Ivan Barbashev, St. Louis Blues
Photo: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

In the latest trade deadline edition of Leafs Links, the insiders discuss the latest on the Maple Leafs’ trade deadline intentions.

Friedman: Kyle Dubas trying to figure out how to take a big swing at the trade deadline (SN590)

On The Jeff Marek Show and the 32 Thoughts Podcast, Elliotte Friedman named the Maple Leafs as his top team to keep an eye on at the trade deadline.

Friedman on his number one team to watch at the deadline:

Number one on my list is Toronto. I think [Dubas] would like to take a big swing, but what he is trying to figure out is how on earth he can do it. Right now, he uses the same cap calculator as everybody else. It is going to be hard to do. But I think he would like to do something larger. I just don’t know if he is going to be able to do it.

Friedman on the contract situation with pending UFA Michael Bunting:

There has been a lot of talk about Toronto with Bunting and Timmins. Timmins, if he is going to sign for a couple of years at a really low number by NHL standards, he can do that. But someone said to me, “Until Toronto knows what Matthews is going to do and where the cap is going to go, how can you make any kind of decision?”

Friedman on the Bruins’ activity in the trade market:

I think they are out there looking for players. They feel they owe it to their guys to try to win. It is an interesting walk to balance because it is obvious they have a special chemistry this year, and you don’t want to muck around with that too much.

I do think they are looking for a left D. I think they are looking for another forward. I think they are all in to win it because they know their math is going to change significantly after this year.

Right now, you have your top two centers, Bergeron playing for $2.5 million and Krejci playing for $1 million. How many other teams have their top two centers playing for $3.5 million? One of those guys is going to the HHOF and another is a hell of a player.

The Bruins are very fortunate that those players did that. It is obvious now, while they are grinding away at Pastrnak, that it is going to be an “un-Bruin” number. Pastrnak is going to push them into a place they have never been before and probably wish they’d never been into. And he deserves ever penny. Can’t knock him for it.

They know the math is changing after this year, so they better do it, and they are going to try to do it.

Friedman on the latest with the Coyotes and Jakob Chychrun:

I think GM Bill Armstrong would like to make the deal. The one thing I think about him: If he doesn’t get want he wants, does everybody think that he is pliable? Do people look at Bill Armstrong and think, “You can outwait him and bend him to what you want”?

People in the sports world and business world think about this all the time. This is all about negotiation. Who has the hammer? Sometimes you have to take the W, and sometimes you have to take the L. This time, it is less clear-cut.

The trade Armstrong made with Vancouver with Ekman-Larsson, he held on and got what he wanted. It looks like a trade that is going to benefit Arizona long-term.

I think he knows the player would like it to be over and the player’s representative would like it to be over. On some level, even he would like it to be over. I think he looks at it as, “I have to show people I mean business.” Until proven wrong, I think he will just keep it this way.

Friedman (via The Fan Drive Time) on the timing of the Horvat trade to NYI five weeks out from the deadline:

It says to me that the Canucks had to really like the players in Raty and Beauvillier in this. I think the Islanders wanted to do this fast. They want to get [Horvat] in. As far as we know, the Canucks were not giving permission to anyone to talk to Bo.

I believe an extension is going to come here. I believe the Islanders did this deal with the intention of getting him extended. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are working on it right now. If it is not something that happens immediately, at least you get a trial run with him where you can say, “We want to get you extended.”

Lamoriello did a deal with Pageau where, if I recall correctly, they did the extension the same day, but I think he had permission there. This is the Islanders saying they want the player, they want the player long-term, and they are going to be aggressive to do it. When they had a player like Raty on the player, the Canucks said, “That is the kind of player we want to have here for a while.”

Friedman on whether the Horvat trade will kick off a flurry of trade activity:

I sure hope so. Hopefully, this knocks things loose. It is still a tight cap. But that is the one thing with Lamoriello. These are two old-school guys in Lamoriello and Rutherford. They have never been afraid to make moves. When they want to get things done, they find ways to get things done. I hope we see a little more of that.

In Vancouver, it is the start of something that could be pretty big.

Pagnotta: Leafs looking at Barbashev, not afraid to move out a roster player as part of a bigger move (NHL Network)

On NHL Tonight a few days ago, TFP’s David Pagnotta mentioned interest from the Leafs in St. Louis forward Ivan Barbashev.

They’re evaluating the market, and Kyle Dubas is doing a lot of work circling around to see what is available.

There are heavy hitters like Ryan O’Reilly or potentially Tim Meier as well if they want to really get creative and look outside the box rather than just the traditional rental.

There are other pieces. Ivan Barbashev in St. Louis, if they are looking to shore up their middle six, is a player that they are looking at among others that are out there.

I think they are definitely going to add up front, whether it is an O’Reilly or a Barbashev — those calibre of players. They are guys they are looking at to see how they can make it fit.

The other thing about Toronto is: They are not afraid to move out a current guy on their roster as part of a bigger move to make things work financially. Dubas could be very creative over these next five weeks.

Johnston: Leafs unlikely to be seriously looking into goaltending insurance (TSN1050)

On TSN Overdrive, Chris Johnston discussed the Bo Horvat trade between Vancouver and NYI as well as the Maple Leafs‘ situation in net after the latest Matt Murray injury.

Johnston on Matt Murray’s injury situation:

It is something they have been managing. They thought he was going to start that game on Friday. It is ultimately his discomfort that pulled him from that start. He went out for warmups, didn’t feel right, and reported it to the team.

I don’t have any explicit clarity on how long of a layoff or how severe it is. I don’t think it is anything serious, but you have to have some pause.

As great as it is that Ilya Samsonov has put up the numbers he has to this point in the season and given the Leafs some stability at the position, we all assumed Matt Murray would be logging more of the starts and the playoff starter most likely. I think you really have to question that now.

It is yet another year where it is a whole different series of injuries. It is not like he has one specific area that has knocked him out of games. He has all kinds of different issues in his career, and this is a new one that I don’t recall ever hearing associated with him in the past.

I think there has to be a little bit of bigger-picture concern about how durable he is going to be and how much they are going to be able to rely on him. It doesn’t sound like there is a tremendous amount of concern about the specifics of this latest ailment.

Johnston on whether the Leafs might look for goalie insurance before the deadline:

At this point, I would be surprised if they went and made a deal for another goaltender. That’s not to say it couldn’t happen. We still get a month more of knowledge, and maybe this really lingers with Murray, he isn’t able to play, and that becomes the direction they go in. But I think they are tied to this.

They have had a couple of guys play well at the AHL level. No one would be too confident or excited about seeing one of the AHL goalies have to play in the playoffs, but reasonably, how good is any team’s #3? Carolina is the only team that comes to mind this year that has had three guys who have played well at various points. By and large, when you get to your #3, you are on shaky ground.

Assuming Matt Murray can get back on a reasonable time frame on the other side of the All-Star break,  I still think they will go ahead with these two. If he is unable to play and there becomes a greater concern, I think maybe then you start looking at what else might be out there.

The truth is: If you look at the pending UFAs and some of the players we think might be available, there is not a whole lot at the position that would give you a lot of confidence, either.