The Toronto Maple Leafs trade options range from being active buyers to being active sellers to doing absolutely nothing at all. An encouraging win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night has Leafs Nation leaning heavily towards Kyle Dubas being a buyer. Had the Maple Leafs lost that game, and the one tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Twitterpanic (TM) would have been calling for Dubas to burn it all down come Sunday. Dubas maybe be young, but he has yet to show evidence that he makes rash decisions in the heat of the moment. Let’s remove the emotion from the question of what the Toronto Maple Leafs Trade options are and ask again.
Potential Toronto Maple Leafs Trade Deadline Options
Dubas has already made two relatively minor deals. He acquired Denis Malgin from the Florida Panthers on Feb 19th for Mason Marchment. Malgin played on the John Tavares line on Thursday against the Penguins. If Malgin manages to stay in the top six and contribute, this deal shouldn’t be called minor, but that’s a long shot. Malgin is a skilled sort of player, just what Dubas likes, but it’s hard to see him making an impact with Toronto’s top six when he was had for a player that’s likely no more than an AHLer in Marchment.
Dubas also traded for Max Veroneau giving up Aaron Luchuk. If you’re asking who are these guys, you’re not the only one.
This is the least likely option, especially if you include minor deals as being active. It’s possible only because Dubas isn’t going to make a trade if he’s not making a trade that’s making the team better for the future. If the market is too hot, Dubas may prefer to save his pennies for cooler days. It wouldn’t be a terrible move. Disappointing perhaps, but it’s better to do nothing than the wrong thing.
There’s still a mindset out there that the Maple Leafs should burn this season and sell some of their free agents off. The problem with this option is they don’t have a lot to sell off and as we’ve seen in past years, once a team is in the playoffs, anything can happen. It’s not worth it to give up on a season when there’s still a good chance of qualifying for the playoffs. The Maple Leafs have a 63% chance of making the playoffs as of Saturday morning according to www.hockey-reference.com.
Selling Tyson Barrie
The Maple Leafs have been getting calls about Tyson Barrie. Barrie is a pending UFA and will probably command a hefty raise on the open market. He’ll be too expensive for the Maple Leafs to re-sign. Especially if Dubas is going to re-sign Jake Muzzin, as rumour has it. It would make sense to trade Barrie if the Maple Leafs are selling. It could make sense if they’re buyers too. If Dubas can turn Barrie into assets that are then used to get a top-four right-handed defenseman with term, it would make this team better in the long-run.
The Vancouver Canucks are listed as one of the teams interested in Barrie. Allegedly, there are other teams interested too. If someone is willing to pay a high enough price, then why not trade Barrie if Dubas can acquire another, more stable, defenseman from somewhere else? The stars would have to align for this magic to happen, that’s for sure.
Buy Buy Buy
The biggest problem with the Maple Leafs being buyers is what are they going to buy with? Kasperi Kapanen has been the name most commonly thrown around, but won’t Dubas create a hole in the line up by trading him now that Andreas Johnsson is out for the season?
Alexander Kerfoot seems to not be working out as well as expected. Perhaps he could be on the move, but how much is Dubas going to get for Kerfoot? Toronto is also not well stocked with draft picks. They have eight picks in round four and after, but only one in the first three rounds, a second-round pick, for this year’s draft. Is Dubas willing to trade that second-round pick at all? If he does, the Maple Leafs might have to wait all the way to the fourth round to make their first pick of the 2020 draft.
The Maple Leafs have a few young players that could garner some interest. Players like Jeremy Bracco and the recently re-signed Pierre Engvall, but they don’t add up to a whole lot. I’m sure Dubas wants to add to the roster, but just he might not be able to. Or at least he may not be able to afford a big fish.
If he does manage to make a move for a top-four defenseman, they are out there. Mathew Dumba from the Minnesota Wild and Josh Manson from the Anaheim Ducks are two. There is also rumour the Maple Leafs could be interested in Adam Larsson. The price of any of these three probably starts with Kapanen. Perhaps moving Barrie could allow Dubas a way to replace Kapanen, but again the stars would need to align. Three team deals are rare in the NHL.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs is always full of unexpected players playing prominent roles. Whether a team suffers through injury or top players getting into slumps, teams with depth usually rise to the top. That’s something Dubas will probably focus on. If he can’t swing a blockbuster, fill from the bottom.
The Buffalo Sabers have a couple of defensemen the Maple Leafs could afford in Rasmus Ristolainen and Zach Bogosian. Ristolainen has been on the trade block for a while Bogosian may be a free agent by Monday’s trade deadline.
Dubas is creative, that’s for sure. Whether or not the Toronto Maple Leafs trade deadline will be fruitful or not is unclear. No one should put it past Dubas to pull off some smart moves, even if that means doing next to nothing. He’s thinking about the future as well as the present, and he knows what the team needs. He’s already filled a gaping hole between the pipes by acquiring Jack Campbell. Dubas has also put many minds at ease by adding some toughness in Kyle Clifford. What’s next for the boy wonder? We’ll see on Monday.