An Early Look at Rentals the Toronto Maple Leafs Might Consider Next Season

Toronto Maple Leafs Trade Targets
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The Toronto Maple Leafs were very active on July 1 when the NHL free-agency period opened.

Brad Treliving & co made waves when the Toronto Maple Leafs signed Chris Tanev, Oliver Ekman-Larssen, Jani Hakanpaa, and Anthony Stolarz, addressing the holes on the blue line and in net.

Factoring in those signings, the Max Domi and Liljigren extensions, and excluding the unsigned RFAs in Dewar and Robertson (as well as any roster elevation from their prospects) the current lineup is close to what we'll see when the season starts but likely not totally finished.

The Leafs are flush against the cap ceiling, and their middle-six forward group will need significant improvement if they hope to stand a chance against Boston or Florida in advancing in the playoffs.

The Leafs may opt to wait until the trade deadline or at least the middle of the season to improve their roster, and so with that in mind here is an early look:

An Early Look at Rentals the Toronto Maple Leafs Might Consider Next Season

Travis Konecny

If the Leafs are looking for affordable offence, Konecny is their guy. The 27 year old right-handed winger from London, Ontario, put up 33G and 68PTS in 73 games played last season playing on an extremely mediocre Flyers team. Factoring in his grit with his skillset, he might instantly become a fan favourite and point-per-game guy playing Top-6 minutes on a Craig Berube coached Toronto Maple Leafs team.

Konecny is signed for $5.5M through 2024-25, becomes a free agent next summer, and could be a high value rental at 50% retained for the blue and white.

Brock Nelson

Here's an intruiging option with Brock Nelson. The 6'4" Islanders Center put up 30+ goals in each of his last three seasons, finishing with 34G and 69PTS in 82 games last year. If the Islanders can't rise above the bottle neck that is the Metropolitan Division, they may look to offload this pending UFA at the trade deadline.

With a cap hit of $6M in 2024-25, he won't come cheap, and would likely need a third-party team to eat another 25% of his contract after the Islanders retain the first 50%. For the right slew of prospects and picks (maybe Alex Steeves and a future 3rd?), Nelson would be a great 3C on a Leafs playoff team that needs some added size and production down the stretch.

Yanni Gourde

My favourite trade deadline target for the Leafs is two-time Stanley Cup winner Yanni Gourde. The 33 year old may be a few years removed from his 64-point season in '17-'18, and if his production remains down again this year (11G and 33PTS in 80 games played last year), his cost to acquire may be the lowest of the three.

The appeal is he's become one of Seattle's most relied upon defensive forwards. Compared to the rest of the Kraken forward group last season, Gourde led them in percentage of defensive zone starts, was second in penalty kill minutes, second in hits, second in shots blocked, and second in takeaways. He can play center and the wing, up and down the line up. With his sandpaper and playoff pedigree, he could be the third line addition the Leafs need the most. (Stats, salary cap information


He carries a cap hit of $5,166,666 AAV through 2024-25 and is set to become a UFA thereafter. If the Leafs are looking to bolster their forward group on the defensive end at the deadline, trading for Yanni Gourde could be the move.