How the Toronto Maple Leafs Can Make a Splash at the Trade Deadline

The Toronto Maple Leafs have the opportunity to make a big splash. (Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)
The Toronto Maple Leafs have the opportunity to make a big splash. (Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images) /
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs have the opportunity to make a big splash. (Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs have a team worthy of contending for the Stanley Cup, but some fine tuning would make a significant difference.

The Toronto Maple Leafs window to improve the squad’s needs is quickly closing with the NHL trade deadline falling on March 21, but there’s still time to for them to make a splash.

With the team giving up no less than four goals per game in all of their last five contests, both defense and goaltending are areas the Leafs could improve.

With GM Kyle Dubas having confidence in his netminding tandem of Jack Campbell and Petr Mrazk and telling the press that he’s “not concerned with either one them,”  there’s a good chance that the Leafs will be focusing their attention at bolstering the blue line.

Toronto Maple Leafs and the NHL Trade Deadline

According to CapFriendly, the Toronto Maple Leafs have $3,719,166 in total cap space. However, there is the possibility that the team takes advantage of one of the loopholes in the collective agreement by keeping Jake Muzzin and his $5,625,000 cap hit on LTIR until the playoffs. Doing so would provide the Buds the space to go after a big prize.

The Leafs should check in with the Philadelphia Flyers who are currently sitting well outside the playoffs picture and should be sellers at the deadline. Dubas should specifically target Ivan Provorov, who would be more than just a rental for Toronto.

Provorov is a blue liner with an offensive upside. This season he has recorded 5 goals and 15 assists in 54 games and is the Flyers number one defenseman. However, he is has had his struggles. Many have even begun to question how valuable he is as a top player on a defensive core.

“Out of 236 NHL defensemen with at least 200 minutes of 5-on-5 ice time, Provorov currently ranks 160th in Corsi-For percentage (47.56), 167th in Goals For percentage (45.33) and 176th in Expected Goals For per 60 (2.2). He’s also been responsible for a whopping 59 giveaways this season — good for sixth-most among all NHL defensemen and 10th-most among all skaters.”

With a cap hit of $6,750,000 and three more years remaining on his contract, it’s not out of the question that the Flyers move on from Provorov. Without the right pieces in Philadelphia to support the 25 year old, he won’t be able to elevate his club in the short term. That’s not a problem for the   Leafs.

The cost to acquire Provorov would still be quite steep and would likely require at minimum, a player off Toronto’s active roster, at least one of their top prospects, and a first-round pick. With other teams likely asking about the same player the Leafs would need to put together a strong package to get the deal done.

Provorov is a big upgrade over Travis Dermott  on the left side and is a player they can put out in all situations. This sort of deal makes even more sense for Toronto if it turns out that Muzzin’s recovery hits a setback and he isn’t ready to return by the playoffs.

Next. 3 Players the Leafs Can Realistically Trade For. dark

With a Stanley Cup in sight, the Maple Leafs shouldn’t be afraid of making a splash at the trade deadline. Provorov can be exactly what the team needs.