The Leafs played two games before the All-Star break and lost by a combined total of 6-1. That doesn’t give a whole lot of players to positively rank this week. Let’s assume Bernier was #1, Kadri was #2, and the rest of the team was tied at 20.
Instead of just ending the Power Rankings here, we’ll do something a little different this week and rank the top ten players the Leafs should be trading by the deadline. Deadline is underlined since there are other Leafs that might be worth moving, but don’t necessarily make as much sense as in season deals.
1. Leo Komarov
It’s not the first time I’ve made my argument for why Komarov needs to be traded, but it’s worth bringing up again. Komarov now has NHL All-Star on his resume, but he also has a disappointing January to his name. Komarov is likely to continue normalizing his production, and fall back into the role of good third line winger, potentially in season some great early numbers can still bury his typical output.
Considering that Komarov is almost a point per game player against Western Conference teams that might be the ideal landing spot for him. And while a 1st might not be possible anymore, a second and a prospect would still be worth giving up on Komarov, but anything less and the case is strong enough to keep him around
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) January 30, 2016
2. James Reimer
With Reimer leading the league in save percentage, it’s likely that there are teams that find Reimer as an affordable rental well worth pursuing. There are plenty of playoff bound teams that Reimer could be an upgrade for, and there are plenty of teams struggling to hold onto a spot that could use a strong 1B option for the last quarter of the season.
Given Reimer’s injury history, I’m reluctant to view him as a future, long term option for the Leafs, so it’s probably best to cash in the chips on him rather than let him walk on July 1st for nothing.
3. Roman Polak
After a couple of seasons of being annoyed by him whenever he sets foot on the ice, it’s time to radically change our tune on Roman and start viewing him as that depth defender that teams love when going on playoff runs. It’s likely going to be Calgary setting the price for stay at home defenders when they deal Kris Russel, but depending on the number of teams looking for his services, it’s not unrealistic for the Leafs to pick up a decent return for Polak either.
Polak’s right handed shot also makes him a bit of a rarity, and any injuries over the next month could make him increasingly valuable.
4. P.A. Parenteau
Parenteau’s offense this season, and his very affordable contract make him an easy sell at the trade deadline. Not many playoff teams would sweat spending a second round pick on him, though I can’t imagine too many teams are thinking of going much higher than that.
Parenteau might be a good, quick easy sell sooner rather than later, that might force teams to move onto other options, and many of those other options could be Leafs players.
5. Tyler Bozak
There’s no need to dissect the holes that exist in Bozak’s game, but we’ve at least seen on thing this year. Bozak can still put up offense without Kessel, and at $4.2M he’s not a huge cap hit for teams that could use another option at center.
Dealing that much salary might be easier in the off season, but few players with Bozak’s numbers will be available in season, and the Leafs aren’t shy about taking salary back. In fact, they have a ton of space for it.
6. Jonathan Bernier
Bernier’s been hot and cold, mainly cold this season, but the list of teams experiencing those problems with their goaltenders are growing everyday. In the event that James Reimer isn’t moved, Bernier could be an option for a change of address, as he’s certainly demonstrating that a change of scenery could be good for him.
With only one year left after this one, it gives his new club a relatively low risk opportunity to see if they can turn him around.
7. Brad Boyes
At $700k, Boyes is a veteran presence, and depth offense that teams can certainly use in the playoffs. He’s also the kind of player who can cheaply fill in for injured players as you don’t want to lose your spot in the standings down the stretch. Boyes isn’t going to get the Leafs a huge return, but he’s easily moved no matter how much the Leafs have been holding down his value by under utilizing him this season.
8. Matt Hunwick
Like I said with Polak, teams need defense. Hunwick’s played a lot this season, averaging well over 20 minutes night, and seeing plenty of penalty kill time. He’s a good fit for a team that wants depth, and the extra year on his deal is cheap enough that no one is going to sweat over him not being a true rental.
9. T.J. Brennan
Technically not a Leaf, but Brennan could be a player that draws some attention at the deadline. Leading the AHL in scoring as a defenseman is impressive, and there aren’t going to be a lot of good, cheap, offensive defensemen available between now and the deadline. It seems foolish that someone wouldn’t take a chance on T.J. for their bottom pairing.
10. Mark Arcobello
With all due respect to other UFAs, Nick Spaling, Michael Grabner, and Shawn Matthias, my money is on Arcobello being moved ahead of them. They all carry more salary than Arcobello, and their numbers haven’t been significant enough to warrant a lot of interest. That being said, if the Leafs have the opportunity to retain salary on those players, one of them will be out the door.
As for Arcobello, being moved is a part of who he is, so you have to assume that at the deadline the Leafs will fish for a late pick for him.