With the NHL trade deadline being less than a month away, the Toronto Maple Leafs should be ramping up their quest to upgrade.
The Toronto Maple Leafs recently added defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin, but they will need to do more than that to be a top contender.
Toronto learned on Tuesday that defenseman Jake Muzzin would be out indefinitely with a concussion. Losing Muzzin during this critical time is not ideal, but it could be a blessing in disguise.
With Muzzin out indefinitely, the Leafs have placed him on long-term injury reserve (LTIR) for the rest of the regular season. Doing this potentially adds a lot more cap space for Dubas to work with heading into the NHL trade deadline.
According to some, the Leafs have interest in every available player on the market. Such a thing is considered normal for this time of year. The most recent list of players came from David Pagnotta , and it includes Andrew Copp, Rickard Rakell, Mark Giordano, Maxi Domi, and others.
Toronto Maple Leafs Could Trade Alex Kerfoot
Alex Kerfoot is having his best season since being traded to Toronto in 2019. He has 34 points in 50 games this season. His career-best was 43 points in 79 games during the 2017-18 season as a rookie.
If there was a perfect time to trade Kerfoot, it is right now. His trade value has never been higher, and if moving him can help upgrade the team, then Dubas should do it. Kerfoot’s contract is salary cap friendly for most teams at $3.5 million this season and next.
According to capfriendly.com, if the Toronto Maple Leafs place Muzzin on LTIR, they will have $5.99 million in available cap space. If we factor in trading Kerfoot and his $3.5 million, Toronto has $9.49 million to play with at the trade deadline on March 21st.
Dubas can afford to bring in higher-priced targets that were not an option a week ago. One of the most intriguing options has to be Mark Giordano. The 38-year-old defenseman has a $6.75 million cap hit for this season and will become a UFA in the summer. Rumors suggest that the Seattle Kraken are seeking a first-round pick for Giordano, but Dubas might be able to lessen the asking price if he includes Kerfoot in the deal.
Another intriguing option would be J.T Miller from the Vancouver Canucks. Toronto has shown interest in Miller, and Vancouver has shown interest in Kerfoot. With 53 points in 50 games this season, Miller is an upgrade to Toronto’s top-six forward group. He has a salary cap hit of $5.25 million for this season and next.
Now that Toronto has placed Jake Muzzin on LTIR as expected, Kyle Dubas will have much-needed cap space for upgrading. Dubas does not have to trade Alex Kerfoot, but with Kerfoot’s value being as high as it is right now, he must consider doing so. If Dubas can upgrade the team by including Kerfoot in any trade deal, he should make that deal.