After the Toronto Maple Leafs made a splash in signing Russian forward Alexander Barabanov, they may have shown some of the other tricks that could be up their sleeve.
Nothing is happening in regards to the NHL season returning, but that didn’t stop the Toronto Maple Leafs from signing players.
Barabanov, a 25-year-old right-winger (but also left-handed shot) is a player who provides a lot of upside to his entry-level, $925,000 contract.
First thing’s first, he will likely be moved to the left-wing once training camp gets underway before next season.
That will increase the depth on that side, plus it will likely make Andreas Johnsson more expendable, in regards to a trade.
The 25-year-old Russian forward will be volatile anywhere in the lineup. While hearing that his shot isn’t his best asset, he’s got the skating, speed and even the work-ethic of Zach Hyman to make an impact on the team.
With all of that being said, he’ll likely find a role on the third or fourth line. As that happens, this is what the forward lineup could look like:
Clifford-Engvall-Spezza (You could create a lot of fourth lines with the depth that the Leafs have.)
This lineup reveals the depth within the organization without Johnsson, who could be dealt in the future.
The Barabanov signing indicates there could be more from Kyle Dubas.
In hindsight, this is a minor move that brings more options to the table for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
They now have the chance to trade and get the defenseman they direly need. Who that is still isn’t known, to us at least. This signing could also give Dubas some cap flexibility going into the future, if they trade Johnsson for picks.
Which would mean they could land a defenseman in free-agency, but right now, we have no idea when that will be.
Even if the Toronto Maple Leafs don’t make a trade, this signing brings more depth to the hockey club.
Barabanov could play a significant role on the fourth-line, which could give them one of the deepest lineups in the entire NHL.
Whichever scenario happens — at the end of the day, it makes the Toronto Maple Leafs significantly better.
It also gives Ilya Mikheyev a friend, which he needed and now has on the team.
Dubas has been reportedly trying to sign Barabanov for two years and now has finally got him. Either this is a move to make other moves, or just a depth addition to make the team stronger.
Either way, this is a win for the Toronto Maple Leafs and one that makes this team better right now.