So this morning we used the following tweet as an excuse for profiling the Detroit Red Wings:
3 scouts from Toronto credentialed in Detroit tonight for Red Wings-Blackhawks
— Max Bultman (@m_bultman) February 21, 2019
Now we’re gonna flip it on you and take a look at the Chicago Blackhawks for the same reason.
Chicago isn’t the cap crunched team starved for trades like they used to be, but they also aren’t a good team like they used to be either. It stands to reason they are going to try and force some trades in an attempt to see if they can put together a quick retooling for a chance to be competitive with Toews and Kane one last time.
Who the Leafs Would Want
Remember back when Brandon Saad was considered better than Auston Matthews? No. Well there was that one guy who thought so, but he’s gone so we’ll move on.
Anyways, the point is that Saad is expensive and underperforming, and the Leafs probably shouldn’t want him, unless they are unloading bad contracts the other way.
The same can probably be said about Artem Anisimov, and that is likely the entirety of the available forwards.
On defense, it’s probably a similar tale, and would need to be a bad contract for bad contract situation involving Connor Murphy, and the Leafs should absolutely not be considering paying a premium for Duncan Keith.
This is pretty much just seeing if Marcus Kruger is available for pennies on the dollar. If an AHL prospect gets the Leafs a little forward depth and somehow it doesn’t push them into bonus overages, cool. Look at Marcus Kruger. Beyond that the options are Chris Kunitz and Cam Ward, and both those players are a good reason for highlighting Marcus Kruger instead.
I guess what you could say is that the Leafs were definitely scouting the Red Wings and not the Blackhawks.
If the Leafs were wanting to pursue some additional goaltending depth, Toronto could do a lot worse than Anton Forsberg, an arbitration eligible restricted free agent who is already in the AHL and wouldn’t require waivers to move over to the Marlies. It’s not likely that he’d have much impact on the Leafs this year, but he might be a possible contender for Marlies starting gig/Leafs backup next season if they want to test drive him. Yep, that’s how little I value what the Blackhawks have to offer, we’re talking fourth string goaltenders.
What the Hawks Want
Who cares, they’ve got their choice between Nikita Zaitsev and Nikita Zaitsev.
Honestly, I don’t think there’s a worthwhile deal to be made, but I’m sure the Hawks can pooper scoop their way through the Gagne, Carcone, and Brooks level of AHL upside prospects at best.
The Hawks are one of the teams of intrigue for Zaitsev and little more beyond that. Certainly not at the cost of the Leafs taking on Brent Seabrook, who may have the worst contract in the league at the moment, but Anisimov, Saad, and Connor Murphy are all options, and Zaitsev would be an upgrade over Murphy, who the Leafs would likely choose to buyout at season’s end.
Given that insiders are putting in work to torch my dreams of Zaitsev being dealt, perhaps I shouldn’t hold my breath.
Likelihood of a trade
Pretty close to nil. (This guarantees the opposite now, I’m sure.) I can’t wrap my head around these two teams finding much to do beyond shuffling AHLers back and forth, and that doesn’t count, no offense to Peter Holland. The Hawks don’t even hold much appeal for the Leafs beyond the trade deadline either and like the Coyotes, they are one of the sellers the Leafs can actively ignore.