The Toronto Maple Leafs have only a couple of days left to make a move before the NHL trade deadline passes at 3PM on Monday afternoon.
And, with yet another big name coming off the board today, the Toronto Maple Leafs position is only strengthened.
The Leafs, yet to make a move, other than absolutely heisting Ilya Lyubushkin from the Coyotes, have watched as all the teams they are competing with got better this week.
Let’s take a look at what’s gone up to this point.
Toronto Maple Leafs Being Patient So Far
So far this week we’ve seen Ben Chiarot get traded to Florida.
The Panther paid a first round pick + a fourth and a prospect to Montreal, who look like genius in getting such a haul for what is basically a replacement player. The Leafs got a younger, cheaper (by 2.5 million dollars) better player in Lyubushkin for a fraction of the cost, so this is an almost inexcusable blunder for Florida.
The Avalanche acquired Josh Manson earlier in the week for a B-level prospect and a second rounder. This is better than Florida did, but not as good as the Leafs did with Lyubushkin, who is not likely much worse than Manson and potentially even better. At the very least, he’s way cheaper.
The Lightning today acquired Brandon Hagel for two first rounders. I personally think this is a high price to pay for a guy who is having his first breakout season and who also has a high shooting percentage. That said, he makes them a better team and they were already good.
The only way this really helps the Leafs is that Tampa is now less likely to trade for a player the Leafs are after. I doubt that with Pierre Engvall, Ilya Mikheyev and Ondrej Kase having such great seasons that the Leafs were interested in this player at this price point – there is obviously better places for them to expend their assets.
The Lightning have gotten better, but I don’t think Florida or Colorado have. At best, they are now deeper, but that’s about it. The Leafs have plenty of time to match these moves, and they’ve got a ton of flexibility heading in to the deadline.
The Leafs can waive Petr Mrazek or try some other way to get out of his contract. They can sit Muzzin. They can trade Kerfoot or Holl. Bottom line – if they can improve their team, cap space likely won’t be an issue.
They have draft picks, tradable players, cap flexibility and their main competitors have spent assets on players they likely had little to no interest in. Kyle Dubas and the Toronto Maple Leafs are in great shape with about three days to go.