The rumors are flying faster then ever now. Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli have already bitten the dust. With less than a week to go before trade deadline day, here’s a full breakdown of the Leafs that might get traded between now and March 2nd:
This is the most obvious one. Winnik has been a great bang-for-your-buck signing for the Leafs this season. Unfortunately for us Leaf fans who have enjoyed him so much, Winnik is a victim of circumstance. He’s a 29-year-old carrying a cheap cap hit that’s set to be a free agent this summer. And when you’re a team looking to rebuild, these are the sort of assets that can help you get younger. TSN Insider Darren Dreger has set the likelihood of Winnik being traded by the deadline at 100%, so unless he gets injured he’s a goner. Pierre LeBrun believes Winnipeg and Pittsburgh are two teams with interest in the versatile winger.
Speculation has risen of late that the oft-injured Lupul could be moved
in the next week. While a questionable source believes Lupul will be
gone within the week, credible insider Elliott Friedman notes teams like
Montreal, Pittsburgh, and Boston have interest. Darren Dreger believes has a 60% chance of being moved by March 2. Like
Bozak, Lupul still has term left on his deal. And of course, his
injury issues won’t help his value. That said, Lupul is still
productive when healthy and could be a consideration for a team
desperate for top-six help.
Coming as somewhat of a surprise to Leaf fans who seem to have grown numb to the organization’s continually high praise of the overused center, it appears the team is actually preparing to part ways with the maligned Bozak. Dreger set the likelihood of him being moved by the deadline at 60%. That may be a bit exaggerated, but it does look like the team will move on from Bozak sooner than later. Other insiders such as Damien Cox have speculated on the future of Bozak and seems to believe the organization is pushing him out the door. Carrying a $4.2 million cap hit for three more seasons past this one, Bozak will be trickier to move than a guy like Winnik. That said, while over-utilized Bozak does provide some value. He may not move this winter but it does appear his days in Toronto are numbered.
Polak hasn’t been mentioned in the rumor mill until recently. That in itself comes as some surprise: Polak is a serviceable depth defender that carries a $2.750 million cap hit this season and next. It is believed the Los Angeles Kings are among the teams interested in acquiring the Czech blueliner’s services. Polak might not be moved in the next week, but he will probably move within the next year.
Salary cap restrictions make it unlikely that a player carrying an $8 million cap hit for seven seasons beyond this one will get moved midseason. When salary cap situations become more flexible in the summer though you can expect there’s a decent chance Kessel gets moved. Until then, his chances of being moved in the next week are slim at best. The Florida Panthers are among those interested in acquiring the star winger.
The Finnish veteran wasn’t happy when he first heard the news he had been traded from Nashville to Toronto, but he’s since tried to make the best of an unideal situation. Jokinen has struggled this season, putting up meager point totals while receiving sparse ice-time. He’s played alright in his short Toronto stint and he’s been a productive player in the past, and his veteran experience could be valuable to someone. It helps of course that he can play down the middle. A pending free agent, Jokinen has a decent chance of being traded. Don’t expect the return to be very good though.
The Leafs would apparently like to move the pending free agent. He carries a minuscule cap hit (787k) which is probably his most redeeming feature. He hasn’t played very well in his time up with the Leafs over the years, but he has played well enough that he might be a consideration for a team desperate for defense depth. The Leafs would likely be happy to get any sort of return for Holzer, even if it’s just a more useful minor league player or a conditional draft pick. If the Leafs can find a suitor, expect them to pull the trigger. Darren Dreger believes he has an 85% chance of being moved.
I’d file this one under the “highly unlikely” category. That said, his name has popped up sparingly in the rumor mill. Bernier is a good goaltender with a lot of hockey left in him, so the Leafs could certainly get something of value for their starting netminder. That said, he’s, well, the team’s starting netminder. At some point down the line maybe you move him but even if the team is going to start a rebuild I don’t think Bernier is someone high on their priority list to ship out of town. If Bernier is moved by the trade deadline I’ll be surprised.