In the latest trade deadline edition of Leafs Links, the insiders discuss the latest on the Timo Meier sweepstakes, the Jake McCabe rumours, and whether Kyle Dubas would move Alex Kerfoot to open up cap space.
Friedman: Timo Meier is an “incredibly complicated” trade to make for Toronto; not convinced it’s what they want (Tim & Friends)
Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman joined Tim & Friends to discuss the latest deadline buzz, including whether the Leafs are a serious player in the Timo Meier sweepstakes.
Friedman on the Leafs‘ interest level in Meier:
I think the thing with Meier: for a lot of it, it is more fans wishing. There are a lot of fans who would like to see Timo Meier on the Leafs. I think that is an incredibly complicated deal to make for Toronto. I think he would be a great fit there, but I am not convinced that is what they want.
When Jake Muzzin went down at the start of the year — and they don’t have a ton of cap room or assets — I think they said, “Whatever we do, we have to do it for a Muzzin-esque player.” The way that their defense has played has given them a little bit of pause on that. But I think they still think they have time to make the decision.
There has been a lot of talk about Matthew Knies. In the past, the Leafs have not shown any indication of wanting to trade Knies for a rental. If he was to ever be included in a deal, it would have to be for more than that.
I still think it is more likely than not they go for defense first, but I am less convinced about it than when Muzzin first got hurt.
Friedman on whether the Leafs and Oilers are in similar trade markets:
Similar for defensemen. One of the things the Oilers have told teams is that they want a defenseman with some edge, but they also want one that can complete a pass. I don’t think, in this day and age with two teams that can transition the puck and so much of the offense is based on transition — like the Oilers and the Maple Leafs — that you don’t want defensemen on the ice who can’t make passes.
I think both of those teams think about that a lot. I know, in Edmonton’s case in particular, they have talked about that. “Yeah, we want someone heavier, but we also have to make sure they can complete a pass.”
TSN Insiders: New Jersey is a team to look out for on Timo Meier; Ivan Barbashev’s name picking up steam (Insider Trading)
On TSN Insider Trading, the insiders discussed the Meier sweepstakes and the market for St. Louis forward Ivan Barbashev.
Pierre LeBrun on the Devils’ potential pursuit of Timo Meier:
I had an interview today with Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald for a piece in The Athletic. What he said when I asked about the specific fit he is looking for at the deadline: a top-six winger. He wouldn’t say names, and he can’t say that. It would be tampering. But let me be the person who reads between the lines.
Timo Meier would fit exactly what the Devils are looking for. Why? The other thing Tom Fitzgerald said is that ideally if he adds a player of top-six calibre, he wants a player that is with the Devils past this year — i.e. not a rental player but someone he can sign and keep.
Meier fits that description. It’s why I think the Devils will certainly investigate that possibility.
Chris Johnston on the availability of Ivan Barbashev in St. Louis:
Ivan Barbashev is a name that has started to circulate a little bit. Barbashev is having a bit of an off year — certainly, he’s off the pace of his career-best 60 points last season. But there are a few contenders that have him on their list. He is a name to keep tabs on.
It certainly doesn’t hurt that he is on an expiring contract making just $2.25 million against the cap. I don’t have any reason at this point to believe St. Louis is totally ready to wave the white flag on this season, but if and when they do, it could get pretty interesting there.
Friedman: Don’t think Leafs are going to pay a first-round pick for Jake McCabe (TNN)
Friedman joined Leafs Morning Take to discuss the Maple Leafs’ deadline intentions, interest in Jake McCabe and Timo Meier, and whether Kyle Dubas would consider moving Alex Kerfoot for cap space.
Friedman on whether forward or defense is the top priority for Dubas:
I think since Muzzin has been out, their default has been, “We have to get a defenseman who plays like Muzzin does.” At times, because of the way their D has played this year, I think they have… I don’t know if wavered is the right word, but I think internally they have thought, “Are we good enough here to go start focusing on something else?”
The number one thing I think they’ve said internally is, “We have time.” They probably won’t be able to do much until right before the deadline. “We better be sure.” I think the way their D played has given them some rethinking on this.
Put it this way: Any defenseman that is available, I think they’ve called on. I think they’ve called the team and said, “What are you thinking? What are you looking at? What is it going to cost us?” I think they have collected all of that information.
Any forward that is available, I think they have done a lot of that, too. The first question is going to be: What do they think they need? I do think it was a Muzzin type the moment he went down, but at the very least, I think they have reconsidered what it means with the way the D has played this year.
Friedman on the possibility Dubas could move a Kerfoot or Pierre Engvall to create the room to upgrade the roster:
I do think that is a possibility. The one thing I think about with Dubas is that he will do things like that. I don’t think he is afraid of things like that.
The one thing about Kerfoot, in particular — and I have been told this several times — is that don’t forget that Keefe really trusts him. Keefe really trusts Kerfoot.
I know he hasn’t scored as much as everybody would have hoped, but if you watch him, he gets put out in situations you don’t get put out in unless the coach thinks you can do a job.
I know the organization listens to Keefe on this kind of thing. They trust their coach and his opinion. My belief is before they move on from Kerfoot, they have to convince Keefe there are other options.
I think they would like Holmberg to be one of those guys. They were really hoping Holmberg would be a player this year. Even though faceoffs are a bit of a struggle, he is showing he is going to be something.
In Kerfoot’s case, in particular, I think they are going to have to convince Keefe that someone can do the job better.
Friedman on whether Matthew Knies is a true untouchable:
The one thing I think about Dubas is that he doesn’t shut anything down, but I think he has guidelines. Last year, he told teams he is not trading Knies for a rental. He is not doing that. I would suspect that is still the same.
I think about Anthopoulos and the way he left. He took his shot. The reason he took his shot: The Blue Jays didn’t have a great record that year, but their run differential was excellent. He took a shot, and it was proven that he was right to take that shot.
I think Dubas will take a shot with this team because they are good… The one thing about him is that he won’t do Knies for a rental. I would be very surprised to see him change that stance.
Friedman on the report of a first-round asking price for a half-retained Jake McCabe:
I heard Frank Seravalli’s report about Jake McCabe. I thought it was really interesting that Frank would mention that McCabe didn’t have Toronto on his no-trade list. I don’t think Toronto is going to pay that price for McCabe. I did want to mention that. It was a great report by Frank, but I am not sure Toronto is going there for that.
Friedman on the creativity required in order for the Leafs to acquire Meier:
The one thing I think about with Meier is: You can do it and then flip him. Dubas is the kind of guy who would think like that. Now, the price is going to be enormous. Toronto doesn’t have a ton of cap room. They don’t have a ton of picks. They want to keep their picks. I don’t know if they have the juice to pull that deal off.
I think New Jersey is the team to watch there. I think that is the team that has made it really clear they like Meier and want to do it. Could Toronto outbid the Devils?
LeBrun: Canucks want a young center, a young defender, and a first-round pick for Horvat (TSN1050)
On TSN Overdrive, Pierre LeBrun shared the latest on the asking price for Bo Horvat as well as the likelihood of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews leaving Chicago before the deadline.
LeBrun on the Toews and Kane situation:
There is a huge market for Kane. There is a market for Toews in a couple of places. We are asking the right question, though. Do they actually want to go anywhere? I am not sure whether or not Toews does yet. For Kane, I think it would have to be specific to certain teams that he would wait for. These two players control everything with full no-movement clauses.
The other thing with Kane is he missed a few games with something that is nagging. He has come back. I don’t know if it is nagging enough to reoccur and could influence how he feels about being moved.
To this point, I know from hearing today, I think they are waiting until post-All-Star break to reconvene and see how everyone feels about the trade deadline.
LeBrun on the exorbitant asking price for Bo Horvat:
I talked to a team this week that I felt could be among the teams that make sense for him. They said, “Listen, of course, we like Bo Horvat. Who doesn’t? But what the Canucks want so far is not something we can get into.” Again, they want a young center and a young defender as part of a multi-part package on top of a first-round pick. The guy is a rental player right now.
We are not at March 3rd. What they’re asking for now is not necessarily what you will end up getting. I don’t mind that the Canucks are starting high. At some point, they’ll have to be more realistic, probably.
They haven’t yet — and may not — given Horvat’s camp permission to speak directly to the teams. I get it; sometimes teams feel that when the agent becomes involved, there is too much lost control of the process. In other words, the agent picks the team.
Having said that, if Bo Horvat is signed to an extension as part of a trade, you are getting more in the return. You think of the Matthew Tkachuk trade situation last summer as a great example. The Flames didn’t have to involve an extension, but they got more in return by allowing Newport Sports to get involved and pick the Panthers.