Toronto Maple Leafs: Ryan McDonagh’s name resurfaces on trade radar

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 23: Nazem Kadri
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 23: Nazem Kadri /

As the New York Rangers prepare to unload players at the trade deadline, the Toronto Maple Leafs are once again linked to defenceman Ryan McDonagh.

First it was Chris Tanev, now it appears the Toronto Maple Leafs have another defenceman in their sights according to TSN insider Darren Dreger.

The New York Rangers made it no secret their focus will be on improving their team down the road, which means that Ryan McDonagh’s time in the Big Apple could be coming to an end. Now while nothing is imminent, the lack of quality options on the rental market makes McDonagh an intriguing option for a contender.

How do the Leafs fit into this? Well, if the 28-year-old was right-handed shot then he would be the ideal trade candidate, but that is not the case. Now just because he shoots on the left side, it does not make McDonagh a bad fit for the Leafs.

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Ron Hainsey has been effective in his role despite playing on his offside and Morgan Rielly is also capable of doing the same. The issue with going after McDonagh is that he is not a priority for New York to move right now.

The team is hoping to get a fair deal for pending free agent forwards Rick Nash and Michael Grabner. So as Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports, teams might have to wait until the draft to make a deal for McDonagh.

At this point all the Leafs can do is gauge the asking price and decide whether they want to jump in and made a deal before the trade deadline or wait until after the season. It might make more sense to stand pat at the deadline and if things do not work out in the playoffs, then the team can address the blueline.

At this point teams will be asking for players like Connor Brown, Kasperi Kapanen, Travis Dermott and Timothy Liljegren in any deals for an upgrade on the blueline.

The Leafs would be better off trying to trade players like Josh Leivo and Connor Carrick, who are not getting the consistent playing time. They also have some draft picks that can be packaged with either player to get a deal done.

While that won’t be enough to get a deal done for a major upgrade, there is no sense in limiting your window to compete for a player that might be around for a limited window.

Sure the Leafs went out and signed Patrick Marleau to a three-year deal, which showed they want to take things to the next level. However, that was a free agent signing that did not cost the team any assets. Management has been consistent about this and it is hard to see that changing.

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Do you think the Leafs should try and acquire McDonagh at the deadline, or stay the course and wait until the offseason to make a move? Let us know in the comments.