In today’s Leafs Links, we have a roundup of the recent chatter from the NHL insiders on the Kyle Palmieri and Taylor Hall sweepstakes with both players now sitting out games for their respective teams ahead of the trade deadline, as well as the latest rumblings on the Leafs’ goaltending situation.
On NHL Network, Elliotte Friedman provided the latest on the asking prices for rentals around the league and the Leafs‘ exploration in the goalie market.
Friedman on the asking price for Kyle Palmieri:
We are all really curious to see if first-rounders are going to move for rentals. Because the cap is going to be so tight for the next few years, there are a lot of teams out there saying, “We need to keep our first rounders. We are going to need good players on entry-level contracts to be able to play.” I think all of these teams are trying to say, “We would love to get a first-rounder for some of our rentals,” but I think that is going to be a big challenge. You are trying to get the best package of picks and prospects that you can get.
Friedman on the Leafs‘ front office’s conversations around goaltending options:
I think they are doing their groundwork and have been doing their groundwork for some time now to figure out exactly what they’ve got to do here.
Some of the names they have looked at: Arizona’s guys in Raanta and Kuemper. I think they have looked at Ullmark from Buffalo. I believe they have looked at Rittich from Calgary. I think they have basically called anybody who might have a goaltender available and have said, “What would we need to do and what would you be interested in?”
What could make this even more complicated is: Andersen might have to go out in any trade they make because they just don’t have a ton of cap room. Andersen’s cash this year is $1 million. He was paid a $4 million bonus before the season. I think it makes it easier. It is a complicated situation because Toronto wants to add the best player they can add in addition to a goaltender if they feel they can do it. Dubas has a lot of moving parts as he tries to figure out where he is going to go here.
On the TSN4 broadcast on Monday night, Frank Seravalli provided his latest on the teams to watch in the Taylor Hall sweepstakes.
Every signal to this point seems to suggest the New York Islanders are involved. Lou Lamoriello is consistently operating in stealth mode, so we can never say with 100% certainty.
There are two other teams I have my eye on as well: one is the Boston Bruins, and there is another one out West that seems to be in a little bit of stealth mode — that Colorado Avalanche, who have been on an absolute heater. They are a team that was interested in Hall’s services in the offseason and were only willing to pay up to a specific price.
The complicating factor here is that you would likely need a third-party team involved to get Hall to some of these teams.That is what helps set the Islanders apart. They don’t need any outside help. They have got the cap space as they are trying to replace Anders Lee. It would just involve Buffalo retaining a portion of Hall’s salary. We will see how it all shakes out, but I have my eyes on the Bruins, Avs, and Isles.
On the most recent 31 Thoughts podcast, Chris Johnston mentioned that Frederik Andersen’s popularity among the core players on the team adds a layer of complexity if the team wanted to move out his cap dollars before the trade deadline as part of a move to shuffle the goalie depth.
One thing to consider with Frederik Andersen is just how popular he is with the team. This is an organization looking to win a Stanley Cup and you have to make hard decisions, but I do think that factors into any decision they make with his future. There has been some talk and speculation about whether you move Andersen’s contract as part of a deal to create cap space for other moves. I am not so sure that would go over too well with some of his teammates, and we are talking about players at the top of the roster.
This is a delicate one, but they need to have some clarity on his health situation — when he can play, what the odds are that he can play at his best; he certainly hasn’t played his best this season, to say nothing about how last season ended.
The incentive is there to go get a goalie for depth, but they don’t have a lot of cap space if they are not moving a contract out. That is sort of where the decision hinges: If we are operating on the idea that they are not trading any players out the door to open up cap room as part of the deal, they can only bring in about a $2.5 million player give or take. They want to use that cap space to get a forward.
It is going to be an interesting one. I think they have been pretty cagey about Andersen’s status. This is an organization that is usually quite up front about injuries and injury timelines. They don’t always use upper and lower body. Consistently, since Kyle Dubas has been the manager, they’ve identified the issue. In this case, they have said nothing publicly.
Frederik Andersen has been day-to-day for two-and-a-half weeks. He hasn’t skated at all. They are talking about follow-up appointments and this and that. It is a hard one to get a read on. I think it is a huge gamble for them either way if they don’t add another goaltender. They have huge expectations this year, and right now, Michael Hutchinson is probably a little closer to the starter’s net than they would prefer.
On Leafs Lunch, Darren Dreger echoed Frank Seravalli’s suspicion that the New York Islanders are in hot pursuit of Taylor Hall.
Dreger on what he’s hearing about the Hall suitors:
Given that we don’t know the identity of the teams, that leads me to believe it is more likely than not to be the New York Islanders. Lou Lamoriello plays that cloak and dagger game. I doubt very much Taylor Hall is a Sabre on Monday by the trade deadline with what we are learning about how trade talks are escalating.??-
Dreger on why he picked Tanner Pearson as the Leafs‘ deadline target in the TSN Quiz:
I picked Tanner Pearson because he might be the lone piece the Canucks would consider trading, assuming he gets healthy again. That’s if they aren’t successful — and I think they will be — in extending his contract on a two or three-year term in the very near future. He is a glue guy. He comes with a winning pedigree. His teammates love him.
I was just being different than Pouly and O’Dog in answering that question. I do think the Leafs would have some interest, and I think they have some interest in Kyle Palmieri. For sure, they have talked about him. I would be surprised if they haven’t talked about Foligno as well.
On Hockey Central, Elliotte Friedman named the Florida Panthers and the Toronto Maple Leafs as his two teams to watch ahead of the April 12 trade deadline.
Number one on my list is Toronto. We all think the Leafs are going to do something. We have this added intrigue about what is going on in goal. That makes them extra fascinating.
Number two on my list: Florida. I think they look at it as: We are a good team. We are having a good year. I think they have an all-in mentality. They have a GM and owner there who I don’t think are afraid to swing big. They would be my number-two choice.
David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period further confirms interest from the Leafs in Alex Iafallo, Kyle Palmieri, and Nick Foligno.
Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald has accepted his team’s fate and is ready to deal. There are several teams interested in Palmieri, including the Boston Bruins, New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs, and trade talks have picked up since Sunday’s decision
The Islanders are a team to watch on Foligno, I believe, and other clubs will be knocking on the door, including the Maple Leafs and Avalanche, and I wonder if the Montreal Canadiens enter the mix if Brendan Gallagher’s fractured hand forces him to miss the rest of the regular-season.
Iafallo, 27, can become a UFA this summer and the two sides have not yet been able to come to terms on an extension. Granted, the conversation could change with one phone call and I know the Kings would love to hold on to him, but if the right deal presents itself, Kings GM Rob Blake could explore his options. The Leafs, for example, have been keeping their eyes on Iafallo.