Scott Cullen of TSN: The Maple Leafs could buy out defenseman Jared Cowen. They could still attempt to trade him.
The Leafs have lots of options up front, but they are a little thin on the blueline. They could explore moving some of their forward depth for help on defenseman. Puck moving RFAs that could be traded this summer include Sami Vatanen, Tyson Barrie and Matt Dumba, but they would cost a premium. Jason Demers is a UFA and could fit into a top-four.
Jonathan Bernier is being paid like a starting goaltender at a $4.15 million cap hit. If the Leafs want to improve in net, they could look at Frederik Andersen or Brian Elliott. If there is expansion, more goalies could become available.
Leafs offseason needs: Two top-six forwards, depth forwards, two top-four defencemen, and a goaltender.
Maple Leafs who could be traded: Tyler Bozak, Peter Holland, Matt Hunwick, Jonathan Bernier and draft picks.
Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun: With the Toronto Maple Leafs winning the draft lottery and Auston Matthews, it gives them a front-line center. Simmons writes:
“And with free agency coming and Steven Stamkos available this year — and possibly John Tavares available next year — it means the Leafs have more building options than they have had in so many years.”
The Leafs the Penguins first round pick as well, and they could be looking for ways to move up in the draft.
The Maple Leafs have some interest in Penguins goalie Matt Murray. The Penguins, Lightning and Ducks have depth in goal and are going to have to move one if there is an expansion draft next year.
On the Toronto Maple Leafs and Steven Stamkos …
Chris Nichols of Today’s Slapshot: Bob McKenzie on TSN 690 on the Toronto Maple Leafs and if them winning the draft lottery makes it any more or less likely that Steven Stamkos would want to potentially sign with them this offseason.
“It’s a good question. I can’t presume to know what Steven Stamkos would think. It’s his hometown. I don’t think that just because it’s his hometown that he’s necessarily sitting there on pins and needles saying, ‘I can hardly get to July 1 so I can sign with Toronto and nobody else.’
“What I can tell you, I think, is that I would be shocked beyond all belief… (if Steven Stamkos becomes a free agent)… there’s no doubt in my mind the Toronto Maple Leafs are going to take a hard run at Steven Stamkos.
“They would feel like the missing piece of the puzzle here is somebody who can lead them on and off the ice, somebody who is a real good player. They’ve got an unbelievable amount of salary cap flexibility right now.
“… There’s no doubt If Stamkos is on the market, they will make a strong bid to try and get Steven Stamkos. Whether they get him, we’d all just be guessing on that.”