Toronto Maple Leafs: Roundtable Mock Trade/Draft Selection

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Torrin Batchelor

The Trade:

I am still going to hold out hope that the reports of the Leafs wanting a 1st round pick involved  for Bozak, Phaneuf, Kessel, JVR and Kadri. If that is still the case then for a 2nd round pick we’d be left looking at Roman Polak, Joffrey Lupul or Peter Holland. Since Holland’s play of late seems to be lending itself towards being apart of the core going forward, let’s take him off the list reported that the Blues and Leafs had seriously talked about shipping Lupul to the Blues, but the deal couldn’t be finalized over concerns about Lupul’s injury history and larger cap hit (5.25M for 3 more seasons after this one).

I propose the Leafs trade:

Note: Maple Leafs retain 1.25M of his [Lupul] 5.25M cap hit, so 4M for three more seasons.

Reasoning for Blues:

Lupul is not an injury prone player, but he is cursed by the hockey gods and that lowers his value no matter which way you look at it. By retaining some money on his larger cap hit the Leafs help assuage some of the risk in the deal on behalf of the Blues. The St.Louis Blues most pressing issues when it comes to not advancing in the playoffs the last few seasons have been No.1 goaltending and No.2 the ability to score goals.

While neither Polak or Lupul will help with No.1, Lupul will arguably become the teams 4th best offensive forward behind Tarasenko, Schwartz and Steen immediately. Lupul plays with the kind of chip on his shoulder that Coach Hitchcock likes and has a proven track record of being able to score when put with the right line mates. In Roman Polak the Blues resolve a hole they created on their own blue line when they traded him away in the first place, that beastly physical play and ability to clear the front of the net.

The Blues went out and got Michalek from Phoenix to try and patch that hole, but he and Barrett Jackman are both UFA’s at seasons end and will need to be replaced. Polak is the devil the Blues know, and brings the kind of snarly, heart and soul presence the team doesn’t have on its backend.

Reasoning For Leafs:

Patrick Berglund is the type of unheralded defensively responsible player that Randy Carlyle was begging for the last few seasons. He isn’t a big scorer, but has some okay hands and is a good skater. He is the kind of safe, veteran presence you want in your lineup when you are bringing a bunch of young kids into the fold. Also his 3.7M cap hit balances off nicely with Lupul so the fit is a natural one.

More from Editorials

Ty Rattie is a potential goal scoring machine just chomping at the bit to get a shot in the NHL. This might seem like an odd add on for a team that is hurting for goal scoring, but with Tarasenko, Schwartz and Jaskin all in front of him on the depth chart, and Ken Hitchcock not known for being a big fan of lots of young players on his team – his NHL futures with the Blues seem a little far off.

He is fast, he can score and score in bunches and he’s borderline NHL ready right now, as opposed to many of the Leafs young prospects who could use at least another year with the Marlies (Yes, i’m looking at you Connor Brown and William Nylander).

The Leafs at the deadline managed to get almost an entire drafts worth of picks for rental players, but have no pick in the 2nd round due to the Jonathan Bernier deal. With the Leafs lacking high end blue chip prospects in their system, an emphasis on high picks has to have been place inside the organization. Getting as many picks inside the first 2 rounds over the next 3-5 years will be paramount to the Leafs potential success.

Draft Selection

Next: Three Low-Cost Trade Targets