Mark Giordano linked to Maple Leafs
Photo: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

In the latest Leafs Links, we have a ton of scuttlebutt on Kyle Dubas’ activity in the trade market at all three positions, the current asking prices for Mark Giordano and Hampus Lindholm, a report that Giordano wants to be a Maple Leaf, and the latest on the goaltending market.

Seravalli: Dubas feeling out market at all three positions; asking price very high on Hampus Lindholm; Mark Giordano wants to be a Leaf (SN590)

Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli provided a ton of great insights on the trade market as it pertains to the Leafs and their needs at the defense, goalie, and forward positions on The FAN Morning Show on Thursday.

Seravalli on the market for defensemen, including Hampus Lindholm:

When it comes to the defense market, I would have to think the Ducks are thrilled with the price paid for Ben Chiarot. Universally, across the league, everyone views Hampus Lindholm as being a much more impactful defenseman.

The other teams that were trying to get Lindholm are probably a little disappointed. If I am looking at it correctly, and having checked in with some of the teams after the Chiarot trade — they are still surprised someone was willing to step up and play that kind of price for Chiarot — a couple of teams have responded, “We are still really interested in Lindholm, but we are wondering if we can slow play this now and try to wait until Monday. Even though the package should be more, what happens if no one else steps up to pay much more for Lindholm, and we can get Lindholm for essentially the same or just a tad more than Chiarot?”

I think that is how some teams are approaching it — to maybe sit back and wait a bit.

Seravalli on the Leafs‘ approach to the defense market:

When it comes to the defense market, there is no question the Leafs have kept tabs on Lindholm. I think they are not jazzed up about the idea of paying a price significantly north of the Chiarot deal.

Another guy that has generated a lot of interest in Toronto is Mark Giordano. You see him sit out, oddly enough, on the night that they are celebrating his 1,000th game with the Kraken, as a healthy scratch to protect the asset.

What is interesting about Giordano: I believe Giordano’s first interest or priority is to play in Toronto. What does that price end up being, and is it a price the Leafs are comfortable in paying?

Universally, the Kraken have seen Giordano as worth a first-round pick. A lot of teams have looked at it and said, “We think he is in the second-round pick range.” I don’t know what the Chiarot deal does to that market.

Giordano and the spot he is in — also being a left-shot guy — kind of puts them in a similar category: Is it ideal in terms of what the Leafs are looking for?

Seravalli on the asking price for Hampus Lindholm:

It is hard to say. It depends on the prospect. I would lean towards picks, but it would depend on what level of prospect you are asking for. If it is Matt Knies…

The sense is the Ducks are asking for a first-round pick, your best prospect, and potentially something else in order to make the money work. For the Leafs, that would be their first-round pick plus Matt Knies. Are they willing to do that? I don’t know. That is a tall ask.

They seem to be really resistant to moving Matt Knies.

Seravalli on whether Mark Giordano’s desire to be a Leaf could tip the scales in their favour:

There is also the Seattle part of it, which is that Giordano has a 19-team list he can be traded to. There are 12 teams that are a no. It is not a full no-trade hammer. He doesn’t have total say. He can’t squeeze them.

Ultimately, Seattle, as much as they want to try and steer Giordano to a place he would like to go, if there is a big difference in the package, they are going to send him where they are getting the best deal, is my guess — as long as it is an acceptable trade team on his list.

If you are the Leafs, you have to take a step back and try to game out the market. Who are what you believe to be the other teams in on Mark Giordano? What does that list look like? How many teams does it include?

My guess is the Boston Bruins are in there. I wonder about the Carolina Hurricanes, although a 38-year-old pending UFA doesn’t seem to be their style. I wonder about the Minnesota Wild. Do the LA Kings make any sense?

Game it out and see if you can hold on as long as you can to see if the price drops.

Seravalli on the Leafs’ Plan B options in behind Lindholm/Giordano:

They are probably doing the exercise of going through the list and saying, “Who are our check-down options?” Part of the problem is that a lot of the guys that are further down on the list are also pretty expensive.

Some of the asks have been to the level that some of the teams are calling it ridiculous. I will give you an example.

Brett Kulak from the Montreal Canadiens — the ask was reportedly a second-round pick. Some teams see him as a 6/7 guy. That is not palatable for the Leafs as a check-down option, for instance, I wouldn’t think.

If you are talking mid-round pick, all of these other teams are still asking high prices for Calvin de Haan, Nick Leddy, etc. Maybe by Monday at 12 or 1 p.m. the prices change in the second half of deadline day itself. At that point, you would have to be pretty comfortable knowing that if prices don’t drop, you are not making an addition to your team.

More or less, depending on how far down your list you are going, you are in a spot where part of what you may be doing in terms of trading lower down is window dressing and not really making an impact. I think you would have to be cognizant of that.

Maybe, if the prices remain that expensive, and you really are interested in Lindholm and he is your guy, what if you think you can sign him and then you address the other parts of your blue line later? Let’s say you go through the exercise, and just to speak as a pure hypothetical, you pay a big price for Lindholm, he comes in and fits like a glove, and you love what he brings. In the summer, you say you are keeping Hampus Lindholm, and you are paying heaven and earth to get rid of contract X. I think you address that part later.

The point being: If you are going to spend, you may as well get the guy you think is the best rather than go to option four on your list and still pay a high price.

Seravalli on the Leafs’ approach to the goalie market:

I think they continue to monitor the goalie market. I think they are curious to see whether prices fall there as well. They may work themselves into a position where they have to make a choice, and it comes down to, “We have a second-round pick we are ready and willing to trade. Are we spending it on, as pure hypotheticals, Mark Giordano, or are we spending it on Marc-Andre Fleury?”

Both of them will probably contribute to reducing your goals against. Which one is going to have a bigger impact? Both have high salaries. Both have the same pedigree and everything else that comes with it. Which one is going to provide a bigger impact to your team?

That is a realistic scenario that they may face on Sunday night or Monday morning: That the price of both players has dropped to that second-round pick range, and you have to make a choice. In Fleury’s case, it may involve some extra convincing. In Giordano’s case, it may be, “I am trying to do everything I can to play for you.”

That would be the scenario they could work themselves into. Which one would be more impactful?

Seravalli on the prices in the goalie market:

There are teams that are beginning to panic on the goalie market. I think Columbus is one of them. The price is dropping significantly. Someone mentioned earlier this season that Columbus was asking for a second and a third for Korpisalo. My guess is that they are taking a mid-to-late pick at this point. Why wouldn’t they? He is not coming back. He is a pending UFA and is miserable there. He wants out.

The problem is over his last two seasons — a 50-game sample size — he has a .890 save percentage. That is Mrazek territory. Are you better of keeping the guy you have and are already paying? Even if you bury him into the “break glass in case of emergency” role, you are still eating $2 million and change on your cap. Are you better off saving your mid-to-late round picks for a team that has traded so many firsts away? They are going to need to hit on some of those in order to sustain your organization.

What makes more sense?

Seravalli on the Leafs’ approach to the forward market:

Everyone was so enthralled with the Kallgren debut, and I understand why because it lowered the temperature. But one of the most encouraging aspects of the other night was Tavares stepping up on that top line. You could argue it is the wingers, but a goal, an assist, and absolutely controlling play — that was the most encouraging part of the game.

That is the real other question hanging over this team. Put aside fishing the puck out of your own net and the woes on their defense pairs, if that first line gets shut down again in the playoffs, you are seriously relying on Tavares and that line to produce and save you. I don’t think that has been confidence-inspiring this year.

Maybe they look at the market and say, “Let’s find the best player available relative to the price.” I don’t know who really stands out in terms of a fit. Stylistically, does Nick Paul make sense? Does he give you enough juice as a swiss-army type of player? How does it work? How does it look? Would Ottawa even trade with you?

Tyler Motte… Go through the list, and you are going to have to consider the price, which for some of these players, is still really high. It brings me to this question: If you have not one or two but essentially what could be three fatal flaws, is that too much to overcome at one deadline, or too much to try to attempt to overcome?

Pagnotta: Florida not done, strongly in on Claude Giroux (TFP)

The Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta reports that the Panthers, after acquiring defenseman Ben Chiarot, feel they have a very good chance of landing Claude Giroux if they can make the cap money work on their books.

Montreal retained 50%, which is really important. The Florida Panthers are all in. They have other irons in the fire. They are really fishing to see how they can really propel themselves as a legit Stanley Cup contender beyond how good they already are.

When you have the firepower up front, you have a healthy Aaron Ekblad and the D core that they have got, with a very solid goaltender in Sergei Bobrovsky, they are deepening their roster even further.

They cleared out some money earlier with Vatrano going to New York. Montreal ate half of Chiarot’s salary. The money offsetting gives them in and around the same money, or a little bit less.

They are still very much in on Claude Giroux. I spoke to a few people today after the Chiarot deal was done, and they told me it had no bearing on their potential to acquire Claude Giroux. There are some other teams in that mix, but it would not shock m one or another if that ended up happening.

There are a lot of people in the organization in Florida who believe they have a very strong chance of making it happen. It is just about making the money work.

Friedman: Järnkrok price too high for Leafs; speculation on Leafs & Chara, “just me wondering… just me throwing one out there” (SN590)

On The Jeff Marek Show, Elliotte Friedman discussed how the return on Ben Chiarot might change the defense market, whether the Leafs were in on Calle Jarnkrok or Chiarot, and his speculation about the Leafs and Zdeno Chara.

Friedman on whether the Leafs were in on Calle Järnkrok before the trade to Calgary:

Maybe the Leafs were in there — I do think they are looking for a forward — but I didn’t hear their name. But it wouldn’t surprise me. You don’t hear everything. In theory, it makes sense.

… I just got a text from someone listening to the show. He said that he didn’t think Järnkrok to Toronto made sense for the price because Toronto just couldn’t do that. With their draft-pick capital, a second and a third didn’t make sense for Toronto for Järnkrok.

Friedman on how the return for Ben Chiarot changes the defense market and if the Leafs were in on him:

After the Josh Manson trade, one of the GMs who was looking for a defenseman said, “Oh good, the rental prices will come down a bit.” And then he saw the Chiarot deal last night. He sent me one of those emojis like, “Oh god, here we go again.”

Chiarot had a lot of interest. Carolina was in on him. The Blues were in on him. LA was in on him. Calgary wasn’t anymore, but they were. I wonder about Boston. I don’t think Toronto was. I think they looked at it and decided they wanted to go in a different direction.

There was a lot of interest. Montreal could use it to drive up the price. [Montreal GM] Kent Hughes set a price for someone, and it seems like his goal is to not make the trade unless he gets the price. He said for Chiarot, it was always about the first-round pick, and they really like the prospect.

If you look what Hughes is doing, he’s going to say, “We have a price for Jeff Petry, or we are not doing it.” Today, he said about Kulak, “We have a price for him, and until it’s met, we are not doing it.”

There are two schools of thought on it. There are some people who say, “You have to get something for a guy. You can’t just let him walk. You have to get something.” There are other people… and this happened in Calgary with Mike Cammalleri with Brian Burke, who said, “If I give up and let him go for less, people are going to say, “Oh, we can squeeze this guy until the end.”

That is what Hughes is trying to establish: There is a price. If you don’t meet my price, we are not going to do it.

Friedman on his speculation in his 32 Thoughts column about the Leafs and Zdeno Chara:

Sometimes, your mind wanders. It is a situation where you are thinking, “Is there anything I am missing?” I am always thinking about this kind of thing. You take a look at teams’ trends, and what they like and don’t like. I was just fiddling around, and Toronto likes those kinds of players. They have Simmonds and Spezza there now. They had Thornton and Hainsey — veterans who have been through a lot and set an example.

I doubt it would happen. Chara would obviously have to agree to it. They are looking for another D. They are looking for someone who has some edge to him.

Look, Chara has had a tough year. There is no question about it. I will also admit I have a man-crush on Chara, who is one of my favourite players. It was just something that hit me. We know they are looking for defensemen. They just like those kinds of guys — people who set good examples.

I just wondered. It was just me throwing that one out there.

Friedman on Claude Giroux’s likely destination:

I think this is trending towards Florida. I think it is likely going to be Florida. There are other teams who are interested — Colorado, St. Louis. I think Florida has the lead here and is probably the team, but nothing is done until it is done.

People are texting me that they are starting to really lean towards Florida.

LeBrun: Leafs and Bruins both in on Lindholm, Giordano (TSN1050)

On Leafs Lunch, Pierre LeBrun provided his latest sense of the Leafs’ activity in the trade market on defense and in net.

LeBrun on how the Chiarot trade might change the defense market:

It might do that, but we are starting to get to a point where there are certain teams that need D and certain D that fit the criteria. I think the market, at the end of the day, will figure out the price.

Josh Manson went for a second and a prospect that was a second-round pick. That was a certain price, and there was pretty serious interest in Josh Manson. Now Ben Chiarot goes for a first in 2023 and two other assets that are not quite as high as a first in 2023.

The reaction around the league was that some people felt Florida overpaid for Ben Chiarot, but they also had his name circled on their wishlist for three months. They wanted the guy who had that playoff run last year and made life hard on the Leafs, Vegas, and Winnipeg. They got their guy.

They are not done, by the way. Florida is really active. I think they still have interest in Claude Giroux. They are all in, just like Colorado is all in.

The highest-profile rental D are still Lindholm, if he doesn’t sign an extension in Anaheim. Mark Giordano is a quality veteran leader. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Leafs have already talked to Seattle about him. Kyle Dubas and Ron Francis have a really close relationship. Giordano is from here. I am not suggesting it is priority #1, but it is certainly among the options, I would think, for the Leafs.

We have reported that the Leafs have talked to San Jose about Jacob Middleton. The Leafs, on the one hand, could surprise us as they sometimes do, but I think they continue to look at what is out there, certainly on defense.

LeBrun on the asking price for Hampus Lindholm:

Here is the thing about asking prices. They sometimes need to be tailored to the team you are talking to. Not every prospect is created equally. The Ducks might be willing to do Lindholm for a second and a prospect if the prospect, in their eyes, is a grade-A equivalent of a first.

It really depends on what the package looks like. It sounds like the Leafs aren’t really keen on moving their first after moving their first last year. How does that come into play? Does that take them out of Lindholm? Can they get Mark Giordano for less than a first? Seattle, from my sources, are asking for a first on Giordano.

The asking price on Jacob Middleton is a second plus another pick and/or a prospect. The Leafs could fit into that. The question is: can the Leafs get in on some of the bigger names without trading their first? I don’t know. I can’t answer that right now at this moment.

LeBrun on how aggressive Dubas might be before 3 p.m. on Monday:

Chris Johnston thinks, if the Leafs can really swing it, want to add at all three positions. It’s one thing wanting to do it and trying to do it, and another getting it done between now and Monday. It certainly wouldn’t surprise me.

You have Florida swinging for the fences right now. You have Colorado swinging for the fences. You have Tampa not having to do that because they are already loaded. I don’t think you have a choice if you are the Leafs. You have to try to keep up with the Joneses on some level and give yourself the best possible shot to get out of the first round.

You are going to get a tough matchup no matter what, particularly because the shoe hasn’t dropped in Boston yet either, which is another team to worry about. The Bruins were all over Ben Chiarot from my understanding. They tried on Josh Manson. They struck out twice now. I have to think they are going to be hard on Lindholm and potentially Giordano… I think they have a lot of interest in Jakob Chychrun.

Pretty similar targets, right? It is dangerous to worry about what a rival is doing, but you can’t ignore it, either.

LeBrun on where the Leafs sit as it pertains to the goalie market:

Maybe Anton Forsberg in Ottawa if Ottawa is willing to move him. I think the Senators are trying to sign Forsberg, so he might not be available. It is not a great market, to be honest, especially if you are solely looking at rentals. I don’t think the Leafs want to take on anyone with term at this point because it would make their life difficult in a summer where they already have enough cap decisions to make.

I think Noodles has said this, and I am in the Noodles camp. To me, unless you are going out and convincing Marc-Andre Fleury, and the Hawks are also asking a high price… To me, he is a true difference-maker. You saw his performance the other night against Boston. He is a difference-maker, but maybe it doesn’t make sense for the Leafs.

As a lot of GMs have told me over the years — and this is not going to satisfy Leafs fans — you decide your goaltending in the summer, not midseason at the trade deadline.