Did the Toronto Maple Leafs Miss the Boat on the Coyotes Trade?

Toronto Maple Leafs - Kyle Dubas and Brendan Shanahan at the draft (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Toronto Maple Leafs - Kyle Dubas and Brendan Shanahan at the draft (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

We are smack dab in the thick of the NHL off season now and Kyle Dubas and the Toronto Maple Leafs have some work ahead of them.

It seems like a foregone conclusion that Zach Hyman will not be returning next season, throw Freddy Andersen and Zach Bogosian in that category as well. This leaves the Torotno Maple Leafs with a few holes in the lineup to patch up and ideally to improve upon to get them over that first round playoff hump.

The recent trade between the Arizona Coyotes and the Vancouver Canucks could have gone a long way to solidify this lineup and take them to the next level.

The Coyotes and Canucks struck a deal to send Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Connor Garland to Vancouver. Vancouver is sending, what looks to me like, a fairly underwhelming group to the desert in return.

Jay Beagle, Antoine Rousell, Loui Eriksson and a 1st round pick is the haul that the Coyotes took from Vancouver; I’m not entirely sure what Arizona is doing this off season. No matter what their plan is though, Dubas and the Toronto Maple Leafs should be taking advantage of this apparent fire sale.

Toronto Maple Leafs and Arizona Coyotes

It may have taken a bit more maneuvering to fit Ekman-Larsson and his $8.2 million (7.2 with Arizona retaining a million  [ via capfriendly.com ]) under the cap, but an addition like this to the Toronto Maple Leafs top six would catapult them to immediate Cup contenders, possibly Cup favourites.

I know OEL has declined in play over the last couple of seasons, but that also has to do with playing for an awful Coyotes team that has hardly given him reliable defensive partners, never mind the whole team surrounding him. In the Maple Leafs top four, and on their first PP unit, OEL could have absolutely revived his career and possibly pushed for a 60 point season.

The second prize in this deal would have been Connor Garland, who would have absolutely been the perfect Zach Hyman replacement. Garland has a nose for the net, plays a grittier heavier style, despite his smaller frame, and would fit in perfectly with the Toronto Maple Leafs top six. Garland has the potential to be a perennial 60 point producer, possibly more playing in the right situation. And playing alongside Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner would be the right situation.

What would it have cost the Maple Leafs to make this happen? Well, as I said it, may take some cap maneuvering. I would have tried to work out a deal that would send the 1.2 million that the Maple Leafs are still paying towards Phil Kessel’s contract to Arizona to start. I would imagine Alex Kerfoot,  Travis Dermott and a prospect, maybe Timothy Liljgren and/or Rodion Amirov, along with a few of their limited draft picks could get the trade done.

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That seems like a much better haul than what Vancouver sent to the Coyotes, and in my mind it would be 100% worth the price for the Toronto Maple Leafs and co.