In today’s Leafs Links, the insiders report Kyle Dubas has stepped up his involvement in the goaltending trade market in advance of the March 21 deadline.
Friedman on Leafs’ pursuit of a goalie, the market for Marc-Andre Fleury, and Anaheim “preparing for major surgery” (32 Thoughts & 630 CHED)
Appearing on 630 CHED as well as the 32 Thoughts Podcast, Elliotte Friedman provided his latest sense of Kyle Dubas’ interest in adding a goaltender and the latest on Marc-Andre Fleury’s availability.
Friedman on Kyle Dubas’ seriousness about acquiring a goaltender:
After indicating they weren’t in the goalie market, I think they are now. I think they are investigating what options are out there and what makes sense for them.
Friedman on the market for goalies and Marc-Andre Fleury specifically:
Dubas has a big decision here. We all know what he said, but he has a big decision to make here.
I have heard that Fleury has said that he will only go somewhere if he thinks, A) It is good for his family, and B) He thinks he can win.
I don’t think it necessarily has anything to do with his trade or no-trade list. I think A) Chicago said that he is going to handle it the way he is comfortable; B) Does he think he can win somewhere?
If Toronto wants to go down that road, Fleury is going to have to be asked if he thinks he can win in Toronto. Plus, also, can they make a deal?
Washington is still around there. I really believe one of the things with Fleury is that he might want to finish in Pittsburgh. Does he worry that he can’t cross that line and go to the Capitals?
I don’t know that Colorado is realistic for him. I think there are a couple of teams that have been around there, too. This whole Vegas situation is wild, but they have denied that they are going down that path.
A couple of GMs have said to me, “If you look at the price and if you look at who is available, is there really a difference-maker available for what it is going to cost?”
Greiss is out there. Anton Forsberg is out there. Holtby is potentially out there. Varlamov is out there. Some people are just wondering, “Is it really worth what we’re going to have to pay?”
Friedman on Anton Forsberg’s availability:
He has played great. Unless Ottawa has decided they are bringing him back, why wouldn’t he be out there?
The thing is, Filip Gustavsson has to be in the NHL now. My question is: If you think you are keeping Forsberg, you are probably losing Gustavsson, right?
At one point in time, you’re believing Matt Murray is your guy. After everything that has happened this year and the way he started to play better, is there any chance you believe he is your guy again?
Friedman’s latest on Rickard Rakell, Josh Manson, and Hampus Lindholm in Anaheim:
I think they are all available. They are talking to Lindholm. Pat Verbeek has made it very clear he doesn’t like term, but I think he is willing to bend a little bit for Lindholm. I am not sure it’s going to be enough to get it done.
With Rakell, max they go is four years. I don’t think there has been a ton of talk with Josh Manson. I think Anaheim is in a position where they are prepared to do some major surgery here.
Johnston: Leafs have called on Jaroslav Halak, MA Fleury (TSN1050)
On Leafs Lunch, Chris Johnston provided his latest sense of Kyle Dubas’ pursuit of a goaltender ahead of the trade deadline.
They are actively — and it seems in a very thorough manner — figuring out what the market is for goalies. Making calls for those teams, seeing who might be moved, and what assets it might take, and at least getting an idea of what the market is.
I know they have called on Jaroslav Halak in Vancouver. At this point, it is not clear to me that he would want to come and play in Toronto. They have at least asked.
They have asked about Marc-Andre Fleury. That is a difficult trade to make — not impossible, but it would require probably a third-party team or Chicago retaining half his salary or taking Mrazek back to make the dollars line up in a way the Leafs can accommodate in-season. The trick there is that it is not clear that Marc-Andre Fleury wants to come here.
When you start off with a thin pool of available players, and add that a couple of the ones that might be worth looking at don’t necessarily want to be Maple Leafs, it’s a really tough spot.
This is a critical decision… This is a really good team that is being undone in some cases by poor defensive play — we can’t put this all on the goaltenders — but the [goaltending] could really impede their ability to take the step forward we all know they need to take by advancing in the playoffs and putting together a run.
Matthews might be the best player in the NHL right now, and Mitch Marner is not too far behind him. They have something really special on their team, but they don’t have the complete team. How they approach this situation will probably define how the season goes.
For a long while, they have been hoping Campbell will figure it out, and maybe Mrazek, with the slow start to the year, wasn’t yet comfortable here. The results are starting to shine through and show what these guys are at this point in time. It is certainly not good enough to beat teams like the Coyotes right now, let alone someone a little bit more talented than they will face in the first round.
Johnston on whether a goalie addition takes the Leafs out of the defense market:
I think you can do both; it’s just about what is going out the door. If you are getting another goaltender, you are probably trading Petr Mrazek in some shape or form. I don’t know how easy that will be. There could be a price to be paid for that to get someone to take his contract like there was dumping Nick Ritchie on the Coyotes.
This is a creative front office. The Leafs don’t make the obvious trades, in my opinion. They have always found unique ways to address multiple problems in some trades, or find small wins that maybe aren’t obvious on the surface.
I think there is still a way to address both needs at once. It is still going to involve a body and some salary going out the door the other way, in addition to some salary retention.
It is not going to be an easy or cheap transaction or set of transactions, but it is worth pursuing. They should be all in on this bet if you’re the Leafs front office, and I believe that’s how they view it, too.
There is still the ability to do those things, but they are going to have to trade someone away to make those dollars line up.
Dreger: Leafs kicked tires on Fleury, logistics are difficult (TSN1050)
On First Up, Darren Dreger suggested the Leafs’ dialogue with the Chicago about Marc-Andre Fleury has been preliminary to this point.
I think it was more tire-kicking on Toronto’s part.
… How many teams have called Kyle Davidson about Marc-Andre Fleury? I am sure many are dipping their toes in the water. What we have to be mindful of here is two-fold:
You’d almost need a third party — in fact, I think you would to even consider Marc-Andre Fleury. How do the Maple Leafs make that work? If Jake Muzzin is coming back during the season, they don’t have that $5.6 million to spend. There are going to have to be pieces heading out the door. We are not talking about prospects. We are talking about cap-committed, meaningful Maple Leafs players.
That might be the easy part if we want to connect Fleury to Toronto. The difficult part is convincing Marc-Andre Fleury why he should want to come to Toronto.
If he decides he wants to be traded — and he hasn’t made that determination yet — he is going to be super selective. He has won three Stanley Cups and has had a Hall of Fame career. He has a great life. He loves Chicago. His family loves Chicago. Why would he want to come into a market where every single play — good, bad or otherwise — is scrutinized?
We know the market can be really hard on defensemen and goaltenders. But if all of a sudden you are a big part of a reason why the Leafs go deep in the playoffs or win a Stanley Cup, they are constructing statues. The good would far outweigh the bad.
Pagnotta: Jake Allen a possibility to move before the trade deadline (TFP)
David Pagnotta reported on Saturday that now-healthy goaltender Jake Allen’s name could start to surface in the next week as we approach the March 21 trade deadline.
It is an interesting one. He is going to be back relatively soon. His cap hit is under $3 million. He has one year left on his contract. For teams looking to solidify their goaltending, if the right deal falls into place for the Canadiens, I think Jake Allen is going to be somebody we may hear a little more about as we approach the deadline.
Teams are trying to get creative. Semyon Varlamov is still out there, but he has some no-trade protection. There is Fleury and a few other guys. With Allen, with one year left on his deal, don’t be surprised if he ends up moved in the next 10 days.
Petr Mrazek’s meltdown, trade deadline priorities, & could Mark Giordano be had on the cheap? (MLHS Podcast)
In Episode 39 of the MLHS Podcast, Anthony Petrielli and Alex Drain break down the team’s major spike in goals against, the goaltending crisis in Toronto, forward line experimentation, and the recent shift in priorities ahead of the trade deadline.