Toronto Maple Leafs should avoid rental market ahead of trade deadline

John Lilley, Kyle Dubas and Brendan Shanahan of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
John Lilley, Kyle Dubas and Brendan Shanahan of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas said that if the team is going to acquire players it probably won’t be a rental which would be a different approach from past seasons.

The past two seasons the Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t been major players at the trade deadline but that could change given their position as contenders.

General manager Kyle Dubas has shown that he’ll go after a big name with the John Tavares signing but when it comes to trades, don’t expect him to be a big player in the rental market at the trade deadline. He spoke recently about his desire to add players with term rather than bring in someone for the playoff run.

Over the past couple of seasons, the Leafs biggest trade deadline acquisitions have been Brian Boyle and Tomas Plekanec, players who were not retained and the Leafs spent a total of two second-round picks, Byron Froese, Rinat Valiev and Kerby Rychel. That’s not a lot of assets to give up but the Leafs didn’t exactly get a game-changing player.

If the Leafs want to get an upgrade that will have more of an impact then the cost will be higher especially if they want to get a player that isn’t on an expiring deal. This is probably the better route considering many contenders face give up a lot of their draft pick/prospect capital and don’t have much to show for it.

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The Tampa Bay Lightning did this last season when they acquired Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller from the New York Rangers for Vladislav Namestnikov, a 2018 first-round pick, a conditional second-round pick in 2019, and two prospects in Libor Hajek and Brett Howden.

Where the Lightning did well in this trade was also signing both McDonagh and Miller to long-term deals and this is the kind of strategy the Leafs should try to employ. Obviously, the name a lot of people have been seeing is Alex Pietrangelo which is understandable considering he is a bonafide top defenceman that is reportedly being made available. 

The attractive part about a defenceman like Pietrangelo is the fact that he’s signed for another season at $6.5 million which gives the Leafs some certainty for next season if they decide not to retain Jake Gardiner. Another name who is a possibility is Colton Parayko who has three more years left on his current deal at $5.5 million.

What it comes down to in the end is what Dubas is willing to part with to make a deal because there’s no way the Leafs can expect to compete with the blue line they have right now and the past five games have shown that.

So if Dubas decides to make a deal don’t expect him to look at a player on an expiring deal which could mean a bigger trade than what Leafs fans have come to expect.

dark. Next. Don’t expect the offer sheet discussion to stop

What are your thoughts on the Leafs trade deadline approach? Who would be the ideal trade target? Let us know in the comments below.