Maple Leafs Joffrey Lupul: Anatomy Of A Trade

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Joffrey Lupul is cursed by the Hockey Gods when it comes to injury, but he can still shoot the puck and create offence at an elite level. Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve started a new weekly feature here at ; breaking down the anatomy of a trade involving a different piece of the Leafs core every week. We’ll look at rumoured trades and teams that insiders say are interested, as well as one or two that haven’t been mentioned but make sense from a prospect/salary cap/team need perspective. We’ll break down what the Leafs would need for each player and then break down possible trades with each of the rumoured teams.

Where has Joffrey Lupul been the last 28 games? For once, he hasn’t been out with one of his freak “how is this even possible” injuries; he hasn’t been out with a blood infection, or broken hand from a teammates slap-shot, or any of the other injuries resulting from the curse that has obviously been placed upon his body by the Hockey Gods. He has been in the lineup and in a top 9 role for most of the Leafs 2015 calendar year. Since the calendar flipped to 2015, Lupul has managed to post; 1 Goal and 3 Assists good for 4 Points in 28 games played.

Those would be passable numbers for a 4th line player, or even a really defensively sound 3rd line one, but Lupul isn’t either of those. Lupul isn’t on this team to be a bottom 6 forward, he is here to score and be an emotional leader in the dressing room – which, based on the Leafs 2015 record, is another area he has been miserably failing in. Now, even despite the last terrible 28 games, Lupul for the 2014/15 season has still produced at a 1st line rate of goals/60minutes and points/60minutes, so he does still carry value around the league.

Joffrey Lupul is Toronto’s resident pretty boy. He’s fashionable (according to Elle Magazine, Maclean’s and in the know Fashionistas), he is personable and friendly towards the media – which is why despite being on a miserable 28 game stretch of play he has barely been criticized in the media as opposed to Kessel and Phaneuf who have both been ripped apart piece by piece. He is a likeable guy that you always want to cheer for and give the benefit of the doubt too … except when you are paying that guy 5.25M per year for another three seasons after this one ends.

Just to do some math for you, the Leafs are paying Lupul around 250K per point and around 525K per goal. Clearly, this is not the Lupul of two years ago with 67 points in 66 games played. The firecracker with the quick smile who helped kept the dressing room loose and the media off of Kessel and Phaneuf’s collective backs. This is no longer the clutch goal scorer, and potent passer who made fans by the thousands fall in love with him and get his name on the back of their jerseys. This version of Joffrey Lupul needs to go.

Let us assume that Lupul wants out and that the Leafs want to move him this summer, possibly as early as the NHL entry draft. What would the Leafs need back for such an obviously talented but inconsistent, injury cursed, declining forward? What teams would be interested? Which of those teams actually have the right fit, in terms of cap space, prospects/picks/young roster players and need for a veteran scoring winger?

Let’s take a look.

Next: What Is Lupul Worth?