In the Leafs Links, the insiders have the latest on the Toronto Maple Leafs’ possible trade pursuits with six weeks and change until the April 12th trade deadline.
Friedman: “I think they’re trying to find someone to play with Tavares & Nylander” (SN590)
On the Lead Off with Scotty Mac and Mike Zigomanis, Elliotte Friedman discussed the Leafs‘ deadline plans and the acquisition of Alex Galchenyuk.
I think Toronto is looking for another winger. I just think they are trying to find someone else to play with Tavares and Nylander and see if they can unlock something a bit more.
Are they getting a rental or a guy with term? That depends on the situation. If you are the Maple Leafs, don’t you see this as a year where you go for it? Look at the way you are going. Look at the way Matthews is going. Look at the way some of the star players are going. Just go for it.
The way the Leafs are playing and the way it is setting up, you are going for it this year. This is a year where you say, “I’ve got all of these poker chips in front of me. I am pushing them in. I am going for it.”
I think they are going to look pretty hard at what is available and they are going to try to add.
One of the reasons they made this deal with Carolina: You can have a maximum of 50 contracts. That drops them down one from 47 to 46. It doesn’t mean they are going to go all out to acquire three or four guys, but it gives them the added flexibility to do it.
I don’t know how you can’t look at this and the way it is shaping up and say, “We are pushing in our chips.”
Friedman on the Galchenyuk addition:
If you look at what they have done this year, they have brought in a lot of guys around the $1 million mark, or a little bit more or a little bit less, to see if they can fill holes. Thornton is going very well. Simmonds is going very well. Spezza is going very well in his role. Vesey hasn’t gone as good in his role. Boyd has gone pretty well. Bogosian — pretty good.
I just think Galchenyuk is going to be another guy they are going to throw in there at some point and say, “Can you give us a few good minutes every night?” Basically, what they are doing with these guys is buying lottery tickets and saying, “The scratch and win — do we get ‘sorry, try again,’ or do we get some money out of this?”
That is what it is. They are going to give him a shot at some point to see what he can do. Some nights, maybe it will be on a lower line. If he performs well, maybe he gets a shot in the top six to see what he can do.
Dreger: “Dubas would like to add a 6th/7th forward” (TSN1050)
On First Up with Michael Lansberg and Carlo Colaiacovo, Darren Dreger previewed the Leafs‘ deadline needs/wants.
I think Dubas would like to add a 6.5-7th forward. If he is pressuring guys in the top six, your top six is pretty good. If he is the 7th guy on the third line, he is going to drive the third line.
They need a little bit more from that third line. I think the action for the trade deadline might come three or four weeks prior to the deadline — mid-March due to Covid-19 and quarantine restrictions. I wouldn’t be surprised if teams jump a bit ahead of time.
I think Dubas and Keefe like the group they have, but do they like them enough that they see they could be a contending team? If the answer to that in the coming weeks is yes, Dubas will feel the responsibility to go out and reward the coach and players with another piece or couple of pieces.
It will be more about Dubas doing what he can to bolster the lineup than a glaring need.
Friedman: “There is a big push to move the draft back” (WGR550)
Friedge provided an interesting note on The Instigators show about the possibility of pushing the draft back or holding two drafts at once in 2022.
There is a big push to move it — a huge push. The teams are really, really grinding for it. It is supposed to happen in July. They want it moved back to December or January. There was one proposal on the table to have two in June of 2022 in Montreal — one first round one day, the second round the next day, a few days off, then a first round and a second round; do two of them.
From what I understand, the teams want it in December-January because they think it is too much to do two drafts at once. Here is the problem: The NHLPA has to agree on this, and there are agents who have told me they don’t think it is right that the top prospects don’t get to compete for their teams next year. I have had a few people tell me that they see it as a compromise, if they get to this point, to have one round this year, and everything else gets pushed back.
Mirtle: Granlund makes a lot of sense for Leafs (The Athletic)
James Mirtle sees Mikael Granlund as a possible fit for the top-six winger need on the Leafs ahead of the deadline, especially if he can be had for non-first-round picks & futures.
I really like Granlund as a fit for the Leafs, either alongside Auston Matthews or John Tavares. He’s clearly still a top-six forward, and he’s not that far removed from 60-point seasons in Minnesota. Get him out of low-scoring Nashville, and it feels like he could surprise.
He’s a good possession player and an excellent playmaker, which is important given both of Toronto’s top centers are shooters. If the Leafs can bring in someone with Granlund’s pedigree before the deadline for a couple of picks beyond the first round, that makes a lot of sense.