The Toronto Maple Leafs Have the Assets for a Blockbuster Move.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are heavily expected to chase unrestricted free-agent Alex Pietrangelo when the NHL’s free-agency period opens up next week.
Pietrangelo represents the best defenseman to come on the open market since Zedeno Chara signed with the Boston Bruins back in 2005. Whatever the risks, its hard to see the Leafs not at least attempting to land Pietrangelo – if you can land a hall of famer defenseman, you’ve got to try.
But if that fails what then?
Well, luckily the Leafs are an extremely deep team, and they have the assets to land another A-Lister without really hurting their team in the process.
Toronto Maple Leafs Potential Blockbuster Trade
The main reason the Leafs were able to move on from Kasperi Kapanen is that they have Alexander Barabanov coming in next year. The Leafs signed Barabanov during the shut-down, and by all accounts he’s (at worst) an NHL player.
Given that Kapanen’s contributions were that of a replacement player, there is really no risk in making the swap.
On the left side, the Leafs, assuming they sign Ilya Mikheyev, have Andreas Johnsson, Nick Robertson, Zack Hyman and Mikheyev. It wouldn’t make any sense from an ice time allocation standpoint to have one of those guys on the fourth line, and the team already has three top-six right wingers.
So, assuming they are comfortable with Nick Robertson and his league minimum ELC, the Leafs have a trade to make. Before considering what kind of package the Leafs could put together, lets consider their blue-line.
On the left side they have Rielly, Muzzin and Sandin (who is way too good to be off the roster, especially at a league minimum salary) and on the right side they’ve got Justin Holl and newcomer Mikko Lehtenon, and (presumably) Travis Dermott.
If the Leafs want to get the high-end player we assume they do, one of those players has to go and the obvious choice is Travis Dermott.
Taken together, the package the Toronto Maple Leafs can offer another team in exchange for a defenseman consists of Zach Hyman, Travis Dermott and a 15th overall pick. The cap hit here is fairly small, the futures are good, and Hyman could likely be flipped to a contender at the deadline if the participating team wishes.
For a package like that, it shouldn’t be very difficult to land the much needed third high-end defenseman. It will be interesting to see what happens.