The Value-Laden Free-Money Trade the Toronto Maple Leafs Have to Make

The Toronto Maple Leafs are on a three game winning streak.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are doing well, and given the stats, the early season schedule and injuries problems, not to mention their all-star roster, they are bound to do even better.

But that doesn’t mean they should stop improving.

The Las Angeles Kings recently made the rather bizarre decision to healthy scratch Tyler Toffoli, and if he’s available, the Leafs should be interested.

Toronto Maple Leafs Should Trade for Toffoli

You might find yourself reading this and thinking that the Leafs already have enough good scoring forwards.

That just isn’t true – you can never have too many. If you can add talent to your roster, you add talent to your roster.  Doesn’t matter where.

Balance is a myth of the hockey past.  Since only 5 players ever play at the same time, there’s usually always room for improvement.

A balanced line is important in that players should have complimentary skill-sets in order to best play with each other, but the idea that the Leafs have enough scoring and should balance it out by trading some of that for defense is 100%.

We should be thinking of balance in terms of lines and pairings, not team-wide.  Sure the Leafs have a ton of scoring on their top two lines, but you can improve their scoring elsewhere for sure.

Challenging these lines of thinking is what got Kyle Dubas to where he is, and don’t expect him to change any time soon. With this in mind, the Toronto Maple Leafs should pursue the LA Kings Tyler Toffoli.

Tyler Toffoli is 27 years old.  He is four years removed from his career high 31 goal season, but he did score 24 two years ago before falling to 13 last year.  He also has a crazy-low shooting percentage that is driving his numbers to be way lower than they deserve to be.

This year he has just four goals and eight points in 15 games. (Chart from evolving-hockey.com).

Tyler Toffoli won’t win you a scoring title and he won’t win the Selke, but he’s a way above average player.  He can score goals, defend, kill penalties and play on the PP.

Toffoli isn’t your typical power-forward, but he’s got some grit, and he is a very good play driver.   He’s been an extremely strong puck possession player throughout his career, and as you can see from the chart above, he provides good defense as well.

Toffoli is a free-agent after this season, and his cap hit is the same as Cody Ceci’s.  The Leafs could buy low on Toffoli and sell high on Kapanen.  It’s an option.  One of many.

Given that he was a recent healthy-scratch (a pretty bizarre decision) and a pending UFA, the cost to acquire would not be high.   He is a right winger, but whose to say he couldn’t play the left side?  And if can’t, maybe other’s on the roster can.

He would certainly add some juice to the moribund second power-play unit, and a third line of Mikheyev-Kerfoot-Toffoli would be excellent.  Even if one of Toffoli or Kapanen was on the fourth line, you could play them more, rest your stars sometimes, and give the coach a ton of options.

Where he would fit in the lineup, and who would move to make room for him is besides the point.  There is a 25 goal scorer available who is shooting under 5% for over a year now, and who is a) probably available cheaply and b) way better than his counting numbers indicate. (all stats naturalstattrick.com).

Next: Top 5 Ways to Make the Leafs Better

This is a perfect buy low value situation.  The Toronto Maple Leafs can pick a player up for pennies on the dollar compared to his actual skill level.  I’m not saying they desperately need him, but whenever there’s a chance to reap the rewards of other teams acting in an un-smart fashion (to be nice) you’ve got to take advantage.

 

 

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