What the Toronto Maple Leafs need to do at the NHL Trade Deadline is trade for a star player (or two).
It doesn’t matter if it’s a forward or a defenseman, but all this talk of bit parts is a little annoying. The Leafs added Ilya Lyubushkin, and that pretty much fills their need for a “defensive defenseman” so players like Scott Mayfield or Jacob Middleton are not desirable any longer.
I mean, where would they play? Assuming Rielly, Brodie, Muzzin, Sandin, Liljegren and Lyubushkin are the starters of a healthy Leafs team at the moment, which one of those guys would be reasonable to sit for a defensive defenseman?
The correct answer is none of them.
If was in charge, I would be looking at a star player that could line up at left wing on one of the top lines when necessary, but who would mostly play third-line centre.
A player such as Dylan Larkin, J.T Miller, or Claude Giroux.
A team with a star on it’s third line is nearly impossible to defend against (remember the Penguins won three Cups with Crosby-Malkin-Staal down the middle, then Malkin-Crosby-Bonnino (with Kessel)?) and would make the Leafs extremely hard to play.
Plus, moving Kampf down to the fourth line (except when holding a lead) would be another reason to add such a player. The flexibility and the strategies that such an add would give the Leafs would be unreal.
And, if there was any way to further add, I’d like to replace Justin Holl with a star defenseman, and my choice here would be Damon Severson of the Devils, a legitimate #1 top pairing player.
Of course, it this is all just for fun – it will be interesting to see what actually happens, and we’ll only have to wait another day.