Toronto Maple Leafs: This Is Not The Year to Trade Top Prospects

Sep 30, 2023; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Topi Niemela (47) plays the puck against the Montreal Canadiens during the first period at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 30, 2023; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Topi Niemela (47) plays the puck against the Montreal Canadiens during the first period at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Toronto Maple Leafs were viewed as a preseason favorite for the Stanley Cup. Just past the quarter pole of the season, you would be hard-pressed to find someone who lists them as a top choice to win a title.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are currently holding a playoff spot, but have looked less than impressive in getting there.

The Leafs have not dominated many games, and they have had few awe-inspiring performances among their wins.

They rank near the bottom of the league in regulation wins and have relied on outstanding individual performances from their stars and the play of goaltender Joseph Woll for many of their victories.

A closer look at their current roster, along with a look into the future, shows this is not the year to trade away their top prospects or first-round picks.

Toronto Maple Leafs: This Is Not The Year To Trade Top Prospects

From the beginning of the year, the Leafs defense was considered their biggest weakness. The first twenty-plus games have only reinforced that point.

It makes sense then, that the Leafs should be looking at the trade market to improve their backend, yet trade deadline deals are always a gamble, and rarely do they land an X-factor that makes or breaks a team’s fortunes.

There are more teams that lose deadlines deals than win them.

Despite trading away many first-round picks over the years, the Leafs appear to have some top-level prospects that can supplement their star players in the not-too-distant future.

The Leafs look like they landed a gem with the second-round selection of Matthew Knies. He is accounting himself well through his first full NHL season.

Fellow second-round pick, Fraser Minten, played well during the Leafs preseason and earned himself a four-game taste of the NHL to start the year.

Last summer’s first-round pick, Easton Cowan, is tearing up the Ontario Hockey League with the London Knights.

The play of both prospects has been noticed as evidenced by their recent invites to Team Canada’s 2024 World Junior Championship Selection Roster.

It would be in the Leafs best interest to wait it out and see what they have with these three enticing prospects.