It was not supposed to be like this for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
An excellent roster (on paper) that was even better and more balanced than the year before. Instead of starting hot, the Toronto Maple Leafs have been ice cold and have remained so, 19 games into the season.
Few could be colder than newly acquired defenseman Tyson Barrie.
Tyson Barrie is an elite puck moving defenceman who was coming off a career high 59 points last season. With a right shot and a partner like Jake Muzzin, it seemed like Barrie would have another huge year, this time setting up the Toronto Maple Leafs star forwards. Instead, Barrie has looked completely lost (like much of the team) and isn’t playing anywhere near his capability. This team needs a shot in the arm now. Perhaps that could be done with a trade.
I’d love to keep Barrie but perhaps it would be worth seeing what other teams would give up for him. It’s normally not a bad idea to double down on a team’s strengths, but when Tyson isn’t racking up points from the blue line, he’s being wasted. Would a team like Columbus trade Toronto David Savard for him?
From the Toronto Maple Leafs perspective, Savard fits them a number of ways. He’s still an RHD and is a year older than Barrie at 29. He also produces points nowhere near the rate that Barrie does. What he does well, however, is defend. Not in a bruising way, but in a simple. efficient and effective way. Kind of like the Arizona Coyotes’ Niklas Hjalmarsson.
That kind of smart, smooth and effective play is something that would be a huge stabilizing force to Toronto’s back end. Another benefit of having Savard would be that he is signed until the end of next season at a $4.25 million cap hit. Very reasonable.
Think about it– Finally Morgan Rielly would have a good defense partner to play with. Ceci could be moved down the lineup or fired into the sun and Dermott could always be moved to the right if necessary. A top 4 of Rielly, Savard, Muzzin, Dermott sounds real good… And really balanced. The Leafs would also have Savard for at least one more season, reducing any potential contract headaches if he plays well.
Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas could also consider trading Barrie elsewhere if he decides moving Barrie makes sense, but it’s hard to find a better potential fit considering Toronto’s needs. The Maple Leafs could also move one of their depth forwards or expand a potential deal with Columbus to be able to fit Savard under the cap.
Would the Leafs consider trading Barrie for picks or prospects? Seems less likely unless that prospect is NHL ready or they’re recouping a 1st round pick from the one lost in the Patrick Marleau trade.
Columbus could use some scoring and Barrie can help. Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen wants his team in the thick of the playoff hunt every year. Toronto could use some stability, and Savard can help. If Babcock isn’t going to give Barrie much power play time then he’s not using him to his full potential. At least Babcock can’t misuse Savard in the same way if a trade took place. Toronto’s penalty kill could also use the help.
Both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Columbus Blue Jackets need a shake up. If the coach is staying, then a trade is necessary. Here the Maple Leafs have one that makes some sense.