The Toronto Maple Leafs are doing a heck of a job shedding names that they don’t see in their long-term plans this month; be it the long-term contract of Dion Phaneuf, or the short-term mercenaries like Shawn Matthias, Roman Polak, and Nick Spaling. But what if they started looking at even bigger moves?
Enter Elliotte Friedman, who came in with an interesting nugget this afternoon.
The great thing about AMA sessions on Reddit, to me, is that they feel just a little bit more relaxed than traditional media or even competing social platforms like Twitter or Facebook. We certainly had a lot of fun when we did ours, but hey, Friedman is one of the biggest in the business. It’s great to see him open up a bit, but nothing was more interesting to Leafs fans than this bombshell in response to a St. Louis Blues Fan.
“Spoke to Doug Armstrong this morning.” said the Sportsnet Insider, under the super-sleuthy pseudonym of /u/Elliotte_Friedman. “He won’t hide Steen on the injury list until playoffs like CHI did with Patrick Kane. He said when Steen is ready to play, he will play…same with Steve Ott. So, he’s tight to the cap…I’d be very curious to see Kadri in a STL uniform.”
It’s hard to pinpoint how shocking a move to St. Louis would be for Kadri. On one hand, the 25-year-old centre has been arguably the Leafs’ best player this year, and had both driven play and produced at even strength despite awful puck luck and a limited supporting cast; you would think he’d be a shoe-in to stick around for at least a little while longer.
With that said, the Leafs have several directions that they could go down the middle. William Nylander is making a mockery of the American Hockey League, and Mitch Marner has proven capable of playing at either centre or the wing. Big names such as Steven Stamkos (free agency) and Auston Matthews (draft) are far from guarantees, but certainly not out of the realm of possibility. If the Leafs were able to stock up on even more mid-to-high tier prospects and draft picks than they already have, it would certainly increase their odds at having young, skilled talent in the later stages of their rebuild plan.
Friedman addressed Kadri’s long-term place in the organization as well. “The tough thing about Kadri is TOR’s really talked him up this season. They really talked up Phaneuf, too, and moved him. So, we’re not sure what it all means. Lou Lamoriello once told me, “if you have time, use it.” They have time with Kadri. If he gets dealt, it’s because they get something they really want.”
A best case scenario in terms of acquisitions would likely see Kadri go back to being limited in his ice time; not due to his own faults, but due to internal and external assets overtaking him. If confidence in that scenario is high, now would likely be the right time to move him. Besides, if the Blues are legitimately interested, their up-tempo style of play seems like a great fit for him.
Outside of this bit of speculation, Friedman did have a couple of other minor tidbits, such as a comment on PA Parenteau’s willingness to come back if traded, and that the team could trade, well, just about anyone.