Toronto Maple Leafs and the Best Rental Trade of All-Time

Toronto Maple Leafs (Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports)
Toronto Maple Leafs (Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs are – once again – one of the premier teams in the NHL.

Last year, the Toronto Maple Leafs made a great trade at the deadline, bringing in Nick Foligno for a first and a fourth rounder.

The fact that Foligno was injured virtually his entire time in Toronto, and failed to really contribute in the playoffs, means that the deal didn’t work out, but it doesn’t make it a bad trade. 

At the time, it was universally praised.  Many publications said the Leafs “won the trade deadline” and Foligno was a player virtually all Leafs  fans liked.  Sometimes you make the right move and you get the wrong result.  That is how things work.

So don’t expect the Toronto Maple Leafs to be shy when the trade deadline comes around this year.  They still have a first, a second, and a seventh, and I would expect all of those picks to get traded.

Well, maybe not all of them, but for sure, with 100% certainty, they will trade the first. Which brings me to the point of this article: they should pursue the best rental of all-time.

Toronto Maple Leafs and the Best Rental of All-Time

A rental must meet five major requirements:

  1. His team is out of the playoff picture
  2. He is a pending UFA
  3. He’s worth paying a high price for, just to have him for a limited time.
  4. He will waive his NTC
  5. You can afford him under the cap

The player I have in mind is currently in seventh place, and could (at least potentially) fall outside the playoff race by March.

He is a pending UFA.  He definitely meets requirement #3 with over 1000 NHL Points and well over a point per game for his Hall of Fame Career. In fact, he’s still probably one of the best players in the entire world, when healthy.

Would he waive his NTC?  He might.  Why not waive your NTC , go win your fourth Stanley Cup, then re-sign back home in the summer?  It’s win-win.

Finally this player, who would be the best rental in NHL history, makes $9.5 million, so even after prorating the rest of the season, and the team trading him retains half, the Leafs would still probably need another team to retain a further 50% of what’s left.  Let’s just, for the sake of this fantasy, assume that could happen. (Info from Capfriendly).

Next. Top 5 Leafs Trade Assets. dark

The Toronto Maple Leafs already have one of the best rosters in the NHL.  Imagine how Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews  lining up with Evgeni Malkin on their left wing? He’s still an elite player at age 35.  He would be the best rental in NHL history. That might even turn out to be the best line in NHL history.

I wouldn’t say that would guarantee the Leafs a Stanley Cup, but it would make it pretty likely.