Does Toronto Looking For Defense Surprise?
Jonas Siegel of The Athletic: The Toronto Maple Leafs played well all season on defense aside from October and playing the Boston Bruins. It was a Maple Leafs team lacking Auston Matthews, but the defensive breakdowns were telling.
Toronto needs some kind of reinforcements. From a defensive standpoint or even a team-defense perspective, Toronto has issues. This is especially true when it comes to playing teams like Tampa Bay and Boston. Realities of the playoff format dictate find a way or get eliminated again.
The Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren pairing worked poorly as Boston scored three times in all. Without Jake Muzzin, it feels like Toronto heads toward a familiar fate unlike the Leafs can find someone.
Potential solutions include left-handed shooting Vladislav Gavrikov from Columbus. That bumps one of the Swedes to the bench. Is that a bad thing? Bottom-paired defenseman need to be a bit more rugged to face a Boston or Tampa Bay. That is the reality.
Toronto possesses a defense that battles and performs great during the regular season. It is a blue line that falters during the postseason as space grows tighter. Getting pushed around is not ideal and the Maple Leafs need pushback options.
Vancouver Reinforcements For Toronto?
Harman Dayal and Joshua Kloke of The Athletic: So, what can Kyle Dubas do when it comes to acquiring reinforcements to get out of the first round? Could this involve talking to the Vancouver Canucks? Luke Schenn did this duty before for Toronto. Dubas knows what he is getting.
Now, a forward like Conor Garland becomes a bonus. Cost becomes higher obviously, but how much salary would Vancouver be willing to retain? It should rank superior over a costlier buyout option. The key word is should.
If there was a trade, 50% retained money is almost required. After that, a Garland and Schenn package deal probably does not fit much in the plans for Toronto. One thing is clear. Toronto feels the pressure as March 3rd looms.
Sportsnet: Jeff Marek on 32 Thoughts on the Arizona Coyotes healthy scratching Jakob Chychrun for trade-related purposes.
“Okay, so insert the eyebrow, eyeball emoji right now. Arizona Coyotes keeping Jakob Chychrun out of the Coyotes’ game tonight against the St. Louis Blues for “trade-related reasons.” So that gets everyone one does this job on their phones right away. He’s what we can tell you.
We’ve been told definitely, no it’s not the Edmonton Oilers. The Toronto Maple Leafs have said no it’s not them. The Los Angeles Kings, that’s been a frequent source of speculation between Chychrun and another team.
Leafs will be patient with the UFAs
Luke Fox: Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas on pending unrestricted free agent Michael Bunting and their other pending UFAs: “We want to see what the rest of the year brings before we commit to anything necessarily.”
Sportsnet: Elliotte Friedman and Kelly Hrudy on the Toronto Maple Leafs and why Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov would be a perfect trade deadline fit.
Ron MacLean: “Elliotte, why don’t you bring us up to speed on a potential trade with Columbus and Kelly, you can tag that.
Friedman: “Yeah Kelly, you wait. Me first, then you.
So this is why the highlights Kevin just show are one of the reasons that people are wondering about what Toronto was thinking up front and on the blue line.
And ever since Jake Muzzin went down, I do think Toronto has thought about, do they need to replace him? They’ve been very good during the season as a whole, but they, Gavrikov, back-to-back against Columbus comes at a fortuitous time.
I do think the Maple Leafs have interest. I think that LA’s there as well. I think Boston’s there as well, and I’m sure there are other teams.
But this is a guy, left hand shot, a powerful player. That’s a player the Maple Leafs have thought about. Do we need that? So they’re, he’s definitely on their radar.
The Maple Leafs could use another defenseman and a top-six
Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun: The NHL trade deadline is three weeks away. Getting the puck out of their zone when under pressure and scoring goals in front of the net has been an issue of late for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Do they have enough depth on the blue line, especially if someone gets hurt? Another top-six insurance forward may be needed as well.
Top names out there include Timo Meier (LW), Patrick Kane (RW) and Jakob Chychrun (D).