10 Takes heading into the final 24 hours before the trade deadline
By Jon Steitzer19 days ago
The marathon is about to turn into an all out sprint toward the finish line. The Boston Bruins have tried to let it be known that they won’t be heading quietly into the postseason and they are going to make sure their already juiced roster is going to be even more stacked by tomorrow afternoon. The Lightning are sitting on a bit of cap space and that can always be a dangerous thing, except their focus seems to be Joel Edmundson, which has the potential to be a nice outcome for the Leafs, except that Edmundson has thrived when playing on good teams previously.
Alas, we come to the Leafs. You had to be feeling pretty good heading into Wednesday’s game against the Oilers, but the complete no show from the Leafs who were either mourning the departures of Rasmus Sandin and Pierre Engvall or just pouting over being in Edmonton in February, seemed to take out a giant ad on behalf of Kyle Dubas that more work needs to be done.
Anyways, here are some takes to carry you into what may be the busiest (or possibly the slowest) part of trade season.
- I really like the additions of Sam Lafferty and Noel Acciari, both of who give the Leafs a bit more energy and physical play in the bottom six while being fairly competent players. That said, this seems like a move more about changing the identity away from what the Leafs had with Pierre Engvall and Pontus Holmberg in those roles, rather than making any kind of upgrade. It’s also important to note that when O’Reilly is playing in the top six there still isn’t a true scoring threat with the Leafs bottom six group. That still needs to be a priority.
- With all the talk about trading Alex Kerfoot (his $3.5M cap hit means it makes sense to consider), I wonder if the Leafs aren’t better off parting ways with David Kampf instead. I can appreciate the irony of me saying that the Leafs need bottom six scoring and Kampf is the bottom six player who scored on Wednesday, but Kampf has been underwhelming and with O’Reilly, Lafferty, and Acciari all capable of filling that bottom six center roles, in addition to Kerfoot, Holmberg, and Jarnkrok, his lack of versatility compared to Kerfoot might make him an easier option to ship out. His price and his position might also net the Leafs a bit of a return from a Western Conference team as well. It’s also notable that unlike Holl and Kerfoot, there Kampf doesn’t have a no trade clause limiting where he can go.
- I don’t worry about the Leafs not landing a Tyler Bertuzzi type forward because the Leafs seem pretty intent to run with Matthew Knies in that role almost immediately once he gets here. That’s not me saying that Knies is going to be the Leafs second line left winger, but this is me saying that Knies will see shifts on the second and third lines depending on what zone they start in while being a very interesting fourth liner in the playoffs. If I’m wrong on this, Max Jones might be a cheap alternative.
- If you take the Leafs at their word, Matt Murray is very close to returning. I’d expect his activation will come tomorrow morning, but that’s just a guess. I’m curious if Matt Murray’s activation will coincide with him being traded and the Leafs looking at a different goaltending option instead. With Samsonov having some inconsistent outings of late and Murray’s health making him a question mark at all times, I wonder if there will be some consideration towards a goaltender, as long as they can be brought in cheap. I’ve banged this drum before, but really it comes down to the Leafs making a ton of moves to go for it and this seems like an area that could use a Plan B or C.
- I’m not sure there is anyone out there the Leafs could be looking at that warrants them giving up the 2023 pick from the Bruins. I look forward to being proven wrong on that, but I’d strongly lean towards keeping the pick and shopping the 2024 1st instead.
- I still like the cheap swing for the fences options that are out there like Lias Andersson who is on the Kings’ AHL team or Nils Hoglander, who would be a steal to get out of Vancouver. The deadline doesn’t need to be all about veterans and there’s no harm in stacking the deck for the Marlies while waiting for other trades to happen.
- I am very excited about the addition of Erik Gustafsson but every time I look at the Leafs roster I get more and more confused about where he could possibly fit in. The Leafs having nine NHL defensemen seems like a blessing/curse, as I can’t help but wonder if it makes sense to move Holl or whether it makes sense to cash out on Conor Timmins if the Leafs have upped his value enough since acquiring him. With Jordie Benn sitting safely in the minors the Leafs really have 10 capable NHL defensemen and the fact that this could be by design is bizarre to me.
- I wonder if Alex Steeves or Nick Abruzzese have any trade value in the eyes of GMs. I assume when it comes to the internet, they have none, but decent, cheap young forwards with upside and can play now seem like they’d be a potential fit for teams like Arizona that have exhausted their draft capital and need players to put on the ice at some point.
- With the Red Wings starting to sell and sell high, do the Leafs try to get David Perron out of Detroit? The price would be steep, but O’Reilly and Perron have worked extremely well in the past. Perron plays with some edge and is an incredible puck carrier. It seems like he’d be worth the call, as the worst thing that happens is Yzerman says no.
- I’m going to echo what a lot of people have already said and that is Kyle Dubas has earned his contract extension regardless of outcomes at this point. Any failures that occur beyond this point need to be owned by the coaches and/or the players because the Leafs have been made playoff ready. That’s not to say I want Kyle Dubas to sit back and relax on Friday. I’d say I’d still set the number of Leafs moves at 2.5 and would personally bet the over.
THE DAILY FACEOFF TRADE DEADLINE SHOW
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