it wouldn’t make much sense to trade one of their own. Kadri might enrage Leafs’ fans more than few times but the Leafs can give him at least one more year to give him a chance to be more consistent. His play warrants another bridge contract so he will probably be cheaper to retain than first thought.

Mike Santorelli – Trade

The play of Santorelli would definitely warrant the Leafs retaining him, but if the Leafs are going to build through the draft, it would be good to pile up some draft picks. Santorelli is one of those players that could net the Leafs a third-round pick, maybe even a second-rounder.

Daniel Winnik – Trade

See Mike Santorelli.

Leo Komarov – Keep

The Leafs brought in Komarov to bring some antagonism to the team, something they were missing the previous season. Even with his injury troubles this year, it would be unwise to trade the fan favourite.

Peter Holland – Keep

Holland has proven to be a very useful player for the Leafs. He can play both sides of the game, something that not all Leaf forwards can do. No reason to trade him.

Joffrey Lupul – Trade

There’s an interest around the league so if the Leafs can find a good return for him, they have to make a deal. While Lupul has always been pretty good for the Leafs when he has been healthy, he hasn’t been healthy enough. If a team wants to take him, let him go.

David Clarkson – Keep

This one’s by force. No one is going to take on the contract Clarkson has. It would be hard to find anyone that would even take on half his contract. He’s also can’t be bought out because of the massive signing bonus in his contract.

Trevor Smith – Keep

The Leafs wouldn’t get much of a return for their fourth-line center. So what would be the point?

David Booth – Keep

Booth hasn’t been really been given a fair shake this season. Even though he’s an unrestricted free agent, the Leafs will have to hang on to him because of the small sample size he has this season.

Richard Panik – Keep

After being picked up on waivers early in the season, Panik has been another reliable player for the Leafs. He might not be producing all that much, but he also doesn’t make many mistakes. That’s valuable.

Dion Phaneuf – Keep

Again, this is just for the trade deadline. I firmly believe that Phaneuf has the strongest chance of being dealt in the off-season of any of the big names. Who would be the Leafs next captain? Who knows.

Cody Franson – Trade

There is no question that Franson’s days in a Leafs uniform are numbered. There’s no way the Leafs can afford his contract demands. The fact that he is Leaf that would garner the best return in a trade just increases those chances.

Morgan Rielly – Keep

Yeah, not happening.

Jake Gardiner – Trade

While, I’m sort of contradicting myself in saying the Leafs should keep Kadri and trade Gardiner, let me explain. The Leafs are deeper in quality defense prospects than they are in forward prospects. Gardiner should bring in some interest, it’s just about finding a team that can take on the contract. He might be more likely to be moved in the off-season, but it’s quite possible for him to be moved before March.

Stephane Robidas – Trade

There have been rumors that he might be available. I say, if there’s a team that wants him, let him have him.

Roman Polak – Keep

While there have been rumblings around him as well, but Polak might get the Leafs more of a return at next year’s deadline as his contract runs for another season. It would be smart for the Leafs to hang on to him until they can get the most for him.

Korbinian Holzer – Trade

He’s a young defenseman that could serve as a depth defenseman for any contending team. At least worth a third-round pick for the right team.

Jonathan Bernier – Keep

The Leafs acquired Bernier to be their starting goaltender. They won’t be giving him on yet. Even with his poor play last month, there’s no reason to trade him this year, or even next.

James Reimer – Trade

This one has been inevitable ever since the day Bernier was acquired. With the Leafs set to tear down the roster to some degree, Reimer’s time as a Leaf is coming to a close.