Are you happy with the deals so far?
Justin Fisher: I think the Leafs have done an excellent job so far leading up to the deadline, and that was before they miraculously managed to unload David Clarkson. I have nothing against the guy, but it’s obvious he wasn’t playing well here and that his contract was an unbelievably painful burden to a cap team like Toronto. They Leafs have added a first, second and fourth round pick as well as prospect Brendan Leipsic for three pending free agents. You can’t really do much better than that.
Jon Steitzer: I am as happy as I can be by Leafs trades in the middle of a tear down. Clarkson is gone. The biggest mistake has been corrected, this is a beautiful thing. The Sekera return was much nicer than what Franson/Santorelli returned, but I’m still happy. As much as I’d love for the pick in the Winnik deal to be a 2015 2nd, I like next year’s draft too. If I have a complaint it’s that the Leafs retained salary on Winnik meaning they can only do one more salary retention deal this season.
Ryan Fancey: I really couldn’t be happier with the deals they’ve made so far. If you look at Sill and Jokinen as pure throw-ins who have no bearing on the future, which they are, then the Leafs basically dealt three expiring contracts for a 1st rounder, 2nd rounder, 4th rounder, and a solid prospect in Leipsic. Just plainly smart moves for a team committed to rebuilding. On top of that, they’ve now moved out the worst contract in NHL history and gain a ton more cap flexibility going forward, at least in-season. I’m excited to see how this management group (not including Dave Sherman Nonis) continues to handle the big deals down the road
Will the Leafs trade Tyler Bozak?
Justin Fisher: I’m torn. I think could be as high as a 50-50 chance. I wrote about how the New York Rangers have interest in Bozak the other day, and that whole situation just seems to make a bunch of sense for both teams. Say what you will, but you could do worse than Stepan-Brassard-Bozak down the middle. If not New York, I don’t know who else would step up, but I’d say there’s definitely a chance Bozak is gone by Monday.
Jon Steitzer: By the deadline, I have my doubts, but if there is any kind of market at all they should make it work. Trading Bozak gives them a lot of flexibility with the cap in the off season and might signal to other veterans that it’s time to leave.
Ryan Fancey: I think they’ll try, but won’t be able to get it done by the deadline. These deals with bigger dollars and term involved are harder to execute around the deadline unless Columbus hands you a get out of jail free card. Bozak is a questionable asset, and though the Leafs were able to pull off a miracle in the Clarkson trade, they won’t be able to approach the Bozak situation the same way.
Will the Leafs trade Joffrey Lupul?
Justin Fisher: Let’s put it this way – if Bozak doesn’t go, Lupul will. There’s smoke here, so there’s got to be some fire. Lupul is solid scoring winger when healthy (I know, I know) and could help a team in the playoffs; especially one in the wide open East that’s desperate to make some noise. Washington is said to be interested, and looking for a winger to ride shotgun with Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin. I don’t think the Leafs will be able to unload both Bozak and Lupul, but I believe one of them is going.
Jon Steitzer: Nope, Lupul is probably staying. An expensive injury prone player beyond this season isn’t as attractive as Joffrey’s piercing eyes. Clarkson being moved also takes the urgency off moving Lupul.
Ryan Fancey: Again, I think they’re going to try to move him out but the same rules as above apply here. It’s tough for a team to make this sort of decision in-season, and even more difficult given Lupul is just returning from injury, again. Maybe a draft day deal.
Will the Leafs trade Roman Polak?
Justin Fisher: Yes. Everyone is looking for defensive depth and I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody steps up with that 2015 second round pick that the Leafs really need. Montreal still owns their second round pick. Tampa Bay has two of them. Just saying.
Jon Steitzer: Yes, because you’d have to be fools not to. The early movement on defensive rentals is going to inflate the market for cheaper players with limited term beyond this season. Polak is the kind of player people are certain make a difference in a playoff series, so now is the time to sell and they will.
Ryan Fancey: Out of the roster players with that have been identified as trade targets for a while, Polak likely has the best chance to be moved. His contract only goes to 2016 and his cap-hit is relatively friendly, plus he’s been able to stay healthy and isn’t as much of an unknown commodity like Lupul and Bozak.
How many more trades will the Leafs make?
Justin Fisher: Four. Yeah, I’m insane, but I’m calling it. Polak, Holzer, Jokinen and one of Bozak or Lupul. I don’t know who’s actually going to play hockey for the Toronto Maple Leafs after the deadline. I don’t care, either.
Jon Steitzer: The fact that the Leafs have already done so much, I’d have to believe they will push to remain as active as possible in the next few days. In addition to Bozak and Polak, I’d assume that Jokinen, Holzer, a goaltender and possibly Marlies filler could be on the move. I’m going with optimism and saying we’ll see three more deals.
Ryan Fancey: My prediction would be that the Leafs get two more deals done before the deadline passes. I think we might see Jokinen or Polak get moved out, and beyond that perhaps a minor deal involving someone like Holzer.