Latest on the Leafs, Lightning and Blue Jackets – May 6, 2017

by | May 6, 2017 | Rumors | 56 comments

Could the Toronto Maple Leafs pursue a defenseman such as Carolina’s Justin Faulk this summer?

Looking at some possible defense options for the Toronto Maple Leafs, the possibility of the Tampa Bay Lightning and how the Columbus Blue Jackets could try to protect Josh Anderson. 

THE ATHLETIC: James Mirtle wonders if the Toronto Maple Leafs should give up part of their future to bolster their blueline. He quotes Lamoriello saying this about his defense: “We have a couple of younger players and then we have a couple of free agents that we have to make decisions on, I think we have to add to that group and not make decisions just for simply adding. They have to be people who can come in and help.”

Mirtle points out the Leafs need depth on the right side of their blueline and points out Kevin Shattenkirk and Cody Franson are among the right D available via free agency this summer. Looking at the trade market, he lists Carolina’s Justin Faulk, Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba, Anaheim’s Josh Manson, Colorado’s Tyson Barrie, Vancouver’s Chris Tanev, Minnesota’s Matt Dumba and the New York Islanders’ Travis Hamonic as possible options who might (emphasis on “might”) become available this summer. 

Mirtle notes the Leafs have a window of opportunity with lots of cap space and three young stars (Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander) on entry-level contracts.  He wonders if they might give up a first-round pick in the near future to make a bold move for a defenseman if they don’t want to make a significant subtraction from their roster.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mirtle also observers that landing a good, young impact defenseman could prove expensive for the Leafs. It’s also worth remembering he’s not saying all of those blueliners he listed will be available. But thanks to this summer’s expansion draft and a possibly stagnant salary cap, some of them could be.

The Leafs are well-positioned in cap space and depth in draft picks and prospects to pick up a quality rearguard this summer. Of those on Mirtle’s list, I think Manson, Tanev and Dumba could be obtainable. 

FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols recently cited NHL insider Bob McKenzie discussing the possibility of the Tampa Bay Lightning trading winger Jonathan Drouin this summer on Vancouver’s TSN 1040. McKenzie said Lightning GM Steve Yzerman hasn’t indicated what his club’s plans are for the offseason. However, he notes it’s “strongly believed” Drouin was part of a package offer in January to the St. Louis Blues for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who was eventually shipped to the Washington Capitals. 

McKenzie doesn’t consider a Drouin trade to be far-fetched, citing the club’s need to alleviate financial pressure and to land a premium defenseman. He said he wouldn’t be surprised if the winger gets dealt but adds such a move will have nothing to do with the bad blood that once existed between the Drouin camp and Lightning management, calling it “ancient history.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Under the current $73 million cap ceiling, the Lightning have over $17 million in cap space for next season. They must re-sign Drouin, Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat plus add a top-four defenseman.

Though Yzerman was able to get Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman and Nikita Kucherov to accept less than market value to re-sign, Drouin, Johnson and Palat could still eat up most of the Bolts’ cap space.Adding a quality defenseman could cost them someone such as Drouin.

If Yzerman can re-sign those three and add a top-four defenseman while staying cap compliant and icing a playoff contender, don’t bother waiting until next spring to name him GM of the year.  

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Tom Reed recently reported on the difficulty the Blue Jackets could have protecting forward Josh Anderson from the expansion draft. They’re expected to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and a goaltender. Of their forwards, David Clarkson, Brandon Dubinsky, Nick Foligno and Scott Hartnell all have no-movement clauses and would have to be protected, though Clarkson is expected to waive his.

” Assuming the Jackets protect Cam Atkinson, Boone Jenner, Brandon Saad and Alexander Wennberg, it leaves Anderson, William Karlsson and Matt Calvert exposed,” writes Reed. If Hartnell were to agree to waive his NMC, the Jackets would have to choose between Anderson, Karlsson and Calvert. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of those three, the Vegas Golden Knights will target Anderson. If the Blue Jackets cannot find a way to protect him, they could put him on the trade block rather than lose him for nothing to Vegas.

Also, as noted in the comment section below, Clarkson is on the list of players exempt from the expansion draft. The Blue Jackets don’t have to worry about protecting him. However, they still must face choosing between Anderson, Karlsson or Calvert unless another player (such as Hartnell) agrees to waive his NMC.



  1. Mr. Mirtle, with all due respect it’s going to take a LOT more than a middle-of-the-pack 1st round pick in a weak draft for the Leafs to “make a bold move for a defenseman if they don’t want to make a significant subtraction from their roster.”

    • I agree George, mirtle is a huge leaf homer with a twitter account that spews a whole bunch of garbage

      • Just because he covers the Leafs doesn’t mean he’s a “huge leaf homer.” Trust me, he’s not. Your comment also suggests you haven’t actually read his site because there’s a lot of good writing going on there that has more to do with just the Leafs. Also, Mirtle wasn’t saying the Leafs should move this year’s pick. He merely speculated over the possibility of moving one “in the near future.” That could mean this year, or perhaps in the next two in a deeper draft, depending on where they place.

      • I disagree Lyle the athletic writers aren’t very good and I don’t know if you have seen the tweets mirtle puts out but it’s always should have been a penalty on the Opponents and always a bad call against the leafs etc,etc.

      • I’m thinking a guy can be a fan on twitter and a good writer professionally

      • @BBB A few months ago I was forward a funny tweet by Mirtle so I started to follow and after a few weeks weeks of being bombarded by everything Leafs and how great they were I unfollowed. I don’t mind people having a perspective but try being objective. Again I only followed briefly but he certainly wasn’t for me. The funny thing was I replied to his once and he replied back and said anyone who knows me, knows I’m not a leaf fan. He may said it but his tweets say something totally different in my opinion.

      • Totally agree caper he might say he’s not but everything else he says, says different

  2. Funny, sometimes, how some of these pundits see the game through different colored glasses. Bob MacKenzie – among the best of the lot – thinks it would take a Jonathan Drouin to land a top D while Mirtle thinks one might be obtained by the Leafs by giving up a 1st round pick – well down the list of a weak lot beyond the top 3 or 4 – without subtracting from their roster.

    • Depends on the D and the deal wouldn’t it George? No one is listing or suggesting trade scenarios for anyone specific it’s all thoughts on who could be available and what pieces a team could use to TRY and improve their depth… no saying that’s what it’s going to take to get anyone in particular. Guys like Trouba and Faulk are likely to cost more than a a Barrie or Manson and a guy like Tanev and Dumba would likely fit somewhere in between those 2 groups, it’s also mentioned about rather large cap space that the Leafs have for the next year or so which they could possibly use to take a short unsavoury contract back it’s been mentioned about roster players who could be involved in a deal this just states the rather obvious that it’s unlikely to be Mathews Nylander or Marner. No one in anyway shape or form has compared the Leafs first round pick to a guy like Drouin except yourself.

      • Well of course it depends on the D. But I don’t think he was talking about some 5/6 pairing guy when he said “a bold move for a defenseman if they don’t want to make a significant subtraction from their roster.” 5/6 D are probably there in abundance.

        To get one that can play Top 4 minuted without killing you defensively it’s going to cost someone along the lines of a Drouin – NOT a mid-round pick in the 1st. THAT’S what I was comparing. Read the frikken thing before you go Striker-like.

      • Ha-ha! As always George thanks for the plug.

      • Take your own advise and read George, no one but you compared Drouin to a Leafs first round pick, and as stated before and in the article that you didn’t appear to read there will be teams that need to shed salary and teams that have expansion trouble that will not be able to accept other players such as Drouin who are not exempt from expansion. Cap space, first round picks in this or an upcoming draft and prospects could be of value…. to get a guy to play in their top 4 D in Toronto, which considering guys like Carrick, Polak and Hunwick all at one time or another were getting top 4 minutes isn’t some magical quest to find a unicorn or will take moving major pieces they are going to let the young group of Rielly Gardiner and Zaitsev grow. It’s no great accomplishment to be a better D than either of the other 3. Read the article.

      • Shticky you should really re read it

      • Someone’s blue-and-white back is up. My contention is, if ANY team wants a Top 4 D they are NOT going to get one through the inclusion of “bad contracts” or with a mid-round 1st pick in a weak draft – despite what the article went on to say. That part of the article’s speculation is off the wall and IN MY OPINION it IS going to take a player of the calibre of a Drouin. Period. Clear enough?

      • Someone’s blue and white back is up? For a guy of your age? George I’m stating the same as Lyle is his blue and white back up as well? It’s funny when the opinion of people that don’t really care for the Leafs doesn’t mesh with others it automatically becomes it “must be a Leaf fan, blue and white goggles etc etc.” No one is saying that Drouin won’t bring in a good return there is no mention of any one trade in particular just speculation of assets and what’s available and there are you and biggie grasping at things that are not there and calling people names who don’t wanna play along. For a guy who is 79 years old I would figure your days of calling names were well behind you.

    • An interesting point, George, though I think when you look at some of those he listed being on teams that have limited cap space or those that could lose a good young blueliner via the expansion draft, that suggests those teams probably won’t want to take back much in return. If they’re cap-strapped, they’re shedding salary. If it’s before the expansion draft, they want a return that they don’t have to worry about protecting.

      • There are a bunch of teams that can move expansion exempt assets & also have a bushel of picks or numerous teams that don’t really but would gladly give up their picks for any of the 5 Dman Anh, Clb, Min, NYI, Ott are faced with losing.

        I have been addressing Carolina’s unusual situation of not having enough protectors for expansion. They are a forward & 2 D short. They have a ton of picks, money & solid prospects to parlay.

        They don’t need Dman but they can afford to add 2 if so inclined & give themselves easily the best D in the NHL.

      • Well them & Anaheim.

    • This garbage always starts on Leaf days in the rumours….its comical how the usual suspects come out swinging, right off the bat. Lyle, maybe you should just not post any Leaf rumours or simple hypothetical suggestions. Some people on here just can’t handle it.The nerve of Toronto thinking they can get this player for that player, Leafs dont have this to do that, etc, etc,. The media in Toronto is over the top sometimes, i agree. Maybe some need therapy. The way some of you carry on….makes me feel like you do need Leaf councelling. @bbb, everytime you post, it becomes more and more clear…lol.
      So , let me have it, im ready!
      Thanks for a great site Lyle.

  3. David Clarkson is on the list of players exempt from being drafted in the expansion draft. They won’t need to protect him.

    • That’s right. That piece was written before the listing came out. Thanks for noting this!

    • From NHL news release June 22nd 2016.

      “* Players with potential career-ending injuries who have missed more than the previous 60 consecutive games (or who otherwise have been confirmed to have a career-threatening injury) may not be used to satisfy a club’s player exposure requirements, unless approval is received from the NHL. Such players also may be deemed exempt from selection by the League.”

      Will Ryan Callahan qualify? He missed the last 64 games if the season. I have found it odd Yzerman & TB keep reporting Callahan should be ready to return by training camp. Play the Toronto card. Claim the player is unfit to play to cheat the system like with Robidas & Lupul.

  4. No chance a mid-1st rounder in this weak draft lands you an NHL ready defenseman like Dumba, Manson or any of the others listed. IF the Leafs had a pick in the top 6 or 8 maybe a team like the Wild maybe make that deal but simply stated they thought so little of this draft they acquired a loser like Hanzal for their 1st rounder which speaks volumes.

    • Mirtle wasn’t talking about this year’s draft. He said a first-round pick “in the near future”.

      • LOL. Now there’s a well-split hair. When you get to be 79 Lyle, June of 2018 is not the “near future.”

  5. Nylander for Faulk seems solid for both teams. Or druin for Faulk. Might take a bit more from lightning.

    • With the price of dmen especially one like Faulk it would take more than nylander

      • Not so sure. Faulk is a legit top2. Nylander is a legit top 6 with top line potential. Not that car needs the space but the Elc of nylander is valuable in and of itself. If it took more it wouldn’t be much

      • I’m not sure what criteria your using for a top 2 Dman. Faulk has played as Carolina’s #1 since entering the NHL 6 years ago.

      • Sorry striker. Top pairing d man. Better terminology?

      • I would ask the same questio then as well.

      • I don’t know what the question is…

      • Duh! It doesn’t matter the question nylander isn’t getting a top pairing dman

      • That was a solid duh. I don’t agree yet still feel put in my place. Boom.

    • This has a the basis of a solid trade for both teams. Other assets would have to move around but post expansion this would make a ton of sense for both teams.

      • Sorry the thread gets muddled. A trade of Drouin & ? for Faulk & ?

  6. I”m doubtful ShattenKirk or Franson interests the Leafs at all. Josh Manson, Trouba, Dumba,Faulk for sure would be of interest but at what cost. This expansion draft will certainly open up the trade market as teams will find themselves up against a rock and hard place to which the Leafs can surely benefit from their dilemna IF they choose wisely.

    • Minnesota has 5 D worth protecting, Suter; NMC, Spurgeon, Brodin, Dumba & Scandella. They also have at least 8 forwards. Parise; NMC, Koivu; NMC, Pominville; NMC, Staal, Coyle, Niederreiter, Zucker & Granlund.

      Pominville has an NMC & is virtually untradable at a cap hit of 5.6 for 2 more years both at 5 mil per in real dollars. I assume he will be asked to waive, if he refuses I don’t see how Minnesota can get around not buying him out. Losing Stall wouldn’t be the end of the world but unless Minnesota trades 2 Dman they are confronted with losing either a very good D & or very good young forward.

      No team has positioned themselves worse for expansion than Minnesota. Fletcher certainly has his work cut out for him before June 17th, or buying Vegas off before they submit their selection list on June 19th.

      I assume Minnesota try’s to move 2 Dman, Brodin & Scandella to use the 7F, 3D & 1G formula. Should they use the 8 skater option, protecting 4 D, they are losing 1 of Coyle, Niederreiter or Zucker; again unless traded. That’s assuming Pominville agree’s to waive his NMC or is bought out. Parise; NMC, Koivu; NMC & Granlund are 3 keepers at forward leaving room for 1 under the 8 skater formula.

      • Just think by the time the next expansion draft comes along, there will be teams with more NMC then there allow to protect. They’ll be buying out players just to get to the minimum.

  7. The lightning would be more inclined to trade a roster player because they can’t afford to squeeze him under an already tight cap. Toronto has PLENTY of space and could grab a dman from a strapped team for that first rounder and probably a prospect. Plenty of teams feeling the squeeze of the cap or not being able to protect everyone from the expansion draft.

  8. Tampa would have a terrible taste in their mouths right now had they wasted Druin on Shattenkirk. They still wouldn’t have made the playoffs. He’s not that high if an impact player.
    I can’t stand Columbus because of the rivalry with my team but I would like them a lot more and they would be so much better off if they could get rid of all the dbags on the team like Dubinsky, Hartnell, Foligno, Jack Johnson, I’m sure there are a couple more but them for sure. It sure would keep them from losing a younger guy in the expansion draft. They have the best young top d pairing in hockey. They should make more of a commitment to their guys under 25 because they have a lot of talent there and jettison those older, over paid, and overrated distractions.

  9. So if Columbus is protecting 7F, 3D & a G. Which Dman are they trading pre expansion. Savard; R, Johnson; L, or Murray; L. Obviously Jones isn’t going any where.

    • I would think that their choice maybe Johnson in that case, depending on return and basing things on age and contracts. Johnson is UFA after next year I believe.

    • For some reason Tortorella like Johnson, but who can fully explain what goes on in his head? Don’t see the biggest market for the other 2 though. I would guess they would trade whichever one another team wanted and feel lucky anything happened at all.

      • Johnson has logged big minutes every where he’s played. Used to log huge PP minutes until this season as well. We all agree +/- is flawed but Johnson has always struck me as a train wreck defensively but none of his coaches have every reduced his ice time or role & before acquiring Jones he was CLb #1 & played as LA’s #2 for his last 3 years in LA.

        Having just turned 30 I assume their will be a solid market if he’s the 1 shipped out.

  10. I’ve been suggesting over on the Duck boards that a trading of Theodore plus pick/ prospect could be in the works for TBs Drouin. TB can’t take salary back and Theodore is draft exempt who is also an up and coming young d man, he can skate and put up points.

    Trust me Manson will not be available. Out of all the young D listed above to be available by teams none of them have the snarl and toughness that Manson has. He can skate, he can carry the puck, pass, hit, intimidate the opponent. He is a great piece to any team but he compliments the Ducks D core nicely. Instead I think Bieska will waive is no trade clause and Vatman will be traded to open up space to resign Fowler.

    • I agree completely. I have been saying for a very long time even before Vatanen was resigned that he is the 1 to move. The contract even makes it easier. Great term, cap hit & no modified NTC until 2018-19.

      Drouin would be a great fit in Anh & if they can get Bieksa to waive his NMC, if not buy him out to protect 7F, 3D & 1G, moving Vatanen to TB in some form of deal for Drouin makes a ton of sense. Anh has room for a 7th forward to protect. Curious to see what other assets if any would move around in such a deal.

      Fowler isn’t going any where. Never was. He will get 6.5 to 7 mil per for 8 years on July 1st. Any less & he’s giving Anaheim a home town discount. Playing on an injured knee he played almost 7 minutes more than any other Anaheim Dman last night. He has been Anaheim’s #1 Dman for several years & teams rarely trade such assets unless confronted with no choice.

      The same deal moving Vatanen to numerous other teams works as well. Theodore & Montour can replace Vatanen’s minutes easily. Assuming Bieksa waves & goes unselected by Vegas Anaheim doesn’t even miss Vatanen.

      Fowler, Montour.
      Lindholm, Manson.
      Theodore, Bieksa.

      & they have Larsson coming fast but no room at the inn. Not served well playing as the #7, Gets seasoned in the AHL until injures or another trade open up a roster spot.

      • If he’s exempt, why trade him? Trading him doesn’t solve the Ducks expansion problem, that trade compounds it.

      • ?

        I assume you meant to post that under Robd360 as my post relates to Vatanen who isn’t expansion draft exempt.

      • Sorry Ron I meant I agree completely with trading Vatanen not Theodore. Can see how that might be confusing.

      • Ron. Ducks need to add a young scoring forward. Tampa has that in Drouin. Tampa can’t take back salary so the only options are to send Theodore, Montour or Larson. Out of the 3 I would keep Montour on the Ducks. Larson has not shown what he can do in the NHL so I don’t see Tampa taking him. This leaves Theo to trade to Tampa.

        Ducks can only keep 3 D with the format they are doing. These would be Manson, Fowler and Hampus. However they need to have Bieska waive is no trade clause. This then leaves Vatenan unprotected, but I’m sure there is a team that will want him as opposed to just giving him away. Since the Ducks would have to resign Fowler to a larger contract I would just take picks/ prospects for Vatenan.

        Stoners and Bieskas contract falls off after next season leaving the Ducks amble space to resign Drouin as well.

      • I would be very surprised to see anh move anyone of Theodore, montour or Larsson.

        TB’s salry cap issues are over blown. They can trade garrison or buy him out. He is only going to be paid 2.5 next season that would free up either s.6 if traded or 3.6 if bought out. TB will also lose a player in expansion.

        They can easily take on Vatanen’s contract. I don’t see Johnson or Palat getting more than 5.5 tops on long term deals. I bridge Drouin whether he likes it or not.

      • 4.6 if traded

      • JVR from the Leafs could very well get either Manson, Montour or Theadore…… the Leafs would want a R-Dman and Manson would be a perfect top-pair with Reilly….

  11. Yzerman as GM of the Year? Really? The pre-season SC favorite finished 18th overall in the league. Blueline deficiencies following the faux run in 2015-16 went unaddressed. The word is that Yzerman believes he only needs one quality defenseman. With Stralman regressing and the zero worth of Sustr, Coburn, and Garrison, the Lightning need two blueliners to import. The plethora of quality forwards in the organization guarantees that this can be accomplished without the cap getting squeezed.

    • I was referring to next season with my slightly facetious comment about Yzerman and GM of the year. Don’t read too much into the Bolts woes this season. Injuries walloped the roster and contributed to a bad season. Yes, there is a need to bolster the defense and Yzerman tried to land Shattenkirk in January. I expect he’ll be in the market for a top-four d-man this summer. Perhaps he’ll get a second one but, given the cap concerns over re-signing Drouin, Johnson and Palat, one could be his limit. Point is, I expect the Bolts will be in much better shape next season than they were throughout this season.