In today’s Leafs Links, the insiders discuss a whole host of names that might be in play and of interest to the Toronto Maple Leafs ahead of the 3 p.m. EST deadline on Monday, including Joe Thornton, Zach Bogosian, Troy Stetcher, and Jujhar Khaira.
Elliotte Friedman on Ristolainen rumours, Josh Anderson availability (WGR550)
Friedman joined The Instigators to discuss the rumours of discussions between the Leafs and Sabres around Rasmus Ristolainen as well as Josh Anderson’s availability in Columbus.
I heard the rumours yesterday about Toronto and Ristolainen. I would be shocked. I really would. I just think if you know Toronto’s management, it doesn’t seem to be a fit to me. It doesn’t seem like the type of player Toronto would prioritize.
The other thing, too, is — and Burkie told this story last night — Calgary looked at him and really thought long and hard about going and getting him. Their analytics guys prepared a report and the numbers were just not good. They kind of reassessed and looked at it. They said when they looked at some of the things that were pointed out about it, they agreed. They backed away from the process.
I think Toronto would think similarly. I would be surprised. If the price is low enough, I think anybody would do anything, but I don’t see Toronto paying the price that Buffalo would want for Ristolainen. It just doesn’t fit the way they think.
Friedman on Anderson:
One of the biggest questions that is being asked right now is how healthy Josh Andersen is. I think that is a question for Columbus and I think it is a question for other teams. There would be a lot of interest in Josh Anderson — Boston, Colorado, a lot of the teams that are interested in Kreider are probably interested in Anderson, too. But you’ve got to know he is going to play.
Even if you knew he was going to play a week or two after the deadline, you’d still take the chance. But he hasn’t played since December 14th and he had four points in 26 games. I think people really respect Anderson and really like his skill set, but you’ve got to know he is going to be available.
His contract is up this year and he is a year away from UFA, so you know the price is going to be higher because of what Coleman went for and what Anderson’s skill set is, but you’ve got to know you can count on him for this year. While it is still uncertain, I think it makes it very difficult to trade for him.
Bob McKenzie on the Barrie situation, possible Zach Bogosian interest (TSN1050)
Bob McKenzie joined Leafs Lunch to discuss the Leafs‘ decision with Tyson Barrie.
There are multiple teams that are talking to the Leafs about Tyson Barrie right now. There is no doubt about it… When you look at the big picture on Barrie, you have got to start with the premise that this is a player that is not highly likely to return to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Toronto Maple Leafs are not in a position with their cap to afford him a homerun with them.
With having had Barrie for the year and haven’t played him significant minutes and games with Morgan Rielly, I think the Leafs recognize that is not exactly the perfect fit for them long term. To have a guy like Barrie on the roster at $2.25 million was well worth it, and he continues to be a productive guy for them. They are not desperate to usher him out of the door. But the reality is because the Leafs hit the skids this past week, and because a lot of other defensemen got traded, the pool of available defensemen for trade shrunk substantially when DeMelo and Dillon and all of those guys got moved the other day. Teams did call.
The Leafs are in the position now where they are saying, “We are not potentially going to trade Tyson Barrie because we are raising the white flag on the season or we want future considerations, or any of that. What they want to do is get better. They want to get that right-shot long-term defenseman still. They can’t get that, you wouldn’t think, with Tyson Barrie as trade bait.
Two things would have to happen, in my mind, for Tyson Barrie to get traded. They would need another defenseman coming back the other way that makes them as least as good as they are now if not better. They are still fully invested in making the playoffs. All that talk earlier in the week that they had lost games and looked terrible and maybe they should just sell — they are not going to sell. Despite whatever flaws the team may have, they want to make the playoffs and they want to try to go deep. Trading bonafide top-four NHL defensemen for picks and prospects is not going to help them unless you could trade Barrie for a defenseman who is going to help you now — although that is tough to do because Barrie is on an expiring contract. Or you could trade him for picks and prospects and use them as currency in a separate deal that would get you the right-shot defenseman with term that they are looking for.
The idea of the Leafs trading Barrie and having a hole in their lineup and getting some picks and prospects doesn’t seem to really make a lot of sense to me. They’ve got to finesse two deals or get a different type of defenseman back that would replace Barrie in the lineup and not weaken the team. Or he just stays for the balance of the season and walks to free agency in the summer.
On whether there would be interested in soon-to-be FA Zach Bogosian from the Leafs:
I think they probably would. There will be a bunch of teams that, once you lose the money he has been making on his existing NHL deal and it gets mutually terminated, he is a free agent with an opportunity to sign. I’d bet there are at least a half a dozen teams that will talk about signing him and probably look at him as a league minimum type of guy for depth.
On whether Troy Stetcher could be a fit:
Stetcher is an RFA at the end of this year, and Vancouver does have some interest in Barrie. If they were going to do it, Vancouver — after giving up a first-round pick for JT Miller in the summer and giving up a second for Tyler Toffoli this past week — is trying to conserve draft picks… Whether it’s Olli Juolevi, who has been riddled with injuries and is playing in Utica, or some of the other depth options they’ve got, including Troy Stetcher on their roster… There might be concerns as to what it is going to cost to sign Stetcher if they’ve got younger defensemen who are ready to come in and replace him.
Stetcher might be the kind of guy who would have some interest from the Toronto Maple Leafs, but it is not going to be as simple as, “Let’s trade Tyson Barrie to Vancouver for Stetcher.” The Leafs would want and expect more than that. And by no means is Vancouver the only team talking to the Leafs about Tyson Barrie.
Friedman on 31 thoughts: Ristolainen, Joe Thornton, Tyson Barrie (Sportsnet)
On the 31 Thoughts podcast, Friedman discussed the asking price on Ristolainen, the interest in Joe Thornton, and possible suitors for Tyson Barrie.
On the Sabres asking price for Ristolainen:
I think they were hoping to get a top-two center for Ristolainen. I don’t know if they’re going to be able to do that now. I think it is tough. They traded Scandella for a fourth and Montreal just dealt him for a second and a conditional fourth. It has been hard there this year. I don’t think it is lack of trying. I think if you get ever get a hand on Jason Botterill’s log this year, you’d see a lot of things that he got proposed that people in the long term are going to say, “Thank God he didn’t do that.”
On the interest in Joe Thornton around the league:
I think there are teams who want him. I could see Dallas liking him. I could see Boston liking him. I could see Toronto liking Thornton. The thing is Doug Wilson has made it clear internally that it has to be Joe Thornton’s call. They’ll work on it together.
Toronto is looking for depth. We heard Sheldon Keefe speak on Tuesday about the bottom six and say it’s not even about offense; they just can’t get caved in. They got caved in against Pittsburgh. After that game, I heard Dubas was starting to look around again.
On the possibility of Tyson Barrie moving:
You’ve traded a first to get rid of Marleau. You’ve traded picks in the deal for Campbell and Clifford. What do you think you could get for Barrie? I think that guy, too — it just didn’t work. For whatever reason, it just didn’t work.
With Johnsson out, can you really trade Kapanen or Kerfoot? If you get something with term, you can do it, but I would be saying I might deal Barrie. I bet you he would almost appreciate the chance to go somewhere and see if he can revive the end of the season.
He told us he thought he was going to the Vancouver Canucks [at the draft]. I think Calgary would have interest. I think there would be a lot of teams have Tyson Barrie run their power play or be a part of their team for the playoffs. The guy is talented.
Friedman on interest in Joe Thornton, Jujhar Khaira (630 CHED)
On 630 CHED on Friday, Friedman discussed the Leafs’ possible interest in Joe Thornton and wonders if the Leafs might circle back on Khaira in Edmonton as forward depth.
I think Dallas would be. I haven’t heard Colorado. It doesn’t mean that it’s not them. I think Dallas has had some interest. I think Boston has had some interest. I think Toronto would have interest. I don’t think there is going to be any question about interest in Thornton if he wants to go.
… I’ve also wondered about Khaira and Toronto again. I know they talked about it last year at this time. I’ve kind of wondered if Toronto would revisit that. I know he hasn’t had as great of a year, but he’s a better player than he’s shown. I’ve wondered if that has been rekindled at all.