If I were in Kyle Dubas’ shoes, I wouldn’t be too active with trading at the moment. Yet, I would still scan the trade market to see if the Toronto Maple Leafs might be able to add a right-handed defenseman.
In terms of right-handed defensemen, I would talk to the Arizona Coyotes about Niklas Hjalmarsson and the New York Islanders regarding Ryan Pulock.
Let’s start with Pulock. All-in-all, he hasn’t had a great start to the season. After 9 games played, he has 1 assist, 22:58 ATOI, 14 blocks, 10 hits and a 37.3 Corsi-for percentage (CF%). His numbers aren’t great, but perhaps a change in scenery will be good for Pulock. In addition, he’s still very young and has a tremendous amount of upside. While he could be costly, the right time to buy Pulock is now. After nine rough games, the Islanders’ asking price is most likely lower than usual. Plus, he doesn’t carry a sizable salary cap hit. He’s on the hook for 2 million USD for this season and next.
On the other hand, Niklas Hjalmarsson would be a solid addition to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
He does carry a 4.1 million USD cap hit, but he’ll be a free agent at the end of the season. Currently, the Arizona Coyotes have been deploying Hjalmarsson on their third line pairing and most likely wouldn’t be opposed to moving the Swede for another forward to bolster up their offense. So far this season, Hjalmarsson has been solid not great, but solid. In 10 games played, he has 1 assist, a 18:59 ATOI, 17 blocks, 4 hits and a 47.2 CF%.
With a right-handed defenseman like Hjalmarsson or Pulock rocking a blue and white jersey, the Toronto Maple Leafs would be much better defensively.