With the NHL trade deadline approaching, it’s uncertain whether Kyle Dubas and the Toronto Maple Leafs will be busy.
Kyle Dubas has cap space available to him if he chooses to use it and with a week until the NHL trade deadline, the clock is ticking on the Toronto Maple Leafs general manager to decide what his approach will be.
For the sake of excitement and intrigue heading into Feb. 24, the Leafs should remain invested in making the team better but we know that Dubas isn’t interested in trading assets without some assurance that they are getting more than a rental player.
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That is the complicated part to all of this, while Dubas can have all the intention to make a trade, he needs a willing partner much like he did when he acquired Jack Campbell and Kyle Clifford. Of course, the next item on the checklist if the blue line.
Head coach Sheldon Keefe pointed out following the team’s loss to the Buffalo Sabres that the team’s injuries are taking their toll on the team’s recent stretch especially with some players dealing with an illness. Of course, contending teams find a way to succeed with the adversity which seems to be the challenge Keefe is trying to overcome with this group.
Dubas can certainly provide some relief if he were to make a deal to but it would still be early to consider that unless another injury forces his hand. The other thing to remember is that most of the players currently out of the lineup are expected to return as well.
An obvious question that’s been debated lately is whether the Leafs would be willing to hold Morgan Rielly, Cody Ceci and Andreas Johnsson out until the playoffs? If they do it would open up some possibilities but that brings us to our original dilemma of whether Dubas is willing to trade for a rental?
This is why Dubas made it a point to re-sign Alexander Kerfoot after acquiring him, not only does it maximize the return for Nazem Kadri by having one piece around past this season but it also gives the Leafs options to consider too.
While people will complain about what the Leafs got back for Kadri, that deal is done but there is still a way to try and turn it into something else. We have heard that teams have inquired about Johnsson, Kasperi Kapanen along with Kerfoot which makes sense since the Leafs want a player that can move the needle according to Dubas.
That can only happen if the team is willing to move players with term on their contract and all three listed above meet the criteria. At the same time, Dubas can also consider some smaller depth moves especially to help the penalty kill but that shouldn’t cost the Leafs anything significant.
It’s tough to gauge who those players are considering Matt Dumba, one of the top targets, isn’t a slam dunk to be moved considering Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin still envisions the team competing for the playoffs despite trading Jason Zucker.
Looking at the recent trade for Blake Coleman which cost the Tampa Bay Lightning Nolan Foote and a first-round pick, the Leafs certainly have to be cautious.
What should be the priority for the Leafs heading into the trade deadline? What would you be comfortable giving up in return? Let us know in the comments below.