2 players the Maple Leafs can still trade for and one prospect they must sell at the trade deadline

While the Toronto Maple Leafs traded for Ilya Lyubushkin and now have very limited cap space, there are still a couple of players they can try to acquire.
Mar 3, 2024; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Wild right wing Brandon Duhaime (21) during a
Mar 3, 2024; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Wild right wing Brandon Duhaime (21) during a / Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports
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Player to buy: Brandon Duhaime

Defense-first forwards should be a must since the Maple Leafs continue to struggle in their own zone, as they are 19th in goals allowed with 194 as of March 4th. That’s not an ideal number for a team currently in a top three playoff spot, and they would have a tough time even getting the best of a few wild cards if such play continues. 

Toronto’s xGA at 5-on-5 is a decent 121.1, or about four goals better than the NHL average, but their actual goals allowed in the same situation sit at 125, or two below average. Someone like Brandon Duhaime would change that at a price the Maple Leafs could find a way to work into the lineup. 

A bottom-six, defense-first forward, Duhaime will separate opponents from the puck with big hits between two and three times per game. This has been the norm since he played his first 80 games in the 2021-22 season, and through 193 career contests, Duhaime has an eye-popping 502 hits, or 2.6 per. 

Duhaime would also give Toronto’s penalty kill a hand, one that still sits about 1.5 percent lower than the NHL average. And his solid 91.3 and 91.1 respective on-ice save percentages at even strength and 5-on-5 make him a solid, cost-effective defensive forward whose limited ice time could turn into a huge help for Toronto.