Friedman Speculates on Jujhar Kharia to the Leafs, and the Joe Thornton rumours won’t go away

Rumours aren’t going anywhere. And much like those of us on this site, insiders know that you can get a lot of eyes on their coverage by connecting the Leafs to players. Are we going to stop covering it? No. Are they going to stop with Leafs rumours? No. I just thought at some point being up front about the grain of salt required on any and all things we hear was a good idea.

Anyway, here is rumour #1…

Khaira has been connected to the Leafs for as long as he’s been in the league. Though he is wildly inconsistent, at his best he can be a strong complimentary player anywhere in the bottom six forward group, and he certainly adds a lot of toughness people say the Leafs need. The bonus is that he can play hockey when he wants to, as well. There isn’t going to be much of a price tag on him, so I’m intrigued if anything comes of this.

The Joe Thornton rumours are also alive and kicking, and while Boston appears to be loading up, there is no doubt that Toronto wants good locker room guys who can play hockey too. The local factor probably appeals to a lot of people, as does the fact that Thornton doing a lap through Toronto on his way to the Hall of Fame would warm many hearts.

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Getting into a bidding war on Thornton doesn’t seem like a good idea, and it’s hard to gauge what a price might be, as the Leafs would be paying more for his intangibles than his 25 points in 60 games (2 of which were goals.)

Finally, the TSN Trade Bait Board has once again been updated with Tyson Barrie skyrocketing to number 5 on their list. Alex Kerfoot and Kasperi Kapanen have slid back to 27th and 28th on the 50 player list. Again, grains of salt are required here.

Here’s the breakdown on Leafs needs by Frank Seravalli:

Barrie’s availability should not be viewed as a sell-off prior to the deadline. Far from it. In exchange for Barrie, who is unlikely to re-sign in Toronto, the Leafs would like to trade for another right-shooting defenceman who might be a better fit. Or, perhaps more likely, they could trade Barrie to get back currency (first-round pick, prospects) that would then be flipped for that defensive presence they’ve coveted. The Leafs have also been linked to discussions about Namestnikov, but whatever urgency might have existed to fill that need may have dissipated with the addition of Denis Malgin from Florida earlier in the week.

So, yeah, what the story has been all along. Right shooting D at all costs. It’s a shame to think that the Leafs would be out on Namestnikov, but if the price is too high it might be better to loop back around to him this summer in free agency.

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I’d expect a lot more Leafs related rumours in the next couple of days, but there are a few important things to keep an eye on. Whether or not the Leafs scratch anyone from tomorrow night’s game is one. The other key thing to watch for will be the Sunday waivers wire, as the Leafs might be looking to clear salary or roster space prior to the Monday deadline.