Potential trade options for the Toronto Maple Leafs
Luke Fox of Sportsnet: Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas could look to free agency to improve the right side of their blue line but he may find better options on the trade market.
Dubas is reportedly asking for a top-four defenseman for goaltender Frederik Andersen. Andreas Johnsson, Alex Kerfoot, the Penguins No. 15 pick or possibly William Nylander could be put up for trade as well.
A look at 15 intriguing trade targets from the Maple Leafs covering all price points.
Aaron Ekblad – Florida Panthers – $7.5-million cap hit through 2024-25
Matt Dumba – Minnesota Wild – $6-million cap hit through 2022-23
Colton Parayko – St. Louils Blues – $5.5-million cap hit through 2021-22
Rasmus Ristolainen – Buffalo Sabres – $5.4-million cap hit through 2021-22
Troy Stecher – Vancouver Canucks – RFA with arbitration rights
Josh Manson – Anaheim Ducks – $4.1-million cap hit through 2021-22
Brett Pesce – Carolina Hurricanes – $4.025-million cap hit through 2023-24
Niklas Hjalmarsson – Arizona Coyotes – $5-million cap hit through 2020-21
David Savard – Columbus Blue Jackets – $4.25-million cap hit through 2020-21
Jonas Brodin – Minnesota Wild – $4.17-million cap hit through 2020-21
Mattias Ekholm – Nashville Predators – $3.75-million cap hit through 2021-22
Connor Murphy – Chicago Blackhawks – $3.85-million cap hit through 2021-22
MacKenzie Weegar – Florida Panthers – RFA
Adam Larsson – Edmonton Oilers – $4.17-million cap hit through 2020-21
Matt Benning – Edmonton Oilers – RFA with arbitration rights
Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun: There has been plenty of trade speculation surrounding the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Toronto Maple Leafs may not be shopping goaltender Frederik Andersen, but GM Kyle Dubas would listen to any team that inquires. There are plenty of goaltenders that will be available this offseason in free agency and for trade.
The free agent market could consist of Robin Lehner, Braden Holtby, Jacob Markstrom, Thomas Greiss, Cam Talbot, Corey Crawford and Anton Khudobin.
The trade market could include Matt Murray or Tristan Jarry, and Darcy Kuemper. The New York Rangers may need to move one of Henrik Lundqvist, Alexandar Georgiev or Igor Shesterkin.
Dubas could look to move one of Alexander Kerfoot or Andreas Johnsson if it gives the Leafs more room for a top-four defenseman.
Several free agent options for the Maple Leafs
Ian Mendes: Hailey Salvian said that Ottawa Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki is going to test free agency.
Michael Traikos of the Toronto Sun: The free agent crop for defensemen could include Alex Pietrangelo, Torey Krug, Chris Tanev, T.J. Brodie and Travis Hamonic.
Those defensemen would likely cost too much for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but right-handed Mark Borowiecki could fill a need and at the right price.
“I understand his role isn’t going to be as a power-play specialist,” agent Steve Bartlett said in a phone interview with Postmedia Network on Thursday. “But you see these games where it’s one blocked shot after another and guys sacrificing their bodies — that’s Mark. It’s a very valuable thing.
“Teammates know he’s got their back. They watch him and how hard he works. He’s far from the most talented guy, but his compete level is off the charts in my opinion. Coaches love him, because of that do-anything mentality and how he’ll sacrifice his body and block shots left and right and throw himself into harm’s way. He’s one of those guys who makes everyone around him play harder, because of how dedicated he is.”
Would Borowiecki consider a move from the Senators to the Maple Leafs: “We’re wide open.”
The Leafs roster lacks toughness, especially if Kyle Clifford leaves via free agency. Potential ‘toughness’ options for the Maple Leafs could also include Wayne Simmonds, Joel Edmundson, Justin Braun and Brenden Dillon.
Maple Leafs Ranked Top Canadian Team
Sportsnet’s Brian Burke was asked to rank all of the Canadian NHL clubs during the first intermission of the Vegas Golden Knights versus Dallas Stars game on Saturday. He did, and his list is stirring up debate.
His rankings were as follows:
No. 7: Ottawa Senators
No 6: Montreal Canadiens
No. 4 & 5 (Tie): Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames
No. 3: Vancouver Canucks
No. 2: Edmonton Oilers
No. 1.: Toronto Maple Leafs
Not surprisingly, the Leafs being ranked at the top of his list is striking up conversation. He said he believed the team was set in net, which is surprising considering all the talk surrounding Frederik Andersen being traded. He also said he believes the team should bring back Kyle Clifford.
That Vancouver was ranked No. 3 is also interesting considering they went farther than any other Canadian club this season.
Auston Matthews Finishes Second for the Lady Byng Trophy
The Lady Byng is one of my favorite trophies. After every season it’s presented to the National Hockey League “player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.” This season the Colorado Avalanche’s MacKinnon won the award with Maple Leafs’ Matthews coming in second in the voting.
Some hockey fans believe the award goes to skilled players who play “soft.” Tell that to Wayne Gretzky, who won the award five times, or to Pavel Datsyuk, who won four times. Even the Maple Leafs’ Dave Keon won the award twice in the early 1960s. In 2020, MacKinnon ran away with the award with Matthews trailing.
Matthews led the Maple Leafs in scoring with 80 points (including 47 goals and 33 assists) in 70 regular-season games. He was assessed only four minor penalties. Other Maple Leafs players from the 2019-20 season also got votes. William Nylander finished in 26th and Mitch Marner 30th in voting. Nylander received a second and a third-place vote. Marner received two fourth and two fifth-place votes.
MacKinnon noted after winning the award, “I respect my opponents. I don’t want to be dirty. I also want to be trusted by the coaching staff that I won’t take penalties and things like that. I guess with my skating, I try to use my legs to stick check and things like that and not take unnecessary minors. But I never thought I’d win this award. Usually I get more minors than this. But obviously I’m very honored. Some of the best players ever have won this award, so it’s really cool.”
Mikko Lehtonten’s Jokerit Team Has Been Quarantined after COVID-19 Exposure
Mikko Lehtonen’s start to his 2020-21 KHL season was impressive with three goals and an assist in two games, but it ended quickly. After a potential COVID-19 outbreak on an opposing team, the team’s season has been paused while Lehtonen and Jokerit (Helsinki) entered their quarantine.
Yesterday, the KHL announced that an upcoming game between Jokerit and Ak Bars would be moved to a later date after four positive cases showed up on the Neftekhimik team that Jokerit beat 6-0 Wednesday. Because the team was possibly exposed, Lehtonen and other team members will begin a 14-day quarantine and will undergo further testing before they’re allowed to return to play. Jokerit also announced that the team’s next four games would also be postponed.
For any Maple Leafs fans tracking the KHL, Lehtonen’s impressive start — although only two games — suggests his past season was no fluke and that he’s ready to play at the NHL level. Lehtonen became the second Maple Leafs player to have his season halted because of COVID-19 exposure. Mikko Kokkonen, the Maple Leafs’ third-round draft choice in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, was also placed into quarantine earlier this week when his Jukurit U20 team in Finland’s The Liiga was exposed to the virus.
Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun: Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas has a growing reputation around the league of making his players available for trade but asking for “exorbitant prices” for them. He made Tyson Barrie available at the trade deadline but asking price scared teams off.
Dubas is now doing the same with goaltender Frederik Andersen despite the number of goaltenders that are going to be available this offseason. Dubas may not really be interested in trading Andersen, but just testing the waters to see if there is any interest.
Wayne Simmonds thinks he could make an impact on the Toronto Maple Leafs
Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic: There is going to be lots of uncertainty with free agency this offseason with the NHL economy due to the pandemic. Teams have to deal with the flat salary cap, while some may be told by ownership to reduce payroll.
Free agents like Alex Pietrangelo, Torey Krug and Taylor Hall should be fine. Things are a little more up in the air for players like Wayne Simmonds.
Simmonds said he has no idea what lies ahead in free agency but states that he’s 100 percent healthy now. At the right price says Simmonds would be a good add for a playoff team. Simmonds would like to land with Cup contender, to be a player to put a team over the top. His hometown Toronto Maple Leafs?
“I moved up to Aurora (north of Toronto) probably three summers ago, my wife and I and our daughter,’’ Simmonds said. “I’ve been walking around the neighbourhood way more frequently than I usually do because I’ve been here a lot longer than normal and all I keep hearing is, `When are you going to sign with the Leafs?’
“So of course it’s crossed my mind. I know they’re in a bit of a salary cap situation and things of that nature, but you know I’m open to everything, Toronto’s got a great core of players and I think that’s definitely a team where I could go in and make an impact right away. It’s up to the teams. Whoever wants to choose me, I’ll be waiting. I’ll definitely be ready to go.’’
Luke Fox of Sportsnet: The Toronto Maple Leafs are getting trade inquiries for goaltender Frederik Andersen.
The Leafs must have an idea of what Andersen will be looking for when his contract expires after next season. It won’t be easy for the Leafs given the flat salary cap and forward Zach Hyman also needing a new deal.
So if the Maple Leafs don’t see Andersen in their long-term future, it makes sense to move him now.
Potential teams looking for a goaltender that have the assets/defensemen include the Carolina Hurricanes, Minnesota Wild, Calgary Flames and Buffalo Sabres.
One thing the Maple Leafs should also keep in mind is that will they be able to get another goaltender who is better than Andersen at $5 million or less?
Pending UFAs Robin Lehner and Jacob Markstrom would be expensive. Corey Crawford has injuries concerns. Alexandar Georgiev isn’t a sure thing and Matt Murray has been inconsistent lately.
Arizona Coyotes Darcy Kuemper at $4.5 million is intriguing.