Latest Leafs Speculation – April 27, 2018

by | Apr 27, 2018 | Rumors | 66 comments

A roundup of media speculation over the Toronto Maple Leafs’ offseason plans. Enjoy!

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman speculates over possible changes for the Toronto Maple Leafs. General manager Lou Lamoriello is completing a three-year contract but has a provision allowing him to remain in an advisory role for two more years. His decision could affect the status of assistant GMs Mark Hunter and Kyle Dubas. If Lamoriello departs, Friedman wonders if he’d join his son Chris with the New York Islanders.

Pending free-agent winger James van Riemsdyk loves Toronto and wants to stay but Friedman said it’s hard to see how a new contract will fit. He also anticipates the Leafs will look at upgrading their blueline, noting they “kicked tires” on some in-season options such as Ryan McDonagh and Chris Tanev, though they were never really close on anything at the time.

Friedman’s colleague Damien Cox believes the Leafs should consider bolstering their goaltending depth. While acknowledging starter Frederik Andersen’s heavy workload, he feels the Leafs need to upgrade between the pipes if they’re to improve. Among his suggested options are promoting Garrett Sparks, giving backup Curtis McElhinney more work or bring in a goalie via trade or free agency to compete with starter Frederik Andersen.

TORONTO STAR: Kevin McGran considers signing New York Islanders pending free-agent center John Tavares a long-shot bet for the Leafs, suggesting they offer up a one-year, $16-million contract. If landing Tavares isn’t possible, he proposes short-term options such as San Jose’s Joe Thornton (depending upon his recovery from knee surgery) or New Jersey’s Michael Grabner.

McGran believes they must bring in a top-flight mobile defenseman. Acquiring big-ticket blueliners such as Los Angeles’ Drew Doughty or Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson (who are both eligible for UFA status in 2019) would be expensive. He suggests pending UFAs such as Washington’s John Carlson or Detroit’s Mike Green could be targets.

Should the Maple Leafs consider shopping William Nylander for a defenseman? (Photo via NHL Images)

McGran also wondered about Lamoriello’s future with the Leafs, as well as what type of contract restricted free agent forward William Nylander might get. He also thinks the Leafs would be wise to open contract extensions talks with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, who have a year remaining on their entry-level deals. He expects UFAs such as van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak, Tomas Plekanec and Dominic Moore won’t be back, but perhaps Mike Babcock favorites Leo Komarov and Roman Polak might be retained.

NATIONAL POST: Michael Traikos feels the Leafs need better defensemen if they hope to contend for the Stanley Cup, even if that means trading someone like William Nylander to get one. He points out the Leafs have considerable depth at forward but it’s a different story on the blueline, “with (Jake) Gardiner, Ron Hainsey and Nikita Zaitsev playing too high in the line-up.” While they could pursue a UFA such as John Carlson or Mike Green, Traikos suggests better options, such as Vancouver’s Chris Tanev or Calgary’s T.J. Brodie, could be available via the trade market, or perhaps Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson or Los Angeles’ Drew Doughty. Pursuing a quality defenseman, however, could cost someone such as Nylander, Connor Brown or Kasperi Kapanen.

THE ATHLETIC: In addition to musing over the futures of Lamoriello and the notable UFAs, the possibility of signing Tavares  and new contracts for Matthews, Marner and Nylander, Jonas Siegel also noted the Leafs need to bolster their blueline, especially on the right side. If Washington’s John Carlson is unavailable, Siegel wonders if the Leafs will circle back on Vancouver’s Chris Tanev in the trade market. However, he feels trading William Nylander for a defenseman “should be a definite no-go.” That will make it tricky to determine who or what the Leafs can give up to get that blueliner.

TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan believes “there’s  a real possibility that not one of the Leafs’ six players headed for unrestricted free agency — forwards James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak, Leo Komarov, Dominic Moore and Plekanec and defenceman Roman Polak — will be re-signed.” He doesn’t think van Riemsdyk will accept a hometown discount to stay in Toronto.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Expect plenty of media speculation over the Leafs’ offseason plans in the coming weeks, especially when the 2018 NHL Draft weekend (June 22-23) draws near. It’ll certainly be interesting to see whether Lamoriello returns as GM or if Hunter or Dubas takes over. Newsday’s Andrew Gross said there’s no indication the Islanders are interested in Lamoriello, though he acknowledged his ties to the organization through his son. 

The Leafs’ priority must be improving their defense corps. They gave up too many shots-against and scoring chances, blew too many leads and relied too much on Andersen to bail them out.  As per Cap Friendly, the Leafs have less than $50 million invested in 16 players once the all-but-retired Nathan Horton’s cap hit is placed on long-term injured reserve at the start of next season. That’s more than enough to address their blueline needs via free agency or trade. They could also make one or two affordable additions without eating up too much of their long-term cap room.

If Carlson hits the free-agent market, the Leafs should definitely pursue him. If he’s unavailable, Green might make a decent short-term addition that won’t break the bank. If there’s a chance of acquiring a superstar such as Doughty or Karlsson, they should at least look into it to determine the cost of return and salary. If they can find more affordable trade options, they must do it. As Traikos observes, it could cost them a good young forward but such a move could be addition via subtraction if it improves the defense. 

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times since last summer: the Leafs don’t need John Tavares. They already have a first-line center in Matthews, whose best days are still ahead of him. Nazem Kadri is a good fit on the second line. If they keep Nylander they can put him into the third-line role. Blowing their brains out for Tavares on a long-term contract will take up valuable cap space that would be better used plugging the gaping holes on their blueline. Even if he accepts a one-year deal for the 20 percent maximum salary, it would still be a waste of money that won’t address their defensive needs.

I concur with Koshan’s take on the Leafs’ UFAs. While I understand the wish of Leafs fans to keep JVR in the fold, that might not be possible if he won’t accept an offer that’s less than what he’d get on the open market. There could be more cost-effective short-term options via trade or free agency as they develop their promising young forwards.

Andersen faced more shots this season than any other NHL goaltender. To be a reliable playoff starter, the Leafs must reduce his workload. They’ll likely look to within to address that issue for next season. 

 








66 Comments

  1. I don’t care what else they do as long as they get rid of Gardiner.

    • o know the sky is falling the leafs lost what will all those leafs fans who over rate every player on that team do now I know every free agent that’s worthy is now signing there…….. right

  2. Tavares will not take a one year deal that is just dumb. Any shift could be your last !

    Brodie is a lot like Gardner so not sure that is the answer either. If Flames could get a prospect and a second this year they probably would pull the trigger Flames would look into JVR and Bozak as an ufa

  3. Alot of Tanev talk coming out of Toronto media. Im not naive enough to think Nylander is an equal trade but definately a 1st or top prospects such as Liljegren or Grundstrom

  4. Leafs are a fast young explosive team I believe they need to find two quality defensemen once who can score and one who can keep the puck out of the net. Their future is bright but my biggest fear for them is Mathews I don’t see him as a leader I know he is young but when he talks his attitude is horrible. I also know he had Chara all series to deal with but 2 points really 2.

    • Obe- he had Chara and Bergeron lol. If you go back and look at Steve Yzerman early years they said same thing- he was almost traded to Ottawa for Daigle.. All young kids face adversity in early years- he is the real deal

      • I agree. And I don’t believe for one second that your best player necessarily has to be your best leader, or a leader at all.

        This is the kind of pressure fans and the media should NOT be putting on this young mans shoulders. He had a bad playoff run… it happens. Especially at his age.

        Give this kid a chance before you hang him out to dry!

    • I don’t agree with you Obe, Matthews is definitely a leader. Let’s not forget he’s only 20, the worst thing fans can do is point fingers at a 20 year old

      • Didn’t look or sound like a leader, not sure you can teach that I think your born with it. But hey sh…….t happens.

      • Leadership is something that can certainly be taught, and something that can (and should) be grown into.

        I remember Joe Thornton being similarly criticized in Boston because he wasn’t ready to captain an original-six franchise when he was barely 20 years old…foolishness really.

      • When does anyone begin to attribute the defensive woes of this team to the collective? By that I mean the system devised? Those shots on net are NOT solely attributed to six D men dressed. The Penguins won a cup last year playing team D and still Max’d out their offensive prowess. That is not to say they can’t use a stud but who can’t? They are in short supply so let look at Plan b and C

    • Tor had 2 Dman in the top 15; Tied for 15th, for scoring. I think they have that aspect covered. What Tor needs this summer is an elite shut down, defensive Dman to balance out 3 pairings & the following summer a 2nd 1 to replace Hainsey. Neither Carlson nor Green is that player.

    • Yikes. Matthews is a stud now & has only 2 years of NHL experience. It’s not like he didn’t have his chances, he got off 27 shots, tied with Pastrnak for 4th in the 1st round, 1 behind Kuznetsov & McKinnon at 2 & 3. Ovechkin was 1st with 33. I love both Hyman & Brown but these aren’t exactly elite offensive players but solid 2 way players who will go get pucks & not miss their defensive assignments.

      • Very much agree with your assessment on AM. You can argue the point total but not the overall performance. He was getting his chances and that means he was engaged and going to the heavy traffic areas. I would like to see him get that shot off faster instead of toe drag and curl as often as he does but I have no issue with his performance.
        I would like to see an honest appraisal of the team approach to defense and then decide what we need in the off season. For example Karlson with Method was far more effective than without. Same player though. Stud D are not available.

    • Did people already forget that Matthews got 4 goals and 5 points in 6 games in last years playoffs?

  5. Tyler- sounds reasonable. I was just going to post- they aren’t trading Nylander.
    Does an offer of Connor Brown, Jeremy Bracco and 1st – get you a sniff at Doughty or EEL(pause..only because he has one year left on his deal). The Kings may want to re-evaluate as well. If all else fails- throw 6x 6 at John Carlson OR 6 x 5 at Dehaan and then move/let go Gardiner after this coming season. They don’t need offense from their D – they have it up front.
    I like Tanev as well but he isn’t fetching William Nylander- sorry no matter what anyone tell’s me. A top prospect or good roster player and a 1st sure ..

    JVR is a liability let someone else overpay- he is already too slow..

    • Agree that Carlson is the best UFA fit. Not sure that 6×6 will get him though. He had a huge year on a very good offensive team. Is that the new norm for him, or will he settle back into his historical production?
      7×7 too much?
      Methinks the caps try and sign him prior to July 1 as well.
      After him there isn’t much to like on the right side. I disagree with Striker on this topic. I think you really want your D playing on their strong side. Bieksa is there. Gritty character guy with experience but has lost a step, so plug him in for a year while you wait for Liljegren and a year or 2 later Rasanen?
      They need to keep drafting D.

      • someone gives him 7 X 8 at least. He has no competition for top pairing d man in the market. could get 9.

      • Love Bieksa. Don’t anyone tell me he is too slow. If Polak plays a role here then Beiksa would be that vet. Leader we need on the back end. He could allow for a Gardner to make his mistakes while covering up for him. Personally I think Gardner is gone this summer because of his contract status as opposed to his game 7 performance

    • I think Canucks would do cartwheels to get a package of Brown/Bracco/1st. Am convinced they would REALLY hope to get a good D in return. Early season rumours were that Canucks turned down 3rd+Nielson for Gudbranson.

      • Which Neilson?

      • Andrew

      • Gardner for Tanev. Straight swap. Add more if Vancouver can’t sign him beyond the season.
        Trade JVR rights now. Anything is better than nothing. 7 round? Improved pick if he signs.
        Damian Cox thinks Toronto needs to improve its goaltending in off season?!? Other than Anderson crapping the bed in game 7 did I miss something this year?!? Both goalies were outstanding this year.

    • No not a sniff. Doughty isn’t moving & I assume you mean OEL, unlikely he moves as well, apparently he likes playing in Pheonix & they will pay market value to retain him.

      That isn’t getting Carlson signed, think 7 years at 7.5 min. de Haan should come cheaper, as he still hasn’t fully established himself & last seasons injury will impact his value nominally. This is my favourite UFA Dman for term & money. A solid defensive Dman with untapped offensive potential if ever allowed to contribute to the offence. He just thinks defence & the safe smart play 1st.

      • Striker, i’m starting to think you like De Haan.

      • I think Stiker might be from the planet Haan and is cheering on a fellow Haan’ian.

      • Sounds to me that Striker is De Hann’s agent with a 15% cut. Seriously, he would be a great add to the Leafs. I’m sure they are equally aware.

      • I think he has solid 2nd pairing potential, can play on a #1 penalty kill & at soon to be 27 with 304 NHL games or regular season experience isn’t fully developed & has far more to give. Considering he should be able to be locked up for similar term & monies to Alzner last summer I think he’s a perfect shut down Dman for almost any team & he has far better offensive skills & really is a better Dman than Alzner. At least in my opinion.

        Someone is going to get a solid almost fully developed Dman although still 1 more year away from such for great value & term.

      • I think Striker gets DeHaan mixed up with Jessica Hahn and it has ignited his desire. You really don’t need to type your intense affection for this guy 3 times a day EVERY day. We get it, don’t agree necessarily, but get it.

  6. Time to set the hair on fire…..if AZ gets first overall they trade it to Toronto for Mathews. We get our guy and they get the help on D they are in desperate need of. Problems solved. 😉

    • not worth it for zona… simply because they would only get the value of an ELC for 1 year. Tor would have to add.

    • Lol not a chance

    • The offer for Mathew’s (to get first over-all) just before he was drafted was OEL; Domi; and Arz’s 2 first rounders that year (7th &20th). Note Keller went at 7 and Weee Willy’s bro at 8. At 20 the pick was Cholowski but Tor could have pulled a switch of 20th plus a later pick or two to move up and get McCovoy (14th) OR Chychryn(16th) OR Stanley (17th) or Fabro (18th)…. The offer just before this was as above but instead of OEL it was Strome… Leafs balked at offer; then balked again 10 minutes before AM was drafted when Arz upped the ante switching out OEL for Strome in the offer….. Leafs balked twice with a player that had not a day of NHL experience at the time….why would they accept less now after he’s shown us what he can do for 2 years???

      • Pengy, that’s exactly it. There have been so many comments on this forum that the Leafs would not be able to trade Marner for Hanifan. Even if this is true, the Leafs would not be offering Marner for Hanifan as why would they have drafted Marner over Hanifan in the first place. And people, don’t give me they obviously made a mistake, Mark Hunter made that decision and I shouldn’t have to tell anyone how qualified he is.

  7. They need two defense guys and after that maybe work out a better schedule on back up goalie.Hold on to the young guys.Then if they can get a few good deals on forwards without breaking the bank.Come on defense.

  8. These rumour mills have to stop wasting our time about the Leafs pursuing Tavares, Doughty or Karlsson.
    The Leafs needs hasn’t changed the last 2 years, one or two top(big, two-way) four D men. Lou has gone cheap & focused on acquiring 5th-7th D men the last 2 years.
    It has become obvious that Nylander is struggling to fit in Babcock’s system; I’d like to see him & Gardiner packaged for a good D men.
    JVR is a goner.

    • I hate the idea of losing Nylander as he’s shown his ability to produce points but packaging him with Gardiner would clearly get a better return on a D.

      Gardiner has his D woes but don’t forget he’s still a 50+ point D man, not many of those in the league (19 to be exact). His offence is a desirable commodity, even with his brain farts on D.

      • Yep, on the other side Krug put up big points in this series but also had his turnovers. Just more good than bad with him in that series. Not sure who it was on here but they also made a great point that not all those were Gardner’s fault. Forwards who don’t support the puck are just as responsible, and there were 2 in game 7. Easy to blame the D sometimes, but when you have half a second to make a play before a Backes drills you into the glass, your forward better be where you expect him to be.

    • Stud Dman rarely if ever move, really good 1’s almost never, it’s a lot easier to say than do. I don’t think it has anything to do with Tor being cheap but not wanting to pay the costs demanded.

      If you want this type of asset especially if locked up to term you are overpaying for it, substantially.

      Now take 1 with a year left coming out of his 3rd contract; 5 or 6 years in facing arbitration & UFA status a year or 2 out, the business side of today’s trades, getting to old facing 1 of those long-term deals most of us hate, has had injury issues & you want to roll the dice, the cost is still high but far more manageable.

      • One thing I’m appreciating is the forum comments around the Leafs are far more realistic then they were from most yesterday. Again I re-iterate, we lost to a better team. There is nothing to be ashamed of and no one to blame but Boston.
        The team is in year 2 of the rebuild after cleanup and we have three more years to go before we are a defacto top end contender for the cup. Stay on course and on plan.

      • I agree completely. Someone has to lose, parity is alive & well, Toronto lost to a better team, especially on D & if not for Andersen this would have been over in 5. There is no shame in that.

        Several Boston players weren’t good, Rask was well below average, McAvoy didn’t look like McAvoy he made numerous mistakes, sometimes several on the same play. Rick Nash is just wasting a top 6 roster position. All better be significantly better next round. If Boston plays like that against TB it will be a very short series.

      • I re read yesterday’s forum and where exactly does anyone say it was Gardiners fault they lost to the bruins ?? I stated he was terrible in 7 , another comment said he was directly to blame for 3 of the goals , nowhere do I see he was alone to blame for losing to the bruins . As I said yesterday , it should have been expected . Most posters yesterday , myself included weren’t blaming gardiner for the loss , we were pointing out how blatantly terrible he was in 7 and questioning whether he is part of the future , and if he’s not , as I believe , he should be traded this summer . Toronto can’t afford to sign Mathews Marner nylander in the next couple years , extend gardiner AND add to the D group around him .

  9. Any insight into Matthews playing hurt?
    He looked like someone protecting himself out there

    • The entire Leafs team looked like purse holders, Nylander is soft as mink fur and will want 7-8 million

  10. Toronto should offer JT a one year $16m contract, Somebody gets paid to write that crap. What exactly does that accomplish? Is Toronto one JT away from the cup? If JT initials were VH or DD they have a better chance at the cup.
    So you sign JT one year $16m, no cup, then what?
    If Toronto signed JT, were most don’t believe they need him, then you have JT and Matthews as your top 2, then maybe you can move Kadri for that elusive dman. Kadri has an affordable contract, no trade restrictions, coming off back to back 30 goals campaigns. With that said you would have your top 2 centers making about $25m and a stud D is going to be cheap. I conclude keep Kadri and his money saving contract, leave someone else pay $12.5 for JT, spend your money on d.

    • ” If JT initials were VH or DD they have a better chance at the cup.”
      Van Halen and Don Dokken? yeah, that would get TOR the cup, definitely.

  11. Weber for Gardiner, 1st in 2018, 1st in 2020

    • Montreal’s 1st in 2018 and 2020 right?

      • Kent, even with that the Leafs would never do it. That contact is an albatross.

    • Yes, bring it on. Make it happen.

  12. I wonder if Lou would consider being the president of hockey OPS in Ottawa. Be a good mentor to a new GM and be just the kind of gangster we need to chain the owner in a basement in barbados

  13. $16M on JT 1 year…. won,t be offered by any team and wouldn’t be accepted…. moving on…. Leafs…. 5 Year plan…. need to progress…. MUST MUST MUST MUST improve D …. and since we’re on the development side of the plan…. acquiring late 20’s D should be avoided. To get what they want …. it’ll cost Wee Willy or MM….. I say wee Willy….. other moving parts in any trade as this will not be a 1 for 1….. Leafs need to aggressively target AT LEAST ONE of Parayko or Nurse. If whatever multiple moves Leafs have to make to somehow have both CP & DN instead of Zaitsev & Gardner…. then Leafs have moved a giant step towards a SC in next few years. Without a significant move to upgrade D…. Leafs in current rendition won’t get to SCF let alone win. An aside ….. do not re-sign any of the current Leaf UFAs… too much to go into the rationale other than what’ll cost won’t be close to the effective return rec’d.

    • Pengy, I don’t agree that we have to do anything drastic this year. The five year plan has three years remaining. There are strong rumors of a Russian defenseman signing after April 30th. I can provide his name but will wait until it is announced. We signed two from Sweeden last year and have others that are very promising in the system. If we can get a De Hann, nice move or an older guy on a short stop gap contract, I’m in. Other than that, no major trades as this has been a Leaf constant for 50 years and obviously has not worked.

      • Shanahan was hired on April 11th 2014. That was 4 years ago didn’t the 5-year plan start then?

    • fair comments but just don’t see the point in moving those guys for Darnell Nurse lol.. he is a good young D but not a 1 or 2 .. may be one day? So we have Rielly Dermott Gardiner…Zaitsev..down the pipe Rosen or Borgram, Lilegren maybe Ozipav they are signing.. why trade Nylander for Nurse when we can sign a DeHaan and cost no assets.. They will not trade Nylander unless part of a deal for a stud in the making (Hanifin type) its not happening for Darnell Nurse or Parayko for that matter..
      Also look at other teams that had studs on D- how did their seasons turnout? The Kings D Doughty Martinez Muzzin…? The Blues Pietrangelo Parayko Boumeester? Flames .Giordano Brodie Hamilton ? The Black hawks!! Its a team top names don’t ensure anything…

      • IMO Parayko better now and in future than Hanafin. Nurse is on rise and of course a gamble…. but I truly believe that his potential is better than Hanafin and much more of a future return than Dehaan …. my opinion tho…. I am jaded on views of both CP & DN as I’ve closely followed both over last 3 years… both big; fast; smooth-skating puck movers that are very tough in their own end….

        Trekkie… the Russian D is a longer shot for T.O. as other teams are pursuing more aggressively. I wasn’t and I am still not bullish on the two Swedish off-season D acquisitions …. long term at best 6th/7th D for them. Re 5 year plan … we just finished 3rd year…. AM draft was start of 2nd year. 1st began the tear down year and the MM draft year….. 2 to go to get to SCF….. roster as is ….. not even close…… MUST improve D and look longer term …. read …. no signing long term on late 20’s UFA Ds….. all of course IMO

      • You need not worry. Neither Edmonton nor StL are giving up Nurse or Parayko any time soon. The overpayment to convince them to do so would be insane. Nurse is cost controlled for 4 more years min, Parayko signed for 5 last summer so 4 more.

        You guys make it sound like it’s easy, then you complain when a team like Edm ponies up to actually make it happen.

        The expansion to Seattle is 2 summers away, 3 tops & every team will again lose a solid to great young player or buy their way out of it with picks & futures. Factor that into your trade scenario’s as you know the GM’s & teams will.

        Neither Edm nor StL can afford to lose such Dman, Nurse is a stud in the making. Parayko regressed a little last season but hi is only 24 with 242 games of NHL regular season experience. He won’t be fully devloped for 2 more full seasons & he’s really good now as is Nurse. I have no doubt what so ever that Nurse will be a solid #2 2 way Dman that’s punishing to play against in 2.5 years.

      • Pengy, I don’t consider the tear down as the first year of rebuild – but that’s semantics anyway. I am of the understanding the Russian defenseman is Leaf done deal – we’ll see. I like Borgman alot and see 3/4 in him – Rosen, no argument on that one – again, we’ll see. I also like Neilson and Lilegren – to me one of the two will be a 2 guy with the other getting to 3/4. I see Rielly now as a very good bet to be a true number 1. He was really good in games 3-7. Got hurt in game 7 but came back. I think he has finally found his game.

      • Striker, here is how the Executive process works in any company and hockey should be no different:

        Year 1 – evaluation
        Year 2 – cuts
        Year 3 and onwards – acquisition of talent – call it rebuild if you like

      • Striker, I’m not saying either guy moves, but how many times have you said this about a player and have been dead wrong.

  14. I think the Leafs really need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and not overreact. This team was good, but always flawed. There is no need to pretend they have some shortened window that they need to win within. They can’t blow things out of proportion and end up trading Nylander for Tanev or something similar, or think they will improve just by moving Gardiner.

    The Leafs biggest weakness on D is the right side. They don’t have a single defender that you would want playing the right side in top 4 minutes for an entire year. Zaitsev has been a train wreck and represents the biggest misstep of current management. Polak isn’t as bad as he gets flack for, he should be a 6/7 guy who brings size and toughness and can kill a few penalties. If that is all that was asked, things would be ok, it’s the weakness elsewhere that has him trying to do too much and looking worse as he doesn’t get protected minutes the way most bottom pairing D do. Hainsey is a great vet to have playing on the bottom pair who can fill in higher up in longer games in the playoffs or for injuries, but he ran out of gas playing top pair minutes. He did well in them for awhile, but looked done by the end of the season and into the playoffs.

    I think the Leafs need to add, which is clear. Carlson would be a great pick up, as I would then use Gardiner as a trade chip to hopefully add a RHD with some cost certainty. De Haan would be a great pick up too, he could be one of the better value adds available this summer given his rough season injury wise. There are some trade scenarios that could pop up, Tanev, Trouba, Ellis have varying reasons why they may become available, and teams like Anaheim, St. Louis, and Calgary have strength on the blueline but had disappointing seasons.

    The big thing for the Leafs is that they need to avoid overpaying by too much. It’s fine to overpay with numbers of assets, like giving away two prospects or an extra mid pick, but the top tier assets need to be non-starters in any deal that doesn’t bring back a cornerstone piece. Truth is, nobody is offering up those D anyway, so while it might be nice to speculate on Nylander for Parayko, if the Leafs went into the summer thinking we will trade Nylander for whatever the best D available is, they would likely lose whatever trade they ended up making since nobody is going to volunteer a top pairing established young RHD when the Leafs are looking to sell.

    Finally, the Leafs need to address Gardiner. As much as he isn’t the problem, in terms of his play, signing him long term would be a mistake, because it would represent a commitment to only tweaking the current core, which likely won’t be good enough. If they only want to tweak for next year, say by doing something like just signing De Haan, they could do so, and try it, but use the last year of Gardiner’s deal to evaluate Dermott and De Haan, rather than commit now to Gardiner. Gardiner is good, and he brings far more positives than negatives, but a team should only commit to so many players long term, otherwise you lose too much flexibility to make changes when needed. Signing Gardiner to one of those spots means it’s hard to offer a big contract to someone different. I know some would say Carlson isn’t that much different, but I would rather have Carlson at $7.5M and whatever assets I had from trading Gardiner, than simply having Gardiner at $6M. Even if Carlson was just Gardiner on the other side (which he isn’t), this would be worthwhile.

    • Danny, I see the Leafs trying to deal Gardiner this summer if they deal makes sense, else he stays his last year and moves on. I like Gardiner, but we have guys on the team and in the system that are similar. He is expendable now only if the right deal comes along as we still need him or someone to fill the gap while the youngsters develop. I’ve appreciated your insights on the Leafs. I think you and I have similar thoughts – not saying we’re right as the Leaf brass has the only say. Based on what the Leaf brass do this summer , we will clearly understand whether we get the team plans or not.

      BTW – I’m still not giving up on Zaitsev. I still think he needs one more year in the NHL. JMO – not saying you’re wrong on him.

  15. Babcock is definitely going to want another 4th liner to put on the first line. You can’t expect Hyman and Brown to carry the whole team. Seriously though, they did alright but they just aren’t good enough yet. They need a power winger to replace Hyman on the first and they need a top dman. A Jaimie Benn and a Drew Doughty type. Impossible, maybe, but that’s what they are lacking. Then they need Babcock to own up to some of his foibles. He needs to give more games to McBackup and get over his obsession with having a 4th line checker on every line, no matter how hard they work, nor how good Matthews makes them look.

  16. Would Kadri, Zaitsev or Gardiner along with high pick and prospect get Weber from MTL??

    Is Weber’s value still that high or that might pull it off and give some solid leadership on the backend for TML ?

    MTL is rebuilding and need some center depth….Kadri does that and with their cap space they can sign JVR with the $ saved by trading Weber.

    Thoughts?

    • Stay clear

  17. Why would toronto trade for Weber ..
    Age factor ..insane cap hit ..
    What U R suggesting , giving up for him is absolutely absurd .
    Kadri is going no where …
    Gardiner definitely has to be moved and yes, it is imperative that the Leafs adddess their defensive liabilities .
    A stay at home , shutdown drfemseman would be ideal , but who is that guy ?
    Any suggestions here ?!?!?!