Toronto Maple Leafs Trade Rumors: Blockbuster Trade Imminent?


Toronto Maple Leafs Trade Rumors: Blockbuster Trade Imminent?

Jan 3, 2015; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; The Toronto Maple Leafs celebrate the goal by forward Mike Santorelli against the Winnipeg Jets in the second period at MTS Centre. Mandatory Credit: Shawn Coates-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL trade deadline may still be two months away, but rumors involving the Toronto Maple Leafs are already circulating around the league. While this is usually the case, 2015 should be particularly interesting, given Toronto’s recent run of form.

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Things were looking good for the Leafs, especially after a 10-1-1 run put them in a great position at the mid-point of December. Unfortunately, things have gone awry even since, with a 2-7-0 record in their last nine games that has left the team desperately clinging onto a precious playoff spot.

Despite only making the postseason once in the previous nine years, failure to qualify this season is almost unthinkable, and more to the point, inexcusable. As such, you can bet that Dave Nonis and company will be doing everything possible to improve the roster between now and March 3rd.

In that respect, a recent report by is an intriguing one. According to the hockey website, the Leafs are involved in serious discussions with the L.A. Kings and Colorado Avalanche.

“I always hesitate to talk about the Leafs and blockbuster trades in the same sentence, but too many are telling me the Leafs talks with both Colorado and LA have picked up and could include “several NHL pieces.” 

Dec 11, 2014; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Los Angeles Kings center Mike Richards (10) during warmup prior to game against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

The fact Nonis is in talks with the Kings is of particular interest. Of course, with no additional information at this stage, hockey analysts and fans alike are left to wonder which players could be involved in any potential blockbuster trade?

The one Kings player being mentioned most is Mike Richards, but would he help the Leafs? On the one hand, Toronto would love to have more depth and experience at the centre position.

However, the Richards they would be getting is not the one who used to be capable of scoring 60-80 points per season. Nowadays, the 2003 first round draft pick usually plays in the bottom six for Los Angeles.

On top of that, the 29-year old also has five years and $22 million remaining on his contact after this season. Would the Leafs be prepared to take on this kind of commitment?

Dec 6, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner (51) with the puck as Vancouver Canucks right wing Linden Vey (7) defends at Air Canada Centre. The Maple Leafs beat the Canucks 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

In any event, even if Nonis and company are interested in trading for Richards, who would they have to give up in return? The obvious choice would appear to be Jake Gardiner, on the surface at least.

As we reported recently, it is an open secret that Gardiner is available. Given that the defenceman is only five months into a five year $20.25 million contract, this could play a key part in any potential deal.

Gardiner has been plagued by inconsistency this season, which has in turn frustrated Randy Carlyle. However, his speed, puck skills and age make him a valuable trade commodity for Toronto.

As it stands, this trade makes little sense for the Leafs. Of course, with Hockey Buzz advising that several other pieces would be involved, we wait to see if Toronto does indeed become part of any blockbuster trade before the end of March 3rd.

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