Toronto Maple Leafs Can Take Advantage of the Oilers Fumble

The Toronto Maple Leafs look to have most of their roster in order for this coming season. The one player who needed his contract negotiated as a restricted free agent, goaltender Ilya Samsonov, did so with the club via arbitration.

The Edmonton Oilers aren’t as fortunate. They still need to work out a deal with their star defenseman, Evan Bouchard. This could be very beneficial to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Bouchard has proven that he is a key ingredient to the success of the Oilers’ power play. He has pierced 40 points over each of his last two seasons. This past year he recorded eight goals and 32 assists in 82 contests, showing that he brings valuable offense to the club.

Where Bouchard’s presence was really felt was during the playoffs. He continued his strong play and racked up the points doing it. In 12 post season games, the right d-man from Oakville, Ontario collected four goals and 13 assists.

Toronto Maple Leafs Can Take Advantage of the Oilers Fumble

Bouchard is just 23-years-old. The Toronto Maple Leafs are currently paying 30-year-old John klingberg who is also a right-shot defenseman, to play the same role in Toronto. According to Cap Friendly, Klingberg has a $4,150,000 AAV compared to Bouchard’s $1,596,667 AAV from this past season.

The Oilers may need to bridge Bouchard’s contract, potentially looking at a two-year deal, taking him to age 25. If that’s the case, it would mean the Leafs could have far more cap space available once Bouchard becomes an unrestricted free agent and able to sign anywhere he likes.

As someone who grew up in the Greater Toronto Area and played minor hockey in his hometown of Oakville, there may be something attractive about joining the Maple Leafs. It would give Bouchard the opportunity to play in front of friends and family on a regular basis.

The Oilers failing to sign Bouchard to a long term deal could end up benefiting the Leafs. With Klingberg no longer under contract in Toronto, there could be both a positional void and salary cap room to absorb the dynamic blue liner.

The Leafs will need to watch carefully to see what happens in the coming days and weeks and whether Bouchard and the Oilers are able to come to terms on a new contract. Depending on the term, it should be worth monitoring when that new deal expires and determine what the Maple Leafs will be able to offer in order to poach Bouchard.

While it appears that Edmonton has become the destination of choice for former Maple Leafs, this would be the perfect opportunity to turn the table on the Oilers. Bouchard could be a difference maker in Toronto.