The Toronto Maple Leafs have been in the news in recent days as destinations for players rumoured to be on the move.
The Toronto Maple Leafs need to add Evander Kane the same way I need to spend more time with my old friend who has been brainwashed by Facebook and who can’t go nine minutes without a reference to Hunter Biden.
They have even less reason to chase John Klingberg.
I would – for the first time ever – be happy if the Leafs stuck with the roster they have. This is a team that has picked up almost 80% of the points available to them when Marner and Matthews are both in the lineup this year, so if they did stand pat, I’d be fine with it.
But then again, you only get so many chances to try for the Stanley Cup, so logic says you must try to strike while the iron is hot, and therefore, it would be silly to not at least try to upgrade the team.
And for the Leafs, that upgrade is pretty obvious.
Toronto Maple Leafs at the NHL Trade Deadline
The Leafs don’t need Evander Kane because the best he could be at this point is a very slight upgrade on Michael Bunting or Alex Kerfoot, both of whom are putting up superstar adjacent numbers this year at 5v5.
The risk vs reward comparison makes adding Kane a non-starter.
As for John Klingberg, that is an even harder pass. In decline for years since his early-career success, Klingberg actually kind of sucks. He sure isn’t worth the $4 million he’s being paid, and though he is right-handed, he’s pretty much an all-offense player and would be a huge downgrade on Justin Holl defensively.
Kids, just say no to drugs. Leafs, just say no to overrated name-brand defenseman who you do not have any need for.
The player the Toronto Maple Leafs need to add, is a no-risk star who is right handed and who is a huge upgrade both offensively and defensively to Justin Holl.
For reasons unknown, Damon Severson isn’t really a “name brand” player, and the last time I wrote about him, it was clear that most people were unfamiliar with his work.
Whereas Klingberg is only better than 29% of NHL defenseman over the last two seasons, Damon Severson is elite, and is better than 82% of NHL defenseman. While he is one of the best puck-moving offensive defenseman alive, he is also a half-decent defender who is better defensively than 78% of defenseman. (And no, his plus/minus after spending years on a bad team is not in any way relevant. Frankly, in 2022 no one should even be allowed to mention this outdated and misleading stat). (Stats from @Jfresh cards and naturalstattrick.com).
Severson makes roughly the same amount of money as Klingberg, but he plays for a worse team and will likely also be available. Make no mistake, while the Leafs are having a good chuckle about all the press they’re getting for players they likely have zero interest in, they are planning on a way to heist Severson from New Jersey.
I mean, I can’t say for sure that is actually what they are doing, but based on things like logic, common sense and risk vs reward, I am 98% sure that it is.