What Should the Toronto Maple Leafs Do at the Trade Deadline?

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - MARCH 28: Dylan Larkin #71 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Little Caesars Arena on March 28, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MICHIGAN - MARCH 28: Dylan Larkin #71 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Little Caesars Arena on March 28, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Maple Leafs
Feb 14, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs center David Kampf (64) . Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

Andrew Kogut

It’s funny – when you listen to some of the media talking points and fan twitter/online reactions, it’s hard to believe that so much criticism could pertain to a team that sits tied for fifth overall in the entire NHL and sports a player (1st in goals, 5th in scoring) who is playing well enough to realistically earn both the Hart and Selke.

The fact of the matter is, this Toronto Maple Leafs team has been remarkably competitive and successful the past two months considering both Campbell and Mrazek own a (weirdly) identical .872 Sv% since the All-Star break.

Those numbers are absolutely abysmal. The main target for Dubas at the trade deadline has to be goaltending.

Finding a viable goalie from potential sellers; however, is where things get a little difficult. There have been rumblings of Fleury interest but he’s 37 and has a $7M cap hit; I think there’s a bit too much risk there.

Craig Anderson (41 years old, in May) isn’t the answer either and while Reimer and Bernier are decent options (the former more so than the latter), I think Dubas has to aim a little bit higher.

That’s why my trade target would be Islanders backstopper Semyon Varlamov.

Varlamov is just one year removed from a top-5 Vezina finish season where he (and Trotz’ system, of course) managed 7 shutouts and a .929 Sv%. He has suited up in 34 playoff games for the Isles the past two years to the tune of a .922 Sv% and 2 SO and has still managed to put up a respectable .912 Sv% this season on a fledging NY team.  (naturalstattrick.com).

Varlamov, 34 by the end of April, hasn’t yet passed his prime and can be acquired easier than Fleury, as his cap hit is a more manageable $5M. He also has another year on his contract, and would be a very nice upgrade on Mrazek, assuming the latter is moved during this or another deadline deal.