The common belief among Toronto Maple Leafs fans is that the team needs to upgrade their blue line.
But the Toronto Maple Leafs should trade for a forward, not a defenseman.
There are three reasons for this:
- Their defense is fine, and can will be better when they call up Rasmus Sandin
- Adding an elite player to your roster has the same effect no matter what position that player plays.
- The affordable, elite player that is available to them is a forward.
The Player the Toronto Maple Leafs Need
The Player the Leafs need is Taylor Hall. I wrote about this before, but I am reiterating it today. The Devils are not making the playoffs, he isn’t re-signing there, and therefore he’s available.
His $6 cap hit is also a steal.
And the Leafs have players the Devils would want to help in their rebuild.
Also, Hall is a left winger, the weakest position in the Leafs lineup.
Hall makes only $1.5 more than Cody Ceci, so fitting him into the lineup wouldn’t be too hard.
But what about….
The Back-Up Goalie
It’s a waste of limited funds to address the back-up goalie. Hutchinson is perfectly capable, he’s just had some bad luck and been used in some bad situations. There really is no discernible difference between him and whoever you can get on the cheap.
The Blue Line
No need to add here. Rielly/Sandin, Dermott/Barrie, Muzzin/Holl It’s a fantastic lineup.
So Taylor Hall?
An elite left winger on a line with Matthews and Nylander will make that the best line in hockey. It will give the Toronto Maple Leafs something to compete againt the Bruins top line with.
Plus, when you follow that up with a second line that features Hyman-Tavares-Marner, you’re going to be unbeatable.
The Leafs can send Andreas Johnson, Jeremey Bracco and Timothy Liljegren to the Devils, along with Cody Ceci to make the cap work. Additionally they can send the Devils their 2021 first round pick, and whatever subsequent picks it takes to get the deal done.
With Ceci gone, the Leafs defense will improve, and with Taylor Hall on their team they’d have the best forwards ever assembled in the cap era, and they’d be nearly unstoppable.
Imagine a lineup that features Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews, John Tavares, William Nylander and Taylor Hall?
I realize it’s a longshot, but this kind of out-of-the box thinking is exactly how you win championships. If there was a defenseman of Taylor Hall’s ability available, I’d say get him.
But I don’t think there is. This is the best player available, and the Toronto Maple Leafs should act on it.