In today’s Leafs Links, we get set for a busy week in Leafland and across the NHL with updates on Frederik Andersen, Alex Pietrangelo, Taylor Hall, Joonas Korpisalo, and possible right-handed defense targets for the Leafs in free agency.
General Manager Kyle Dubas will reportedly address the media on Monday in the a.m.
Leafs GM Kyle Dubas will be speaking with the media tomorrow morning in advance of Tuesday's draft. Going to be very busy week for Toronto.
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) October 4, 2020
Johnston: Taylor Hall open to short-term offers (Sportsnet)
The latest from CJ this weekend: Top free-agent forward, Taylor Hall, is open to hearing short-term offers from contending teams.
What is interesting about Taylor Hall is that I think he is going to be very open to any kind of deal these suitors step up and make him come October 9th. It is not saying you have to give me a six or seven-year contract. I think he will entertain one- and two-year deals.
The way it is going to work with his agent, Darren Ferris, is that any interested team is going to be given a chance to make a proposal to him and why it makes sense. Part of that proposal will be a contract offer, and none of those offers will be turned away out of hand.
That is probably a smart way to go about it because it is such an uncertain time on the free-agent market with everything going on due to COVID-19. It is relatively big news that one of the biggest names might do a short-term contract in free agency.
Friedman: Leafs could look at adding two right-shot D in FA (31 Thoughts Pod)
On the latest 31 Thoughts podcast, Elliotte Friedman opines that Pietrangelo’s desired destinations are topped by St. Louis (#1) and Vegas (#2).
Are they looking at two or three of the defensemen that can play the right side? All of the talk is about Pietrangelo. I still think Pietrangelo’s number-one choice is to go back to St. Louis. I don’t know if it’s going to happen.
My guess — my personal opinion — is that next choice is Vegas. That is my personal opinion, and I could be wrong.
I think Toronto will look in on that. I just don’t know if it is going to be possible.
Friedman on possible FA targets at RHD:
If [Pietrangelo] is not possible, what I think they are going to do is go up and down their list of right-hand shot defensemen — Dylan DeMelo, Trevor van Riemsdyk, TJ Brodie is a guy who they’ve liked in the past and is a left shot who prefers the right side.
Radko Gudas — we’ve talked about him before, right? I don’t think the Leafs will be in on Tyson Barrie. Is Sami Vantanen a guy that Toronto looks like? And we should mention Chris Tanev because if Tanev hits the market, I think Toronto is going to look at that.
I think the Leafs are going to look at two or three fixes on the right side — probably two — and see if, if it’s not Pietrangelo, get two of those guys to play.
I also think they’re going to look for some edge up front. Also, they’re going to see where everyone lands and then see if there are trade opportunities for them. I could see them going after two of those right-side defensemen instead of one big one, assuming that they don’t go all in on Pietrangelo.
LeBrun: Latest on Pietrangelo, Dougie Hamilton, Frederik Andersen (TSN)
On Overdrive and Leafs Lunch on Friday, Pierre LeBrun provided the latest he is hearing on Cody Ceci, Alex Pietrangelo, Dougie Hamilton, and Frederik Andersen.
Between now and Wednesday, I think the Blues do circle back to his camp and the two sides have another chat about this.
To me, I think there is wiggle room there for both sides. I think it is good for this process that they had their big blowout two weeks ago and not now. It has allowed for a lot of the emotions to pass.
Having said that, they may not be able to get over this hurdle. We know what those hurdles are. Pietrangelo, like most players of his pedigree, wants signing bonus money. That is something that Doug Armstrong of the Blues does not give out.
I don’t think they’re that far off on the money from the last time they were on it, but it’s more the structure of the deal that is the issue.
If they don’t get closer in the next few days, it sets up a fascinating week. Doug Armstrong is a really aggressive GM and we’ve talked about the possibility of a sign and trade — a bit of a long shot and difficult to pull off. If they can’t get over that hurdle, it sets up the fireworks.
I was talking to a GM who said it feels like the Pietrangelo situation is kind of delaying a lot of other things in terms of a domino effect. People are waiting to see what happens with that.
LeBrun on his report that the Leafs could “circle back” on Cody Ceci in free agency:
The Leafs talked to both [Barrie and Ceci] camps and said, “Go to market and we’ll keep in touch.” I guess the Barrie one was more obvious, but on the Cody Ceci one, we know Dubas has talked about and defended Cody Ceci, including at the end of the year. It is not a totally closed door. I think genuinely the two sides agreed, “Hey, let’s have Cody go to market and see what is out there and then we’ll circle back.”
But whenever you open that door, you certainly probably accept that’s the end for the player in this market.
LeBrun on the latest he’s hearing around Frederik Andersen:
I just haven’t heard his name of late. Who knows if the Leafs turn around in the next few days and trade him, but I don’t get that sense. I feel like it has dissipated, and I think there are a lot of reasons for it. The Penguins very publicly have been trying to trade Matt Murray and haven’t been able to.
Columbus is listening on both Elvis Merzlikins and Joonas Korpisalo. We know Vegas should or will try to move Marc Andre Fleury. It is just flooded. That is not even mentioning the long list of UFAs that will hit the market next Friday.
It is just not an ideal market. Carolina might trade Reimer or Mrazek if they can find an upgrade. Minnesota wants to move Dubnyk and San Jose has interest in him.
There are about 15 goalies on the market one way or another, whether free agent or trade, and there are about nine teams looking for goalies. The music is going to stop and someone is not going to be happy.
Given that market, I am not sure it makes sense for the Leafs to make that kind of move unless the offer sets up something else they need to do.
LeBrun on Dougie Hamilton’s status in Carolina:
He loves it in Carolina. He’s bounced around Boston and Calgary; he loves it in Carolina and has found his niche. He is the top dog there offensively on the backend. But he has a year left on his deal and he plays for an owner that doesn’t always open his wallet. Where they left things right now is that the Hurricanes do have interest in extending him, but both sides in that conversation have decided to let the market play out here over the next few weeks to see where guys like him fit with fresher comparables.
No one here has said this to me, but one of the comparables is going to be Alex Pietrangelo’s new contract.
I’d say at some point between the end of October and start of December, we should have an idea of where the whole thing is headed on the Dougie Hamilton front. That is not ideal for some teams who don’t know if he is an option for them because it might be too late. They may have already spent those cap dollars.
Some great tidbits from our guests on @SiriusXMNHL this hour:
From @NHL_AaronWard on the Freddie Andersen talk between Leafs/Canes: Leafs wanted Dougie Hamilton, and that was a non-starter.
From @Aportzline: a very good chance CBJ buys out Alex Wennberg if they can't move him.
— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) October 3, 2020
Leafs interested in Joonas Korpisalo? (The Fourth Period)
Chalk this up as a report that doesn’t totally add up. The thought that the Leafs could downgrade (objectively based on career averages) in net and go with a Jack Campbell – Joonas Korpisalo tandem in order to save $2.2 million in cap space on Frederik Andersen doesn’t seem like a calculated risk worth taking at such a critically important position. Korpisalo does have a year more of control than Andersen (signed until 2022 at $2.8 million AAV).
It’s unclear how in-depth trade discussions between the Maple Leafs and Blue Jackets have gotten, or if they are still ongoing, but Korpisalo appears to be on Toronto’s radar and it is possible the Leafs also have interest in centre Brandon Dubinsky, who has one-year left on his contract.
Dubinsky, however, is battling injury and is not expected to be available for the 2020-21 season; his acquisition would be a calculated move, as placing him on LTIR would give the Maple Leafs additional flexibility against the salary cap.