The Toronto Maple Leafs Need a defenseman.
Specifically, the Toronto Maple Leafs need a right handed, top pairing defenseman.
Last night on Hockey Night in Canada, during the second intermission, it was reported that the Carolina Hurricanes might make Dougie Hamilton available in trade.
The reasoning was that they have too many right handers, and need scoring.
Toronto Maple Leafs Interest
Now, if Dougie Hamilton is available, you can bet anything you want that the Toronto Maple Leafs would be interested.
Dougie Hamilton is arguably the best defenseman in the NHL. At worst, he’s in a class with Drew Doughty, Victor Hedman, Erik Karlsson, Morgan Rielly, Kris Letang and Marc Giordano.
That’s good company.
Very clearly the Leafs would be interested if he was available, but there are two problems.
The enormous cost to acquire an elite defender, is one.
The other is that the reasoning for the Hurricanes trading him is pretty spurious. They have TOO MANY right handers? So their answer is to trade their best one?
I somehow doubt this. But I guess it’s not impossible.
The Hurricanes should be one of the NHL’s best teams, if you go by advanced stats. Some say they just throw the puck at the net, but a deep look into their stats shows that is just a convenient narrative.
The Hurricanes are a good team getting unlucky and who lack pure finishers. They’re also a cheap team that bailed on the best finisher they had because they knew they weren’t going to be able to re-sign Jeff Skinner.
So while I doubt they’d do it, it’s not impossible they’d trade Hamilton. However, keep in mind that last summer they paid the enormous price of Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin to acquire him.
Hamilton is 25 and has a dirt-cheap cap-hit of $5.75 million for two more years.
With two years on the contract and the Canes unlikely to make the playoffs this year, it does make some sense to trade him now when his value will never be higher, assuming they can make a profit on what they paid for him in the summer.
To make this happen, the Leafs would have to offer Timothy Liljegren, Kasperi Kapanen and a first round pick. Even then, I doubt the Hurricanes would accept that, as I do not think Liljegren and Kapanen come close enough to Lindholm and Hannifan that a first rounder in the 27-31 range makes up the difference.
You’d probably have to add Carl Grundstrom and a second first round pick to that package, just to make them think about it.
That’s an awfully high price to pay, however the reward is that it would make the Leafs one of the best teams ever assembled.
If I’m in charge, I make the trade. We’re talking about a player two years younger than Drew Doughty, who makes half the salary and is every bit as good. This wouldn’t just put the Leafs over the top, it would make them among the best teams ever assembled in the history of the NHL.