Taking a look at the trades you want the Leafs to make

Here at TLN we’re all about keeping it fresh, and that’s why we thought we’d mix things up a little and rather than look for questions, we decided to ask for some trade proposals for us to evaluate this week. We received so many trade proposals that we’ll likely be splitting the mailbag in two, and addressing some more of the trade proposals later this week.

The lesson that should have been evident even before this exercise is that trade proposals are inherently bad. We go into them addressing the Leafs needs, the Leafs cap situation, and with our own ideas for what comes next. So naturally we are as harsh on your proposals as you are on ours when we post our speculation articles. So without further adieu, here’s what we received…

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Brian: This honestly feels like a move that makes sense for both teams that neither team would do. Value doesn’t feel too far off, but I don’t think the Leafs are eager to trade a 30 goal scorer to their closest division rival (who are already quite deep offensively,) and I the Bruins are probably even less eager to help the Leafs patch up their most glaring weakness after two close playoff series in recent memory.

Michael: While this seems like a deal that could make some sense, I just don’t see it happening because the Bruins value Charlie McAvoy a lot and view him as the face of their blueline for years to come. I can’t imagine Boston would be so willing to give up on him to acquire Toronto’s fourth best forward unless they were also getting back defensive help. The Leafs would need to add on more assets to make this trade go through.

Earl: McAvoy is a good player on a great (short term) contract that expires RFA and suits the Leafs needs positionally. That’s all the good things I feel comfortable saying about a Bruin. This trade makes sense for the Bruins in the sense that it’s a big win for them, but they’ve already traded assets for wing depth like Kase and Ritchie. Their blue line would have a gaping hole after Carlo on the right side, and who knows if 44 year old Zdeno Chara will be effective or on the blue line or there at all. Krug will be UFA, and I doubt they can keep him after the addition cap taken in this trade. The reunion of Nylander and Pasta would be nice, if you hate the Leafs.

Scott: I love my boy Willy, but honestly, McAvoy is one of the few defensemen I’d trade him for. He’s a legit top two threat and would either help the load for Rielly, or be a spectacular shutdown pair with Muzzin. 100% yes, but there’s no way Boston does that. Also, my heart is screaming no at this, considering it’s with a rival, so I’m still quite hesitant to make this deal, but as far as Nylander trade proposals go, this one is pretty good.

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Nick R: It seems like we see Nylander’s name thrown around in just about every fantasy trade proposal from Leafs fans, and while most make me roll my eyes, this one at least has comparable value coming back for the Leafs. That said, I don’t think either team makes this deal. The Bruins likely don’t want to give up McAvoy at all, and if the Leafs do decide that they have to move Nylander to address the blue line, they won’t want to do it with Boston. You’re on the right track here, though.

Michael: Can’t imagine the Ducks will so willingly give up one of their most important defenders, a prospect, and a second rounder for that return. Terry and the second overvalues this deal and getting rid of them still may not be enough to entice Anaheim to pulling the trigger. I get the feeling that they will be looking for the incumbent team to give them an arm and a leg, and Toronto simply can’t afford to lose that on one player.

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Earl: Pretty uncommon that two players entering extensions are traded for each other, in Justin Holl and Troy Terry. How big of a win for the Leafs this trade would be depends how much you like Manson, but you still have a hole at RD after swapping Holl. If the 15OA is without any of the top 10 skaters + 1G on the board the pick swap isn’t a huge downgrade in value, compared to what the common perception of a middle of the 1st round pick is. Terry is a downgrade on Johnsson but for 1/2 the price and with some upside. Manson is a much bigger upgrade on Holl, and I quite like Holl.
Anaheim says no. They get older when they should be adding futures.

Scott: I don’t hate this trade as much as I thought I would. Terry is at worst an even swap with Johnsson, Manson is an upgrade on Holl, and you’re doing this to trade down not even a whole round in the draft.

Nick R: I don’t think there’s enough there for Anaheim to make that deal. Manson is a legitimate top 4 RHD who would tick a lot of boxes for the Leafs, and he’s signed at a reasonable number for the next two years. While the Leafs might prefer someone with more term, Manson would be a good fit and I think there will be a solid market for him if the Ducks decide to shop him. The 15th overall pick is a solid trade chip, but it’s diminished by asking for a high second rounder alongside Manson and Terry.

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Brian:  I wouldn’t do this trade. Weegar has been a a popular target of armchair GMs this offseason, and while I think he is quite good, this is the first season in his career where he’s topped 20:00 TOI and has yet to break 20 points. His underlings may very well prove that he is the quality of defenseman worthy of a 15th overall selection, but he has shown very little in terms of traditional stats which usually dictate value.

Michael: Under no circumstances should Toronto even consider this trade at all. The Leafs would be giving up way too much capital for just one asset that may become a dependable top-four defenceman. If anything, Kyle Dubas should be asking for more assets than just Weeger.

Earl: No.

Scott: Weegar’s a very good under the radar defenseman the Leafs should look into, but his actual market value is nowhere close to the 15th overall pick, so that’s an easy no for me.

Nick R: Weegar is an underrated defenceman who I think is being overrated in this proposal. He would surely help improve the Leafs blue line, and his underlying numbers are very impressive, but Dubas will be aiming higher if he moves the 15th overall pick. Also important to note that Weegar needs a new contract and he’ll be set to turn 27 years old by the time next season begins. He’d be a good get for the Leafs but I think the price tag of 15th overall is a bit rich.

Michael: Hard for me to envision this trade going down as Elliotte Friedman reported that the Leafs wouldn’t move out Andersen for the sake of it. A more likely trade would see Rittich going to Toronto so the team gets back a goalie to take over as the starter. Valimaki missed the entire season due to an ACL injury but I doubt the Flames move him and a first rounder for that return. There is potential here, but there has to be some alterations to it.

Earl: Rittich has another year at $2.75m, and it seems like the best situation for him is to try and find the hot streak he once had in Calgary. It would be a decent bet for Toronto too, but I’m not sure the pressure is what he needs. Kivihalme has next to no value in a trade at this moment, but I get the “replacement” for Valimaki/Kylington. Calgary has a lot of questions on the blue line but I don’t think this is the answer for them.
After all the goalies they’ve traded for, I can’t see Calgary trying it again when they have a decent option right in front of them for cheaper. Not to mention they would be getting absolutely robbed in this trade, with the value of goalies much less relative to skaters.
The Leafs would get a great 3/4C with some bite in Bennett and another young defenceman to try, but left handed at that. Rittich could be good, he could be ungood, but that’s what you have Campbell for. Big win for the Leafs and cap space to boot (3 roster players for 1 means at least $1.4m in depth drops off the chart) is why Calgary says no.

Scott: There might be something in this trade, but I don’t want to trade Freddy unless we’re really bringing back value, and there are a lot of underwhelming pieces coming back that aren’t futures.

Nick R: Unless there’s a far stronger market for Andersen than I envision, the Leafs won’t be able to get this kind of return for him. While the shine of being a fourth overall selection has worn off of Bennett, he’s still a useful player and would add some bite to the bottom of the Leafs lineup. Valimaki is still a fairly high end prospect, despite injury troubles, and adding another first round selection to that for one year of Freddie Andersen seems like a lot.

Michael: You’re on the right track with this one, but I’m not sure if it’s the right call to go after Jankowski. He is a proven 30 point player that could bring size to the bottom-six, but he struggled mightly this past season and has gone pointless in 10 playoff games. If you remove him from the deal and replace him with a mid-round pick, there might be something there.

Earl: Probably the most realistic, cross-conference and 2-for-2. Calgary gets way more value considering Jankowski had a very poor year, but again the Leafs would love to add a player like Bennett if he can return to 25-35 point form.

I would rather offer Johnsson for Bennett if given the choice, and I think Calgary would be inclined to accept the better player. If Kerfoot playing top 6 wing and Bennett 3C allows the Leafs to be a better team due to a different playstyle/chemistry I’m all for it. Otherwise, unless the Leafs can get a Kapanen-like return or need the cap space (which they might), the Leafs should keep AJ while they have roster flexibility and play him in the top 6. Whether that’s a showcase to improve his trade value or a chance to show he wants to stay, his value can only improve by getting healthy.

I don’t think it’s unrealistic to move AJ, but at some point you have to pump the brakes on trading young wingers. Over the past 2 years Kapanen, Marchment, Moore, Brown, Grundstrom, and Leivo have all been traded, you can only re-load the hopper so quick.

Scott: Yeah, no. Both Johnsson and Engvall have higher upside than Bennett, and Jankowski is a worse Frederik Gauthier. There’s a reason Leafs fans are relieved that the Kadri trade wasn’t for Brodie and Jankowski, and it’s not because of Brodie.

Nick R: I’d consider this deal, not only because it provides the Leafs with a bit more salary cap flexibility, but because swapping Bennett for Johnsson would actually alter the makeup of the Leafs forward group in terms of physicality and toughness. Engvall has a bit more upside than Jankowski but that’s mostly a wash. I still think selling low on Johnsson after a season in which he struggled – with injuries, and otherwise – would be tough but I could live with this trade if I’m the Leafs.

So there you have the first TLN trade proposal mailbag. We’ll have part two up later this week and don’t be surprised if this format makes an appearance again in the future.