The Toronto Maple Leafs continue to be frustrated in their postseasons runs.
Roster construction needs to be done with playoffs in mind. While it adopts an old school mentality, the build should include the Toronto Maple Leafs trying to add toughness to their lineup.
Toronto has had a number of gritty players since they last won a playoff round in 2004. They even currently have Wayne Simmonds who will drop his mitts with the toughest players from around the league.
However, Wayne Simmonds is no longer effective in the role the Leafs signed him to play. In order to replace that in the lineup, the Leafs should look to Nashville.
Toronto Maple Leafs and the Nashville Predators Should Swing a Trade
General Manager Kyle Dubas should look to add Tanner Jeannot from the Nashville Predators.
He would fill the role that Simmonds was expected to play. The trouble with Simmonds, at this point in his career, is that come the postseason, he can’t be trusted to log important minutes.
These past playoffs, Simmonds was limited to lacing up his skates for just two of the seven games against the Tampa Bay Lightning where he averaged only 5:33 minutes per contest. That’s not worth keeping a roster position for any longer.
Jeannot’s 2022 playoff minutes mean was 17:07 for the Predators where he threw an average of six hits per game. The 25-year-old has proven that through his two NHL seasons, he belongs in the league in a big way. He is a third line left-wing who can fight (he’s already had 14 of them in the NHL) and can also score.
For his career, Jeannot has played 96 games where he’s recorded 29 goals and 19 assists for a total of 48 points. He’s also collected 132 penalty minutes and even scored 5 game-winning goals. On top of these impressive stats, he was also trusted by his coach, John Hynes, to take on defensive duties. Jeannot was deployed for 60.5 – per cent of his end zone starts in the defensive end.
Sheldon Keefe could insert Jeannot on Toronto’s third line to play next to David Kampf and Calle Jarnkrok. It brings both sandpaper and production to the lineup. This would mean that the Leafs would need to trade Simmonds in order to make room for Jeannot. Toronto would have to include some kind of sweetener to make the deal work such as a draft pick or a prospect.
The best part for the Leafs of adding Jeannot is his cap hit. The Oxbow, Saskatchewan native has one more year on his contract where he will be paid $850,000. Better yet, his cap hit is just $800,000.
Jeannot isn’t a widely known player as yet but that could change very quickly, especially if he is brought to Toronto where the media attention is far greater. In Nashville, he proved that he is a player on the rise. After finishing seventh in Calder Trophy voting for rookie of the year last season, if he continues to develop his game, Jeannot could quickly become a big name in the sport.
By moving Simmonds out and Jeannot in, Toronto would get more youth, toughness, production, and cap space. Now is the time for the Maple Leafs to make their move and try to swing a deal to get their man.