The Toronto Maple Leafs Player Movement Checklist Part 2

Zach Hyman, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Zach Hyman, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs have a big autumn ahead of them.

Following a disappointing result against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Toronto Maple Leafs biggest problem is going to be patience.  The media is out for blood and the fans aren’t far behind.

After enduring the incompetence of  Brian Burke, Dave Nonis, and the not great tenure of Lou Lamoriello, you’d think fans would be more patient, but what can you do?

The Leafs are a team on the rise, with at least three future hall of famers, a bunch of depth and some solid rookies on the way up.  What’s not to love?

Anyways, I think we can count on this group staying the course because the one main thing about analytics (or science for that matter) is that you don’t let an unusual result drive your response.  That means that you collect data and make decisions based on the aggregate, not five games that occur five months after you last played, during one of the craziest times the earth has seen in years.

Last summer I made a series of predictions that were so accurate I’m still amazed about it.  Out of ten predictions, eight came true, with only the exit of Jake Gardiner and the retaining of Zach Hyman failing to come to fruition.

With great power comes great responsibility, so try not to lay too much down on the following:

Toronto Maple Leafs Summer Movement Checklist

The Leafs have already signed Alex Barabanov and can expect Nick Robertson to be a regular next season, so the forward lines are going to see some changes.

One change that won’t happen is that the core won’t be touched.  Marner, Nylander, Matthews and Tavares will all be back in Toronto next season.

Andreas Johnson, however will be traded.

As will Zach Hyman, who has only a year left on his deal before becoming a 29 year old free-agent guaranteed to sign a really bad contract. It won’t be with the Leafs.

Kasperi Kapanen has also played his last game as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.  By moving on from all three players the Leafs will create over $10 million in cap savings.

With Mikko Lehtenon and Rasmus Sandin set to patrol the blue line next season, you can definitely say good-bye to Cody Ceci and  Tyson Barrie.

That still leaves too many lefties (Sandin, Rielly, Muzzin, and Lehtonen) so you can expect Travis Dermott to be moved.  Dermott and Hyman packed with a pick or two should net the Leafs the top pairing defenseman they covet. Due to their signing of Justin Faulk and the need to bring back Pietrangelo, the Blues will trade Colton Parayko to the Leafs. 

The six exiting Leafs (Kapanen, Johnsson, Hyman, Dermott, Ceci and Barrie) will save the Leafs close to 16 million after accounting for the additions of Barabanov and Lehtonen.

That leaves lots of money to re-sign Jason Spezza and Kyle Clifford to something around a million dollars each.  Yes, the Leafs will have to forfeit a second round pick to keep Clifford, but I think they will do it.

They will then re-up with Ilya Mikheyev.

They will also sign one of a trio of unrestricted forwards – Mike Hoffman, Tyler Toffoli, or Eugene Dadanov.

So to recap, here are your predictions:

  1. Andreas Johnsson traded
  2. Kasperi Kapanen traded
  3. Zach Hyman traded
  4. Travis Dermott traded
  5. Kyle Clifford re-signed
  6. Jason Spezza resigned
  7. Ceci Allowed to walk
  8. Barrie allowed to walk
  9. Ilya Mikheyev re-signed
  10. Colton Parayko acquired
  11. One of Hoffman, Toffoli, Dadanov signed.

You can expect to see a lineup that looks something like this next season.

Robertson – Matthews – Marner

Nylander – Tavares – Hoffman/Dadanov/Toffolli 

Barabanov – Kerfoot –  Mikheyev

Clifford – Engval – Spezza 

Rielly – Parayko

Muzzin – Holl

Sandin – Lehtonen 

All in all, I think that’s a significant upgrade on where they are today.  As you can see, the Leafs do have the option to upgrade without sacrificing any of their elite talent, and Kyle Dubas’ ability to bring in cheap European players will pay dividends.

Next. The 10 Right Handed Defensive Options for the Leafs. dark

In my opinion, this allows the Leafs to stick to their game plan, while making the necessary moves to get better.   Last year I went 8 for 10, let’s see how I do this year.