As fans eagerly question what the Toronto Maple Leafs deadline will look like, let’s go over what shouldn’t happen for the Leafs. With the Leafs sitting atop the North division, it seems like they are primed to make a deep playoff run. Adding at the deadline would certainly make sense. But not at the cost of one of their top four prospects. Rasmus Sandin, Rodion Amirov, Timothy Liljegren and Nicholas Robertson should all be off-limits as the Leafs look to their roster.
What Shouldn’t Happen at the Toronto Maple Leafs Deadline
The Value of Young Prospects
In a time of a flat cap, competitive teams are going to have a tough time keeping their upcoming unrestricted free agents. Young players on cheap contracts will be more important than ever. This is especially true for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Players like Zach Hyman and Morgan Rielly are on expiring contracts. The Leafs could need a forward to step into their top 6 and a defenceman into their top 4.
While it is important to go for it this year, the key to long to long-term success isn’t selling off these key players, especially not for a mid-level winger. Some of these prospects are very close to making the NHL. While it can be worth it at the deadline to trade one of these types of prospects, the market doesn’t seem to be as worth it to give up a significant piece such as their top four prospects.
The 2020-21 NHL Trade Market
While of course, it’s always good to have young, good players in your system to fill out your lineup. There are reasons to trade good prospects such as these if you have the chance to improve your lineup now. Just not this season. It’s been said time and time again that it will be a buyers market this season. A team that is as financially well off as the Leafs should be in a strong position. They are not among the teams that are looking to unload money because the owners don’t want to spend during a pandemic.
The market is not what it has been in previous years. If Taylor Hall may not even net a first-round pick at the deadline, then the Leafs should not be dealing away any top prospects. We’ve seen an effective player in Eric Staal get traded for a third and a fifth for 50% retention. It does not seem like the Leafs have to deal one of Liljegren, Sandin, Amirov or Robertson to gear up for a deep playoff run.
With the draft as weak as it’s been rumoured to be, and with scouting as sparse as it has been this season, dealing draft picks should be the route to go. Even if they hold less value this season than ones prior, it’s better than trading prospects that are close to making the NHL.
This isn’t to say the Leafs shouldn’t be active leading up to the deadline. The Toronto Maple Leafs need to leverage the market and add good players for an inexpensive trade. Unless it’s for an excellent addition with term, the Leafs should be keeping all of Sandin, Liljegren, Amirov and Robertson.
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