We’ve been getting mixed signals about how the Leafs might act at this trade deadline, but with the Brian Boyle deal completed on Monday afternoon, it seems the idea of this being a boring day could go out the window.
While we obviously don’t expect major shake-ups with any of the core, there are still some options Toronto has set themselves up to take a look at, mainly due to opening up a boatload of cap space via Robidas Island.
As Chris Johnston of Sportsnet pointed out just after the Boyle deal, Lamoriello certainly doesn’t appear to be finished working the phones:
“Lou Lamoriello quite notably didn’t speak to reporters after the Brian Boyle deal – a sign to me that he is working on some other things. And the important aspect to remember here with the Toronto Maple Leafs is that they still have, after the Boyle deal, as much as 16-million in cap space, and at this deadline they can use that to get a contract from another team that they don’t want while the Leafs maybe add back some of the draft picks… They’re kind of both buying and selling at the same time. There’s a lot of irons in the fire, and the Maple Leafs want to make more moves. “
Hearing TOR would like to do more. Curious to see if TOR can use cap space/LTIR cushion to take on contract and get premium for doing so.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 28, 2017
It seems these sources are singing the same tune. The Leafs are looking to get creative with their cap space, and that could mean another club unloading futures in order to rid themselves of some inflated cap hits that can’t hit their value.
For the sake of throwing examples out there, someone like Rick Nash, with an $8.0-million AAV tag through next season, could probably fit that bill. If you’re looking for a player that represents a longer term salary problem, the Kings are apparently trying hard to move out Marian Gaborik, but it’s difficult to see how the Leafs could make that work without a ton more assets from Los Angeles. He’s signed until 2021.
Either way, it looks like the Leafs have opened up shop to an extent, and made it clear that they’re willing to use cap space to help out teams that need the relief, but at a likely price of prospects and picks. Whether anyone is desperate enough to actually make a deal remains to be seen, but at least we’ll have our answer by 3 p.m. Keep in mind the salary cap will not increase next season.