The Toronto Maple Leafs Should Trade for Nicolaj Ehlers

The underrated winger would be a coup for the Toronto Maple Leafs
Winnipeg Jets v Colorado Avalanche - Game Four
Winnipeg Jets v Colorado Avalanche - Game Four / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages

The Toronto Maple Leafs are only better than they were last season if they get a best-case-scenario.

If, for example, Joseph Woll stays healthy, Chris Tanev, John Tavares and Morgan Rielly stay healthy and avoid decline, and if Matthew Knies has a break-out season, Easton Cowan makes the NHL and all of the Big Three maintain their greatness, then the Toronto Maple Leafs are going to have a fantastic team.

But a lot has to go right for that to happen, which means then need to keep improving.

There is a star player rumorued to be available who likely could improve the team at a reasonable cost and his name is Nicolaj Ehlers and he plays for the Winnipeg Jets and is one of the NHL's most underrated and and under-appreciated players.

The Leafs should trade for him.

The Toronto Maple Leafs Should Trade for Nicolaj Ehlers

Elhers was draftec ninth overall in 2014, one pick after William Nylander.

He is 6', 175 lbs, and 28 years old. He is a left-winger and would be an improvement over the former top left-winger on the Leafs, Tyler Bertuzzi.

Ehlers is underrated partly because his two best seasons - where he was pacing for about 35 goals - were cut short by injury and Covid.

Only once in his entire career has his 5v5 expected goals rating been below 50% and the last two years it's been in the elite 54/55% range.

Ehlers has never lost his 5v5 minutes over a full season of actual goals. Last season the Jets destroyed the opposition when he was on the ice by a score of 62 to 33.

The Jets don't seem to realize what they have in Ehlers, who was their 5th most used forward based on TOI per game last season, and 8th the year before.

Ehlers is constantly mentioned in trade rumours and he has a $6 million cap hit and a contract that expires after this season.

For a Leafs team that is all-in (based on their Chris Tanev play and it being Auston Matthew's Prime) Ehlers would be an excellent aquisition because he's a star player who is significantly more effective than Tyler Bertuzzi. (all stats

Furthermore, the Jets likely do not seem to value him properly and could, at least potentially, make a bad trade here.


Brad Treliving has been the Leafs GM for over a year and is yet to make a significant trade, let alone a signature one. This could be it. The Leafs could really, really use a player like this and getting him would change the entire outlook of their off-season, which to date is extremely underwhelming.