Toronto Maple Leafs 2024 Trade Deadline Targets at Forward

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Toronto Maple Leafs 2024 Trade Deadline Targets at Forward

Much like with the defense, due to the sheer number of players below, I feel it is necessary to split each category up into less and more desirable. I have not included a few players who were featured on my article about players the Leafs should not trade for.

Less Desirable

Mikael Granlund

It pains me to say this, but I would not trade for Granlund at the deadline, especially with one more year remaining on his deal at $5 million.

He has versatility in terms of positions he can play, which can be useful. However, he has struggled mightily over the past few seasons despite being a solid top-six forward during the 2010's.

He is on this list mainly for the potential reclamation aspect as he could be an amazing find if he is acquired and can find his game again. However, it is unlikely and there are very large risks to acquiring him which make him an undesirable trade option.

At a heavy retention, Granlund could be a useful player for the Leafs and his acquisition cost should be cheap given his struggles. If the Leafs staff feel they could reclaim his previous performance, it could be worth it but as is, he would almost be too risky to even attempt.

Alex Barabanov

When the Leafs traded their KHL free agent signee to the San Jose Sharks back in 2021, he was mainly used as a 13th forward. He has seen great success in a depth role with the Sharks over the past three years and is now seeking to join a cup contender.

The main issue I have with Barabanov is his lack of play-driving ability. He struggles to create offense as well as stunt opposing team’s offense. I would typically lend some credence to the fact the Sharks have been a basement dwelling team for the past few seasons but even relative to his teammates, it is lacking. Mix in his relatively easy matchups and it makes his underlying numbers even more concerning.

You don’t produce at a nearly 45-55 point pace over the past two season by accident, clearly there is skill there and it’s evident when watching him. However, the poor numbers do worry me enough that I would caution paying anything of significance to acquire his services, especially as a rental. Luckily, he only makes $2.5 million and at half retained, he could be a worthwhile depth add for the right price.

Frank Vatrano

Vatrano has hit his stride with the Anaheim Ducks, in his two seasons in California he has recorded his first and second best statistical seasons to date with 41 and 48 (and counting) points respectively. He has utility as a forechecking middle-six winger, making him fit the Leafs need quite well. However, much like Barabanov his play driving numbers give me some pause. Unlike Barabanov, he is mainly used against top competition and playing on a poor team like the Ducks could have an impact on his numbers of course.

The added benefit of Vatrano is his relatively cheap deal at $3.65 million for another year. This would allow the Leafs to acquire a player for two hopeful cup runs. If the price is right, Vatrano could prove to be a very valuable acquisition.