The Toronto Maple Leafs recently are most likely done with their off-season tinkering.
From the time Covid stopped the NHL in March, to the recent draft and free-agent period, the Toronto Maple Leafs have been extremely busy with signings and trades. Though they resisted performing major surgery on their roster, they made at least one significant roster upgrade (T.J Brodie over Tyson Barrie), got deeper, and improved both their odds of being harder to play against and their chances of finding an outlier season of elite hockey from a player starting at the fringe of the roster.
It all adds up to a great offseason, but should we be expecting any more action before the puck drops in some as of yet undetermined month in a, hopefully, but by no means guaranteed to be near, future month or year?
I guess you never know, but I doubt it.
Toronto Maple Leafs Probably Done
I would figure that the Leafs are probably done, but there is always the chance another team calls with something that turns out to be irresistible.
The Leafs have no real path to regular ice-time to players you’d really like to see playing a regular role (both for developmental and salary cap purposes) in Nick Robertson, Rasmus Sandin and Travis Dermott.
Nick Robertson, as many commenters were quick to remind me last week, cannot play in the AHL due to agreement with the CHL that says any eligible non-NHL players need to play Canadian Junior and not American Professional. Instead of having Nick Robertson score 844 goals in a so-dumb-they-should-just-not-play bodycheckless OHL, the Leafs have to play him in the NHL.
You can’t escape the fact that the Leafs have let a veritable all-star team walk in free agency in recent years (despite this sometimes actually being the smart play, it does look bad). You can’t escape the fact that Zach Hyman is a pending UFA and is exactly the type of player that a) teams routinely overpay for to acquire and b) teams always overpay in to their 30s.
You can’t escape the fact that upgrading Freddie Andersen, whose salary is already 80% paid, but who carries a higher cap hit, with Darcy Kuemper, who is signed for two years and carries a lower cap hit, is a swap so perfect its hard to believe it hasn’t already happened.
Finally, you can’t escape the fact that all three of Mikko Lehtonen, Rasmus Sandin and Travis Dermott should play every night in the NHL.
The Leafs say they are done. It is true that their team is extra deep for the possibly condensed season to come, and that they can manipulate the salary cap through two-way contracts and ELCs not having to clear waivers, but its also true that they will always want to improve their team.
But its also true that they have three situations where a trade would resolve them in ways that would possibly be advantageous. So while I think the Toronto Maple Leafs are done, they might not be.