In the Leafs Links, the insiders provide the latest on the Toronto Maple Leafs’ plans ahead of the April 12 trade deadline and how the goaltending contingency could affect their movement.
On the Lead Off, Elliotte Friedman discussed the position the Leafs most want to address before the deadline barring the goaltending situation throwing a wrench in their plans.
I have talked to a couple of teams who believe Dubas has something in his back pocket — a move he knows he can make. I think it comes down to whether he has to get somewhere where the money makes sense, or is he waiting to see if there is anything bigger he can do? There are some teams in holding patterns: Nashville is one, Columbus is one. I think you kind of have to get through that and figure out where you are in 10 days or something sooner.
I suspect he knows what he is going to do. It is just waiting to see if it all works or if something else drops on his lap.
Friedman on the area of the roster Kyle Dubas most wants to address:
I believe the Leafs want to find a top-six forward if they can — a winger. There are two things here: They don’t have a ton of cap room, so if you watch some of the stuff they have done with the waivers and the cap juggling they have done, it is clear Kyle Dubas knows the number of what he needs and he is making sure he can do it. The Andersen things could throw a wrench into it because they don’t have much cap space. But I do think the left-winger or top-six forward is the thing he would like to do the most.
I do think they have considered the idea of a depth defenseman, but it probably comes down to what they have to do in goal or if they can move someone else to clear some room. They won’t have the ability to do all of this stuff if the goalie is involved. I do think the top-six forward is the ultimate #1.
On TSN Overdrive, Pierre LeBrun reports that Frederik Andersen returned too soon and reaggravated his injury issue. LeBrun also suggests he hasn’t heard a ton of chatter from around the league about the Leafs kicking the tires on goaltending options, but it could change depending on Andersen’s progress towards full health this week.
In calling teams around the league, I get zero sense that the Leafs are calling around asking about goalies. But that doesn’t mean that isn’t going to happen. What I am being told from talking to a couple of people with knowledge of the Frederik Andersen situation: He came back too early the first time. Campbell was out, Andersen came back, and he should not have. That produced a setback in the situation.
What is happening now is that he wants to make sure that when he does come back — and I am being told he will be back — it will be at 110%. This is the extra, extra, extra care they’re taking with him because he does not want to have another setback. The person I spoke with said that all signs point to him being back for good when he is back.
Until that happens, you still have to ask the question. I think that is what the Leafs are probably waiting for. When are they getting him back? When he comes back, how is he? If he is good, they’re fine. I don’t think the Leafs want to go out and get a goalie. I think they are confident that if Frederik Andersen comes back healthy and they have an 8-0 Campbell, they feel good about their goaltending. Why shouldn’t they with those guys? But they need to feel good about their health collectively. I am not sure they can ascertain that 100% yet, obviously.
If they get any hesitation on the Andersen situation between now and April 12th, they have to pick up the phone, and there are not that many options.
On the 31 Thoughts Podcast, Elliotte Friedman reported that the Leafs have kicked tires on Linus Ullmark and the Coyotes’ goaltending availability in case Andersen’s progress towards a return doesn’t go as planned.
What Toronto has done is that they have started to look around to see, “If we have to do this…” At this point in time, I don’t think they want to, but if they have to do this, who is available? One of the guys they have checked in on is Linus Ullmark in Buffalo, who is a UFA, just asking the Sabres what they are thinking. Earlier on, I think they checked in on Arizona’s guys. I wouldn’t be surprised if they checked on Rittich, too. That is just sensible to me, but I don’t know that. I have heard that the Arizona guys and Ullmark are the ones the Leafs have asked about.
Friedman on when the Leafs will need to make up their minds about the goaltending situation and whether they need to add:
It sounds to me that the decision will be made sometime in the middle of next week. They said everything seemed to go well with Andersen’s appointment. They are being very, very tight-lipped about what the issue is here. I just get the sense that this decision is going to be made at the middle-to-end of next week. They have called around.
They are being smart about it. They are telling people, “We are not going to do it unless we absolutely have to. We don’t have a ton of cap room.” They don’t want to use it on a goalie if they don’t have to. But they are doing their due diligence around the league and have said, “This is on our radar. We don’t know what our ultimate decision is going to be, but if we have to, what is the situation?” I think they have done that legwork.
The Campbell thing is another part of this. The issue here is that it just seems like he gets through games and then isn’t feeling great. The other day, Keefe made a comment along the lines of, “He has just got to be straight with us.” That says to me that Campbell is saying he can go, and then something comes up. This is a guy who three times this year after a win has had to sit out. I think they are asking him to be straight on how he feels.
I think this is a decision that gets made end of next week, kind of.
Friedman on whether the Leafs have revisited the Alexandar Georgiev possibility with the Rangers at any point:
It is a good question. I haven’t heard it. I just know last year that they were never close. There was a lot of talk about it, but I heard they were never close.
On Saturday night’s Headlines segment, Chris Johnston reported that many teams are still waffling on whether to buy or sell just eight days away from the deadline.
It is eerily quiet on the trade front this week as we get closer to the deadline. In polling around to some trusted sources, there are still a number of teams deciding between buying and selling, not declaring where they are at. Obviously, the cap considerations have been a challenge. Every day that we get closer to April 12, the cap situation gets a little easier because everybody costs a little less. That deadline will force a decision on whether you are buying or selling.
Friedman on the possibility of a playoff bubble in 2021:
It’s not what everyone wants, but it is going to be discussed. It depends on how the world evolves between now and then. It is not what anyone wants, and it is not the preferred option, but depending on where we go here over the next little while, they are going to have to at least have a plan on the table.
It’s official: Things are not progressing on a contract extension between Kyle Palmieri and the Devils, and a trade appears inevitable at this point.
Can confirm that Kyle Palmieri is being held out of Devils lineup today in anticipation of a trade in the coming days or week(s).
— Bartlett Hockey (@BartlettHockey) April 4, 2021