With the NHL trade deadline just over a month away, the Toronto Maple Leafs could be looking to make more improvements if they can find the right deal on the market.
The Toronto Maple Leafs find themselves in a tough situation ahead of the NHL trade deadline on Feb. 24, 2020.
With Morgan Rielly out for the next eight weeks, all eyes will be on general manager Kyle Dubas and whether he will attempt to swing another deal to address a couple of important areas. Last season, he made a big move acquiring Jake Muzzin in exchange for Carl Grundstrom, Sean Durzi and a first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft which was used to select defenceman Tobias Bjornfot.
It’s tough to expect the Leafs to be able to pull off a massive move given their salary cap crunch unless they are able to shed some salary which will mean moving a roster player. With Rielly and Muzzin on LTIR, the Leafs technically have enough space to add a player but once they are able to return, Toronto has to find a way to be cap compliant.
If either defenceman were returning right before the playoffs, the Leafs could go over the cap during the post-season like the Chicago Blackhawks did in 2015 when Patrick Kane fractured his clavicle.
Unfortunately, that’s not a scenario available to Toronto unless something else happens before the deadline (knock on wood) but that’s rather unlikely. At the time, Rasmus Sandin will get a chance to show what he can do.
Regardless, Sandin’s arrival might not be enough to shake the doubt surrounding the Leafs’ blue line which was already a concern before Rielly’s injury. Obviously once he and Muzzin expected to return, it might change Dubas’ approach slightly but that shouldn’t keep him from talking with other GMs.
With that in mind here are five players who have been connected to the Leafs in some way and we look at whether they would be a possible fit.