Toronto Maple Leafs reportedly interested in Luke Glendening

According to TSN, the Toronto Maple Leafs are kicking the tires on Luke Glendening, one of Mike Babcock’s favourite players from his time in Detroit.

Jake Muzzin might be on board, but the Toronto Maple Leafs are still looking for ways to improve the roster. With the trade deadline still just over two weeks away, you can expect lots of speculation along the way.

In this respect, the Leafs have now been linked with Luke Glendening. The report comes courtesy of TSN‘s Frank Seravalli.

Seravalli writes that the Leafs have been kicking the tires on Glendening, who was one of Mike Babcock’s favourite players from his time with the Red Wings. The two spent a couple of seasons working together in Detroit.

Given Babcock’s liking for the 29-year-old, it comes as no surprise he would want the team to trade for him. In fact, this is not the first time the Leafs have shown interest in the player.

Certainly, there is a lot to like about Glendening. He’s versatile, renowned for his work ethic, has excellent defensive skills and is good on the penalty kill.

The centre would be a superb addition as a bottom-six forward. He is not far off his career-best 58% faceoff win percentage from last season (56.1 percent entering Sunday’s action) and would provide outstanding leadership both on and off the ice.

Glendening’s offensive ability is somewhat limited. However,  even here he is well on course for the best points total of his six-year career in the NHL. (He is also set to have career highs in blocks, hits and plus/minus rating.)

The question is, what would it take for the Leafs to acquire the East Grand Rapids, Michigan native? Last season, it was believed a second round draft pick was the asking price, whereas this season — according to Seravalli — that would now only be a starting point.

If true, the Red Wings need to consider the reality that Glendening’s contract would be an issue for the Leafs. While a cap hit of $1.8 million sounds reasonable enough, it is still too much for the Leafs, given their pending issues with the salary cap after this season.

With the University of Michigan graduate still having two years remaining on his contract after 2018-19, how do you get around this? Seravalli suggests the Leafs should attempt to entice the Red Wings to retain half of his salary.

However, in order to do this, Toronto would likely have to offer another draft pick in addition to a second rounder. This would mean finding the right balance between going along a similar route as the Raptors, i.e. being all-in, and continuing to think about the long term.

As things stand, we would predict Glendening won’t end up being trading to the Leafs, although there would be no issue with being wrong in this matter. Regardless, it should prove to be an interesting time in Toronto between now and 3:00 pm ET on Feb. 25.

What is your opinion of the apparent interest in Glendening? Do you believe he would be a good fit for the Toronto Maple Leafs? If so, what would you be prepared to give up for him? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.