The Toronto Maple Leafs were heavily rumoured to be interested in Bo Horvat, but he went to the Islanders.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are unquestioningly in an all-in situation where every future asset is available for the right player.
Who the right player is, is a pretty big topic of discussion right now, with the consensus leaning towards Timo Meier, who appears to be the best player available.
But there are other rumours out there, and one of them is about Ivan Barbashev of the St. Louis Blue. Let’s learn about him and see if this is a player the Toronto Maple Leafs should pursue.
Toronto Maple Leafs and Ivan Barbashev
A 27 year-old centre, who can play all three forward positions, Barbashev is from Russia, and is a former second-round pick of the Blues who is currently in his seventh season.
Barbashev is a pending UFA who makes only $2.5 million dollars.
In a breakout season for him last year, Barbashev (who I will be you a million dollars goes by the nickname “Barbie”) had 26 goals and 60 points.
While anyone who can score 26 goals is at least worth considering, there are some major red flags here with this player.
For one he has never posted a season above 50% xgoals in the last five years.
For another, his breakout year featured a massive uptick in shooting percentage. He seems to be an 11 percent shooter whose career took off after he more than doubled his career shooting percentage in his breakout year.
I do like that 17 of his 26 goals last year came 5v5, but Barbashov is a player who struggles to create offense 5v5 (when not being gifted goals due to a high shooting percentage) and who is not good at defense.
In conclusion, Barbashev kind of stinks.
Pierre Engvall could score 26 goals if he was given top six minutes, and I don’t even think he’d need to be on a shooting percentage bender to do it. (stats naturalsttrick.com).
Barbashev is a player that honestly, might not make the current version of the Leafs. Any player they’d cut for him is likely better suited to the role they are in, example Aston-Reese.
This is clearly a player being overrated due to a hot season. He can’t play in the Toronto Maple Leafs top six, and he doesn’t appear to be a good option for their bottom six either.
You can file this one along with Luke Schenn and Max Domi as a a terrible ideas the Toronto Maple Leafs should not even consider.