The Monster Toronto Maple Leafs Trade That Never Happened

Sportscaster Darren Dreger watches practice (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Sportscaster Darren Dreger watches practice (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Kyle Dubas has been very busy for the Toronto Maple Leafs trying to make the right deal to improve his team before the deadline. He almost landed a big on

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been rumored to have been looking to upgrade their team in a number of areas prior to the NHL trade freeze on March 21.

With the Leafs goalie situation rapidly deteriorating  According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, that’s exactly what was done. On Saturday afternoon, he tweeted out a massive leak.

“Here’s a deal that didn’t happen,” Dreger began. “Chicago and Toronto Discussed Hagel and Fleury to the Leafs for (Petr) Mrazek, Matthew Knies and 1st round picks.” Note that the wording of the text just says it was discussed, it doesn’t mean it was offered or realistically considered. If the information is accurate, this would have been a tremendous deal for the Leafs.

Toronto Maple Leafs Discussed a Large Trade

If the hesitation to make this deal was hanging onto Knies, then it was a mistake. The Maple Leafs do not have a history of developing their second-round picks into NHL players. Knies has been excellent this season for the University of Minnesota, which is likely why the Chicago Blackhawks have an interest in the forward and why Dubas doesn’t want to let him get away. In 29 games, he has recorded 27 points. That’s on 10 goals and 17 assists. However, with the Leafs so close to being a Stanley Cup contender, and their trouble with developing young talent properly, it would have been best to use him to land two valuable pieces.

In Marc-Andre Fleury, the Maple Leafs could have put their goaltending woes to rest. Since Mrazek hasn’t been the steady presence between the pipes that Dubas believed he’d be, the Leafs desperately need someone they can rely upon in the crease. Fleury would have been the ideal player. This season, he has a 2.90 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage. That is a significant upgrade over Mrazek’s 3.48 goals-against average and .884 save percentage.

Additionally, the Maple Leafs would have picked up Brandon Hagel. Not only would he have been a player who can help the offense, but he’d do it with a cap hit of just $1.5 million and team control until the conclusion of the 2023-24 season. Hagel’s having a phenomenal campaign, having already registered 21 goals and 16 assists in 55 games. For Toronto, he would have meant more scoring depth for multiple seasons with excellent cap value. It’s why, in order to acquire Hagel, the Tampa Bay Lightning shelled out two first-round picks, right-winger Taylor Raddysh, and left-winger Boris Katchouk.

If what Dreger wrote is true and the Leafs balked at the proposed trade, consider another option Dubas could have had. If the GM was concerned with losing a valuable prospect, he could have still shipped Knies to Chicago and then made a second deal to flip Hagel and regain prospects. Doing so would have allowed Toronto to get out from under Mrazek’s contract, improve the goaltending going into the playoffs, and set the Leafs up for the future. While it would have been better to keep Hagel, if Dubas was overly concerned with the future of the club, he could haven used Hagel to make things whole… and then some.

Next. Erik Kallgren is NOT the Savior of the Maple Leafs. dark

Dubas and the Maple Leafs should have been swinging the fences. They have a collection of players who have the ability to take the franchise deep into the playoffs for the first time in far too long. If what Dreger wrote is true, Dubas made a big mistake not pulling the trigger.