While neither has specifically asked for a trade, per se, three members of the Toronto Maple Leafs organization are seemingly on the lookout for new homes in the New Year.
As reported by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman in his “31 Thoughts” column this week, Jeremy Bracco, Dmytro Timashov and Ben Harpur have reportedly each asked Leafs management to gauge who could use their services on the trade market, therein hinting at some frustration over their respective current roles.
For Bracco and Harpur, this is relatively understandable.
Bracco finished second in the entire AHL last season in points and has established himself as arguably the most gifted passer in the Leafs organization. He had one of the most prolific offensive seasons for a 22-year-old in AHL history in 2018-19 and became a dominant force on a terrific power play. And yet, as the Maple Leafs have continued to experience horrific injury luck this season, Bracco’s name has been passed over for a promotion time and time again — save for a brief emergency recall that ultimately only netted him a day or so of NHL wages.
If the Leafs aren’t keen on using his services, it’s not a shock that the 23-year-old former second-round pick would want a fresh start somewhere else.
Harpur, on the other hand, played in the NHL for the entirety of last season, logging 51 games with the Ottawa Senators. This year, a dismal preseason has left him stuck in the AHL. Him wanting to regain his status at hockey’s highest level is not a shock.
The thing about Harpur, though, is that he is not exactly the most gifted hockey player. In fact, many in the analytics community deemed him as one of the worst regular NHLers in 2018-19. Harpur’s 24 games with the Marlies this season have not exactly been revolutionary either, with the 24-year-old racking up just seven points. Nevertheless, this is the National Hockey League, and teams are seemingly in dire need of hulking, bad defencemen all the time. If the Leafs can net an asset of any kind for a player they are clearly never going to use, then that’s a win.
Timashov’s sort-of-but-not-really trade request is the most peculiar of all, however.
The 23-year-old was a surprise survivor of the Leafs’ final round of cuts out of training camp this year and has played in 28 of the team’s 40 games thus far. The fact that he’s even in the NHL at all, frankly, is something the vast, vast majority of fans and media alike did not see coming. Not to mention, Timashov has played pretty well. He’s seemingly the ideal fourth-line checking winger in a Sheldon Keefe system, and sits with a decent eight points — given his scant ice time.
If Timashov’s in the market for a bigger role out there, he may very well find it. But if he thinks that role will be on a contender, he might be in for a bad time.
Either way, there’s a good chance that Kyle Dubas will be as busy as ever over the next few weeks. Whether or not he grants these requests remains to be seen.