NHL Rumours: Toronto Maple Leafs Trade Deadline Options Could be Limited

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Toronto Maple Leafs Trade Deadline Options

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek were speaking on the 32 Thoughts podcast. Friedman mentioned he believes Timo Meier would be the perfect fit for Toronto. However, they then went on to mention that the Leafs don’t want to give up their first-round pick or top prospect Matthew Knies. They are also working from a position of not knowing what their cap room will look like. Not just due to a lack of overall space but also Jake Muzzin and his uncertainty. Could this limit the Toronto Maple Leafs trade deadline options?

Muzzin and Space

Let’s start with the cap aspect of things. The first thing to remember is that Muzzin’s health is always more important than any on-ice decision. The Leafs know that and will respect it. However, from a paper standpoint, it will be helpful to know if Muzzin is planning on returning at all this season or not. If he isn’t, that suddenly opens up a lot of room for Toronto to work with. However, if he is, they need to save his $5.75 in cap room. Currently, they are on pace for a shade under $2 million in deadline cap space.

If they were to only have that amount, finding a big fish UFA trade piece may prove tough. Unless salary retention, and maybe multiple retentions at that are in play, it will be hard to fit anyone in. Luckily for Toronto, a player like Meier is currently underpaid so he may be an option still.

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Assets and Giving Them Up

The next big step would be, what are they willing to give up? If Toronto truly wants another impact forward, or an impact defenceman to replace Muzzin, they will need to give to get. Given how well the team has played defensively, it seems more logical to boost the forward depth. However, that will still cost the team.

If they are truly hesitant to give up a first-round pick, that means they will need to get very creative if they want to land a big fish. Almost all trade deadline deals for a player of Meier’s calibre start with a first and a prospect. What complicates it, even more, is the Leafs don’t want to part with their best prospect Knies. Now, it makes sense in terms of how they view Knies as a player who may even be able to slide in this season when his college year ends. However, their window to go for it is also now. If you can get an impact player, you need to look at doing that.

Without Knies and the first, it seems complicated to see how they would get a player of Meier’s calibre. Nicholas Robertson is now done with another injury and one needs to wonder how much value he even has left. It seems unlikely a bag of mid-round picks and B-tier prospects would be enough to swing for any big fish. It is possible the Toronto Maple Leafs trade options start to shift to someone cheaper. Would a name like Nino Niederreiter be a fit?

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