Does the Toronto Maple Leafs Winning Streak Change Trade Plans?

Not even a few weeks ago, the Leafs looked like a team with an incomplete roster with too many holes to fill at the trade deadline. However, recent strong play from the team and the emergence of multiple players from within the organization have made the Leafs look as complete as they've been all season.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Arizona Coyotes
Toronto Maple Leafs v Arizona Coyotes / Zac BonDurant/GettyImages

Heading into last night's game vs the Colorado, the Toronto Maple Leafs are 9-2-0 in their last 11 games, including winning six in a row, five of which came without their best defenseman, Morgan Rielly.

Not bad for a team who many people said should be sellers come deadline time. (Although, realistically, I doubt anyone was taking that ridiculous ideas seriously).

For those who did view the Leafs as buyers, almost everyone agreed they needed a top-4 defenseman. On top of this, many also pointed out the Leafs issues with depth scoring, the defense group as a whole, and even goaltending.

While a top-4 d-man would not hurt, the rest of these perceived "problems" with the team have fixed themselves over the past week or so.

Toronto Maple Leafs Recent Stretch of Strong Play May Save Them at the Trade Deadline

It's no secret the Leafs don't have a plethora of assets to trade away, as the team has no second-round draft pick for the next 3 years, as well as having no first-round pick next year.

However, the team has rallied around Morgan Rielly's suspension and many players have emerged as quality NHLers and consistent contributors, which in return will allow the team to save their assets and put them to use somewhere else.

Up front, Bobby McMann and Nick Robertson have given the Leafs some of the best secondary scoring they've had in years. On top of this, the Leafs could realistically finish with up to 10 players with double-digit goal totals (11 if you include Max Domi).

The core-four has also been playing their best all season, with Tavares, Matthews, Nylander and Marner combining for 17 goals and 22 assists over the past five games before the Vegas game.

While an addition to the forward group wouldn't hurt, the group would be just fine if left untouched as well.

On the back end, a group that many expected to stumble with Rielly's suspension actually flourished without him.

The new pairing of T.J. Brodie and Timothy Liljegren resulted in the two playing their best hockey of the season, Jake McCabe and Simon Benoit were steady as always, and whoever filled in on the third pairing, whether that be Marshall Rifai, William Lagesson, or Max Lajoie, played strong on the bottom pair.

If this strong play keeps up, the Leafs may have saved themselves a ton of assets by simply building from within. Though, realistically, no matter what, they need to upgrade the blue-line.

If there is one trade the Leafs should make, it's for a top-4 right-handed defenseman. T.J. Brodie has looked far better on the left side playing with Liljegren, and once Rielly returns he will need a quality partner for the playoffs.

My ideal player the Leafs should trade for is Jakob Chychrun, however he is a left-handed player.

Enter Sean Walker from the Philadelphia Flyers.

Not only is Walker right-handed, but he can also play on the penalty kill, has a respectable 20 points on the season to date, and is on an affordable $2.65 million salary.

If the Leafs decide to trade with the Flyers, Scott Laughton is another player they should look into. He's a versataile forward who can play center and on the wing.

While the Leafs do not need him necessarily, he would be a welcome member of the team, especially if the Flyers can retain some of his salary.

I would have absolutely no issue giving up our first-round pick in this year's draft for Walker and Laughton. Other assets would likely be included, but that's what it takes to make moves like this one.

In short, this move could absolutely put the Leafs over the top, and while winning the Stanley Cup is no easy task, if the Leafs keep up their strong recent play, there's no reason why they can't win it this year.


Let's see what Treliving has in store this trade deadline.