The Toronto Maple Leafs wrapped up the NHL trade season by acquiring forward Connor Dewar from the Minnesota Wild for a fourth-round pick in 2026 and Dmitry Ovchinnikov.

Dewar, turning 25 this summer, is a restricted free agent enjoying a career-high in goal scoring with 10 this season (note: he’s shooting 17.5 percent). In total, he’s played 173 games in the league so far, putting up 18 goals and 38 points. In terms of upside, he’s likely already capped out as a bottom-six, grinding-type player, but that doesn’t mean he can’t help.

Dewar possesses some speed to burn, some physicality, and the ability to penalty kill. Last season, he was third among all Wild forwards in time on ice per game on a PK unit that ranked 10th in the league. This season, he’s again in that spot, but the Wild penalty kill cratered behind really bad goaltending to start the season.

With the worst penalty-killing ranking of any team in a playoff spot, the Leafs need all the help they can get on their units, and Dewar should be able to contribute for a team that has been rolling out the likes of Bobby McMann, Auston Matthews, and even — especially lately — William Nylander shorthanded. The coaching staff has been trying to manufacture penalty killers all season, but it’s not worked out. Now, they have brought in a 24-year-old with RFA rights to try to help it along.

There is a lot of talk about Dewar as a center, but I’m not expecting the Leafs to play a career 45.5 percent faceoff man down the middle full-time and view him as more of a winger with some speed and jam. 

Last season, Dewar played with Ryan Reaves more than any other Wild teammate. The concern would be that those minutes didn’t exactly go smoothly. They faced a ton of defensive-zone starts (35.68 percent offensive-zone percentage) and finished with 44.25 percent shot share attempts while being outscored 12-15 in just under 445 minutes together at five-on-five.

Dewar isn’t going to drive play forward, but he can contribute as a chip-and-chase type of player who owns a sneaky shot. We will see what exactly this addition means for a player like Pontus Holmberg, who has shown he can drive play but has been a healthy scratch twice this week after Sheldon Keefe was not happy with his game on Monday against the Bruins. It’s fairly clear Noah Gregor is not a full-time solution at this point. 

If that means Dewar slots in alongside Kampf and Reaves on the fourth line, it could be an energy unit that the team hopes isn’t a liability at five-on-five while Dewar helps on the penalty kill. If Holmberg is on the line — whether it’s instead of Reaves or even Dewar himself — it has legitimately flashed the potential to be a little bit more than just “not a liability.” 

In a nutshell, it’s a move that ever so slightly raises the floor of the team (potentially helping the penalty kill), but it doesn’t really raise the ceiling. Brad Treliving also paid a fourth-round pick in 2026 to do it  — relative peanuts — and Dewar is a player who, if it goes well, should be in the fold as more than a rental considering his contract status.