Maple Leafs GM likely open to trading 2024 first-round pick

Photo credit:Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Seney
1 month ago
The Anaheim Ducks and Philadelphia Flyers sent the NHL trade market on it’s head with their surprising swap of recent top-six draft picks. Now let’s see how Brad Treliving and the Toronto Maple Leafs react.
There’s no doubt conversations have picked up in a major way across the league as GM’s are starting to get a sense of who is buying and who is selling before the March 8 trade deadline. The fact of the matter is, there’s a ton of teams who still believe they have a shot at making the Stanley Cup Playoffs, so many GM’s are remaining patient to see how the next month and a bit plays out for their squad.
We know Treliving has come into Toronto and confirmed the defense was one area he felt he could improve. He’s already tried multiple times to make a trade in-season, however things didn’t work out early on with the Edmonton Oilers or a little later into the season with the Calgary Flames.
Kyle Dubas didn’t leave much for blueline depth before he made way to Pittsburgh and Dubas also didn’t leave much for high-end trade assets. The trade-happy executive cleaned the cupboards pretty good before Treliving arrived. The Maple Leafs don’t have a second-round pick for the next three drafts or a 2025 first-round pick thanks to the Jake McCabe trade. Needless to say Treliving will need to get creative if he’s going to make a splash before the deadline.

GM’s History Includes Moving Several First Rounders

Over Treliving’s nine year tenure in Calgary, the veteran exec traded his first-round pick on three occasions. Once back in 2015 to acquire stud blueliner Dougie Hamilton, 2018 to acquire defenseman Travis Hamonic, the Islanders ended up selecting Noah Dobson, by the way. And then most recently in 2022, when Treliving dealt his first rounder just before the trade deadline to land scoring winger Tyler Toffoli.
There’s also been multiple seasons where he’s traded his first rounder to move down in the draft a couple of spots and acquire another pick along the way. Something Leafs fans saw a ton of from Dubas.
So there is some history here and some openness to try and make a splash. Treliving’s known as a GM who loves to poke his head around in all sorts of conversations and they say if someone is available, Treliving knows about it.

Toronto’s Trade Assets Are Limited

Off the NHL roster, Treliving doesn’t have a ton to consider moving that hold significant value on the trade market. Nick Robertson would draw some interest as he still has untapped potential, but questions surround his history with injuries. Pontus Holmberg could be of interest, but he’s loved by the coaching staff and is starting to solidify his role. Conor Timmins isn’t someone other teams are drooling over, same can be said for Timothy Liljegren, and Ilya Samsonov. Matthew Knies is untouchable so don’t even bother pondering.
Top prospects Easton Cowan and Fraser Minten are likely two players rival GM’s are asking about first when it comes to the Leafs offerings. Shortly after their attention probably turns to Michigan Wolverine winger Nicholas Moldenhauer. The former third-round pick is turning heads in his first season as a Wolverine and he’s a bit of a wildcard when it comes to trade talks. Moving any three of these prospects would fetch Treliving at least a top-four defenseman and if packaged, a top-two.
All things considered, with the way Cowan and Minten showed themselves to start the year, in Treliving’s first few months on the job, he’s probably holding them near and dear to his heart. However when it comes to his next first-round pick, the Leafs GM has been open in the past to moving the pick for the right player. Someone who isn’t just a pure rental and has some team control included.
So there’s certainly a chance the Maple Leafs top pick is involved in trade talks and if a deal materializes before March 8, don’t expect to see the first-round shipped out for a pending unrestricted free agent.

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