In the last 24-hours there has been increasing talk of the Leafs looking to move out Joffrey Lupul before the trade deadline passes next Monday. It’s a little surprising, given he’s only recently returned from another injury and isn’t a rental, but that isn’t scaring teams too much, and it appears there’s now a real possibility of him being dealt.
Elliotte Friedman joined Sportsnet 960 in Calgary this morning and weighed in on which teams might look to make a pitch for the productive winger.
“The Maple Leafs are in a position where they’re trying to collect picks and assets as much as they possibly can, and Lupul is going to be in that conversation. I believe Pittsburgh is in on this. It’s not easy for the Penguins…but they have some young pieces that would definitely interest Toronto, particularly on defence. Montreal, I wonder if they’re back into it. They’re still looking for some size in some wingers. And one of the teams I wonder, if, they’re kind of involved in a stealth way – because they’d need to clear some cap room to get it done – is Boston”
To add to the Montreal name-drop, Friedman indicated that the Canadiens were kicking tires on Lupul as far back as last season’s deadline.
Somewhat similar to the Bozak situation, this is an opportunity for the Leafs to ship out an expensive cap number they really don’t need going forward. That isn’t a knock on Lupul, as he’s been productive whenever he’s been in the lineup and doesn’t count toward the cap when he isn’t, but neither his age or salary allow the Leafs much flexibility in their planned rebuild.
It isn’t easy to speculate on a return, but again we’re likely talking futures in the way of prospects or draft picks. Whether that’s adding another selection in the top-30 is yet to be seen, but the big deal here would be the money saved on a declining asset.