The Toronto Maple Leafs are 5th overall in the NHL (at the time of writing this) and still have a reasonable shot at the Atlantic, Eastern and NHL regular season titles.
This is probably news to the Toronto Maple Leafs panic-stricken fanbase who has spent the majority of the last month acting as if the sky is falling – which, honestly, is not surprising nor unexpected for the league’s most put-upon fans.
And yeah, the injury to Muzzin, the Matthews suspension, the Campbell injury/struggles, and Petr Mrazek’s horrible play have combined to make it seem like another early playoff exit is a distinct possibility.
But, ever the optimist, I am here to tell you that all that stuff doesn’t matter. What matters is that the Leafs would be – by far – the NHL’s best team if they’d just gotten league-average goaltending over the last three months, and that, this is the best team the city of Toronto has ever seen, including Raptors and Blue Jays teams that won their league’s championships.
So with that in mind, here are the do’s and don’t’s that Kyle Dubas should abide by heading into the NHL’s trade deadline, which is Monday. (Special note for grammar nerds concerning the punctuation of this title: Yikes!)
Toronto Maple Leafs Trade Deadine’s Do’s and Don’ts
Do: Focus on adding star players – role players don’t really help much.
Don’t: Trade for a stay-at-home defenseman (where would one even play, with the Leafs already eight-deep in NHL quality defenders?).
Do: Consider sitting Muzzin out for the rest of the year/playoffs or asking him to waive his NTC. He can’t be trusted, and two concussions in a week probably makes him even more susceptible to injury than he already was.
Don’t: Make moves that will lead to either Sandin or Liljegren sitting out.
Do: Make cap space by trading Holl and Kerfoot.
Don’t: Trade for grinders or checkers.
Do: Add Claude Giroux, Tomas Hertl or J.T Miller.
Don’t: Trade for Ben Chiarot.
Don’t: Trade for a goalie.
Do: Acquire Damon Severson or Jakob Chychrun.
Don’t: Be afraid to sit Wayne Simmonds or Jason Spezza if you can get better players.
Do: Trade your first round pick, and next year’s too, if necessary.
Don’t: Play it safe.
Do: Swing for the fences.
Don’t: Trade for a goalie. I’m saying it twice for emphasis. It’s not necessary at all.
Do: Extend Kyle Dubas contract prior to the deadline so that he doesn’t feel tempted to make panic moves.
Do: Sign Jack Campbell right now while his value is a bit lower.
Don’t: Go for washed up has-beens like Richard Rackell or Hampus Lindholm.
Don’t: Tinker at the edges.
Do: Go absolutely crazy and add multiple stars through creative means I haven’t even considered.
Do: Win the Stanley Cup, with starting goalie Jack Campbell.
Do: At least inquire about Dylan Larkin.