With the Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers, and Tampa Bay Lightning all improving their teams in the last 48 hours, the clock is ticking for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
While Toronto general manager Kyle Dubas watches the other Atlantic Division teams stack up for the NHL playoffs, all eyes are on him now. He might have a blessing in disguise with Ondrej Kase leaving Saturday night’s game with a possible concussion.
The Maple Leafs could go into the NHL trade deadline with Kase and Jake Muzzin on LTIR. That will give them much-needed cap space to make the deals needed to upgrade this team. There have been plenty of rumors surrounding the Maple Leafs for a few weeks now that have never gone away. We will find out by Monday night if any of them happen.
Toronto has been reportedly looking for a defensive defenseman, a depth forward, a top-six forward, and even another goaltender. It is not likely that Kyle Dubas will be able to fill all those needs, but he needs to make a deal or two.
Toronto Maple Leafs Trade Rumors
According to Darren Dreger from TSN, the Maple Leafs and the Chicago Blackhawks had trade discussions about goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. The reported deal would have sent Fleury and Brandon Hagel to Toronto for Petr Mrazek, prospect Matthew Knies, and multiple first-round picks. Toronto declined due to the asking price.
With Hagel being traded to the Tamp Bay Lightning, there is still a chance that Toronto and Chicago continue to discuss a deal involving Fleury for Mrazek.
Vancouver Canucks reporter Irfaan Gaffar has reported that the Toronto Maple Leafs have remained in contact with the Canucks regarding defenseman Luke Schenn. Toronto recently added Ilya Lyubushkin, who has brought a welcomed physical presence to the team. Lyubushkin has over 40 hits in his 13 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs and 137 hits this season.
Adding Schenn would be another welcomed physical presence to Toronto’s lineup come playoff time. Schenn has 192 hits this season and could be the upgrade the Maple Leafs need on the right side of their defense. He has one more year left with an $850,000 salary cap hit.
According to Elliotte Friedman from Sportsnet, Mark Giordano is at the top of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ list. Unconfirmed reports have also stated that Toronto is the only team Giordano wants to get traded to. If that is the case, Kyle Dubas holds all the cards in a potential deal.
Dubas has made it clear that he does not want to trade his first-round pick or top prospects for rental players. So if a deal is made for Giordano, it will likely include a Toronto roster player with term left on their contract and draft picks in 2023 and or 2024.
Jeff Marek from Sportsnet has stated that if Toronto can not find a way to get Giordano, they will turn their attention to Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Justin Braun. Like Giordano, Braun would give Toronto a defenseman with plenty of experience who can still play a ton of minutes.
Braun has played in 100 playoff games and could be the perfect guy to replace Justin Holl on the right side in Toronto’s top four. He has a $1.8 million salary-cap hit which Toronto can accommodate.
I sure hope the Toronto Maple Leafs make an upgrade or two before the 3 pm trade deadline on Monday. Replacing Mrazek and adding one or two experienced defensemen would be ideal. We’ll see what Toronto GM Kyle Dubas can do without losing his top prospects or his 2022 first-round pick.