The Toronto Maple Leafs are rumoured to be currently negotiating ahead of the NHL trade deadline. We fill you in on the latest news on the team.
It’s about this time every year that hockey fans pay close attention to their own squad’s deficiencies and look for them to upgrade while fantasizing about underpaying for a trade to do it. The same is true about the Toronto Maple Leafs whose recent needs have been created from injuries.
Even though the Leafs haven’t yet done anything to address their needs on the blueline, rumours have been heating up that Toronto’s next move will be to get help upfront.
Andreas Johnsson who has been named a potential trade chip for the Leafs appears to now be safe from being moved. That’s because he is the latest victim of the trade bug that has infiltrated the Maple Leafs dressing room. Johnsson will be out for eight weeks with a knee injury. This adds him to the list of Toronto players to miss time until the playoffs.
Toronto Maple Leafs Trade Rumours
There is an unexpected twist to all the injuries. Just like his teammates, Johnsson’s injury means that his salary comes off the books and doesn’t count toward the team’s cap. Johnsson’s salary gets placed on LITR, allowing the Leafs to spend $3.4 million on another player or players.
The belief online is that the Leafs have their sights set on Columbus Blue Jackets right winger, Josh Anderson (not to be confused with the Colorado Avalanche defenseman of the same name). This rumour has also been put out there by hockeybuzz.com.
If Johnsson remains out of the lineup as expected, his cap savings is more than enough to cover Anderson’s $1.85 million AAV.
In September, it began to circulate that Anderson had requested a trade despite his general manager Jarmo Kekalainen making statements to the contrary. “This trade request is news to me,” he said. “And we are not looking to trade Josh Anderson.”
Anderson’s name continues to be used in the rumour mill because he could potentially be gotten for a small return. His stock has dropped significantly due to having a down year. Anderson suffered a shoulder injury in a December fight with Mark Borowiecki of the Ottawa Senators. This caused him to miss several weeks of action as he hasn’t played since.
Anderson has participated in just 26 games this season and scored only once. This is surely a disappointment for both he and the Blue Jackets, especially after Anderson potted a career-best 27 goals last year.
If the Leafs believe that they Anderson, who’s 25-years-old, can return to his previous form once healthy, they might be looking to deal for the winger.
Until the Toronto Maple Leafs are able to find the right forward they have inserted a pair of Toronto Marlies into the lineup. On Sunday they called up Egor Korshkov and Mason Marchment.
Jake Muzzin Contract Extension
As first reported by The Athletic’s James Mirtle (subscription required), the Maple Leafs are currently working on a contract extension with defenseman Jake Muzzin.
He will be turning 31-years-old on Feb. 21, which makes both value and term very important. Muzzin may try and maximize what could be his final contract in the NHL. Mirtle has said that the defenseman is only looking at inking a long-term deal. He expects the contract to last five years at an average value of $5 million.
The negotiations are expected to be completed prior to the NHL trade deadline. While it would mean that Toronto keeps an important player, it might also have the side effect of ending Travis Dermott’s tenure with the club.
The Toronto Maple Leafs may not be able to afford Dermott since he will become a restricted free agent at season’s end. He is due for a big raise, which may not be something Toronto will be able to fit under the salary cap.
With the trade deadline just over a week away, check back here often for the latest Toronto Maple Leafs news and rumours.