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NHL Rumours: Toronto Could Shake up Bottom-Six

Kampf trade

Welcome to another edition of NHL Rumours! This edition looks at the Toronto Maple Leafs and how they may tinker with their bottom-six forward group.

NHL Rumours

Shopping David Kampf?

Rumour: Nick Kypreos believes there’s a good chance that the Maple Leafs trade David Kampf. In his latest piece for the Toronto Star, Kypreos touched on many issues within the Leafs roster. One of the issues brought up was Toronto’s bottom-six forward group and how it can be improved.

One of Kypreos’ points in his article was about how the Leafs could cut ties with forward David Kampf. The undrafted forward earns $2.4M AAV over the next three years. Toronto’s projected cap space is less than $200K, so trading Kampf would give General Manager, Brad Treliving more freedom. If the Leafs were to trade Kampf, it would have to be for draft picks or unsigned prospects in order to earn that cap space.

Kampf is a very solid player and has been for the Maple Leafs for the last three years. The Czech forward is known for his defensive abilities. Last season, he finished with a faceoff percentage over 50% and was top 10 in the league for total time on the PK. He is typically on the first penalty-killing unit alongside Mitch Marner. Former head coach, Sheldon Keefe put a lot of trust in Kampf. So much to the point where he would send the two-way centre out to start overtime, just to win the faceoff. At the end of the day, Kampf is a very reliable player and could have a role on any team.  Although, the Leafs are under different management now, meaning things may change next season. Maybe Craig Berube doesn’t see a fit for Kampf and would like to put his value elsewhere.

Filling a Kampf-Sized Hole

Trading Kampf could provide the opportunity to add more depth to their bottom six with remaining free agents. There are still many appealing cheap, depth forwards up for grabs on the market. However, that’s not the only direction where Toronto has to look. Unlike a typical contending team, they have plenty of young players and prospects in the pipeline that could make an appearance next season.

If the Leafs were to trade Kampf, the closest to a replacement they have within the organization would be Fraser Minten. He was drafted 38th overall by Toronto in 2022 and played a handful of games early last season. The 20-year-old plays a similar role to Kampf, but because of his inexperience it’s still very raw. Minten specializes in a two-way game and exemplifies maturity on the ice. In the few games he featured in, he fit in really well, slotting in as the third-line centre. If the Maple Leafs were to entertain a Kampf trade, Minten would be a promising replacement that saves the team money at the same time.

If the Leafs front office were to go the cheap route, using talent within the system, they could potentially use all of Kampf’s $2.4M on one forward to help boost their middle-six. The loss of Tyler Bertuzzi shot Toronto’s offence on paper. Therefore, Treliving may look to adventure off to that path.

Main Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports


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