With the deadline now just a week away, we’re going to see almost-daily updates about which teams are circling each other and what names are out there from the teams selling off. And given Toronto’s position as a legitimate contender, they certainly fall into a potential buyer category; It’s just unclear about how big they want to go with a trade before next Monday afternoon.
Either way, as the dots get connected, we’ll piece things together and try to provide updates as they happen with regards to what the Leafs might do, and who they’re looking at. Today there’s been a good increase in rumbling about Toronto and New York locking up for a deal. And according to multiple sources over the last couple weeks, that could center around a minor deal for defenceman Adam McQuaid, a player that fans on the Leafs side will know well from the team’s history against the Bruins in the playoffs.
Rick Carpiniello of The Athletic in NYC notes that McQuaid, a right-handed depth back who brings back a bit of a Roman Polak element (…groan), could be a fit for Toronto, and speculates on the potential asking price:
McQuaid, who cost the Rangers a fourth-rounder when they got him from Boston in September, has drawn interest from Toronto, which still needs defensemen, and other contenders would love to add a guy with grit, experience and a Stanley Cup ring, especially one with a reputation as a good teammate. So the Rangers expect to recoup at least what they gave up for McQuaid, but likely would get a third
The national coverage here in Canada is starting to get in on the spit-balling on these two teams as well, with both Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger of TSN making the rounds today to mention them, and McQuaid specifically again.
From Chris Nichols’ transcript of McKenzie on TSN1050 Leafs Lunch:
I mentioned (Nick) Jensen just in a hypothetical sense of the lower-case guy, (for the Leafs)…I wonder if Adam McQuaid is another guy that would be like that with the New York Rangers. Real hard rock, more of a depth defenceman, more of a 5-6-7, but brings an element that the Leafs and other teams look for at the deadline. There’s no question in my mind that the Rangers are going to trade him… I think the Rangers believe if they can get a 4th and a 7th for Adam McQuaid, or anything better than that, then they’re going to trade him because he’s on an expiring contract and they’re a rebuilding hockey team.
This isn’t the type of news that’s going to put a lot of fans’ minds at ease, since McQuaid has been a relative disaster in the run of play this season to the tune of 44% shot-attempts for when he’s on the ice. But if Toronto’s management see something in his game they feel they need again for the playoffs, I suppose they could make a play for him if the price is a late-round pick. Still, we just got over Babcock running Polak out there for 22 minutes a night, do we have to go back to that already? It makes you wonder what the coaching staff and front office are talking about in terms of potential adds next week, and what sort of agreements or disagreements they could be having over team needs. For my money, McQuaid certainly doesn’t represent one.