A Familiar Face Might Hold The Cure For the Toronto Maple Leafs

Lou Lamoriello, General Manager of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Lou Lamoriello, General Manager of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

There isn’t much to complain about concerning the Toronto Maple Leafs roster.

The worst thing you could say about the Toronto Maple Leafs defense is that Justin Holl is still playing in the top four.  He is nowhere close to the level of play he displayed the past two seasons. Before this season, the defense pairing of Jake Muzzin and Holl was a reliable one. That has not been the case this season.

After posting a 54% Expected Goals rating last season, Holl is down to just 50% this year.  When Muzzin gets on the ice with any of the Leafs other defenders, his Expected Goals jumps to 54% which indicates that the problem is Holl.

Due to Holl’s poor start and lack of production, he is part of many trade rumors. The Leafs could move Liljegren into Holl’s spot, but the best case scenario probably sees them trading for an upgrade.

Holl will either need to be traded for another defenseman or to clear cap space for Toronto to use in a separate trade for a defenseman. One person who could hold the solution to Toronto’s defense problems is former Toronto GM Lou Lamoriello.

Should The Toronto Maple Leafs Trade For Scott Mayfield?

When you first look at Scott Mayfield’s stats, you notice that he doesn’t score much and is a minus player.  What needs to be recognized is that Mayfield is playing on a New York Islanders team that is dreadful this season.

One thing that makes Mayfield a possible trade target is his success in the playoffs.  Mayfield has 13 points in 51 playoff games with 120 blocked shots, 118 hits. Those are solid numbers, but the best thing about him is that he’s the rare 6’5″ monster who actually has good underlying numbers – he’s been a statistically top defender in two of the last three years.

Another thing that makes Mayfield an attractive option for Toronto is his $1.45 million cap hit this season and next. Holl has a cap hit worth $2 million over the same length of time. With Toronto being right up against the salary cap, that little bit of savings is a big benefit.
(Salary info from: capfriendly.com)

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I think both Scott Mayfield and Justin Holl could benefit from a change of scenery. By trading Holl and getting Mayfield, the Toronto Maple Leafs won’t be losing any size or physicality. They will also get a way better player,  which should help them come playoff time.