Toronto Maple Leafs: How Jared McCann trade changes expansion draft plan

By trading for Jared McCann, the Toronto Maple Leafs take some precautions heading into the expansion draft while addressing a team need.

It was a chaotic day for movement around the NHL ahead of the 3:00 p.m. ET Saturday trade freeze and the Toronto Maple Leafs were right in the middle of it with the trade for Jared McCann.

On paper, there is a lot to like about this deal for the Leafs who get McCann at a $2.94-million salary-cap hit for the 2021-22 season. The 25-year-old provides the Leafs with a lot of versatility being about to play centre and left wing.

Many believe this is how Kyle Dubas plans to plan for the potential departure of Alexander Kerfoot if he is one of the players exposed in the expansion draft. We will find out Sunday whether or not Toronto has a deal in place to have Seattle take a particular player.

Jonas Siegel of The Athletic (subscription required) reports that the Leafs have a deal in place to send Kerfoot to Seattle. That would make the deal for McCann a nice piece of business.

At the same time, would it make sense for the Leafs to let an asset like Kerfoot go without getting anything in return? It’s not ideal but assuming Dubas values a defenceman like Justin Holl more, then we can see why Kerfoot is the likeliest player to be taken.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Jared McCann brings desirable versatility and depth

Losing John Tavares in the playoffs was not easy for the Toronto Maple Leafs and while Kerfoot did what he could to fill in, it wasn’t enough.

In his time with the Pittsburgh Penguins, McCann was called upon to fill in for either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin when they were out of the lineup. This sets up the Leafs in a better position than when they expected Kerfoot to replace Nazem Kadri.

Not only is McCann a good offensive player scoring 17 goals and 44 points last season, but he also isn’t a liability defensively. It’s certainly a nice start for the Leafs who will be looking to make many changes this off-season.

What are your thoughts on the McCann trade? Does this mean that Kerfoot will be exposed and taken by Seattle? Let us know in the comments below.