The Toronto Maple Leafs need to make a trade.
Ron Hainsey is past his expiration date and the Toronto Maple Leafs need to make an upgrade.
Sure, they could wait until March and make a move at the trade deadline. The supposed benefit of that are that by then, the contenders and pretenders are revealed and the market will have more players on it.
However, anyone can look at the standings today and make a reasonable guess as to who will make the playoffs, so that line of thinking doesn’t really hold water.
The Toronto Maple Leafs need to upgrade their defense and they should do it now for two reasons. 1) It gives their new team longer to gel, and 2) with more games to play with a better lineup, it gives them a better chance of catching the Lightning.
The Leafs are ten points back of the Lightning with a game in hand. Catching them is unlikely, but not impossible. But it’s worth trying because the Leafs really don’t want to open the Playoffs against the Bruins. Winning the Cup is much more likely to happen if they can overtake the Lightning and open the Playoffs against Buffalo, Montreal or someone from the Metro.
If you look at the current Eastern Conference standings, you’ll notice that the Canadiens are in ninth, just one point out. But after that, the next closets team, the Hurricanes, is nine points out.
They are done. It’s highly unlikely anyone other than Montreal can make a playoff push out of the current non-playoff teams. Not impossible, but super, super unlikely.
In the West, same thing. Of the seven non-playoff teams, only three of them have any reasonable hope of making it into the playoffs, and one of those is the Oilers, so really, that’s two teams.
In the entire NHL, there are only three current non-playoff teams with any chance of making the playoffs, and therefore waiting until the trade deadline to make a move is simply unnecessary.
That is to say that the Toronto Maple Leafs have a pretty good idea of what players are going to be available right now, and there is no benefit to waiting until the end of March to make a move.
It’s obvious that they can’t go into the playoff with their current blueline, so making a move is 100% essential.
Morgan Rielly needs a new partner, and Kyle Dubas needs to make that happen immediately.
Standings from NHL.com
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