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Maple Leafs goalie trade could come as early as next week
By Shane Seney1 month ago
The Toronto Maple Leafs head into a weekend back-to-back against the Columbus Blue Jackets and Carolina Hurricanes and if things don’t go as planned, GM Brad Treliving may have no choice but to make a goalie trade.
Martin Jones looked very regular against the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday night, letting in three goals on 29 shots and has somewhat come back down to earth after a hot start in Toronto. Ilya Samsonov’s struggling the worst of his career, if the losses continue to pile up this weekend and with Joseph Woll still at least a month away, there may be no choice but to make a trade.
The Eastern Conference playoff race is rather tight. The Leafs sit in third in the Atlantic heading into the weekend, however the Tampa Bay Lightning are just one point back and there’s five teams currently out of the playoff picture who are just four-or-five points back of Toronto. The heat is on, to say the least.
Treliving Has Been Making Calls
Hockey insider Elliotte Friedman confirmed a few days ago that the Leafs GM has ‘dipped his toes’ in the goalie market and these talks could easily intensify in the next week. Samsonov is expected to start Friday in Columbus and Jones in Toronto against the ‘Canes, and there’s no doubt Treliving will be watching closely to make an executive decision on how to right the ship until Woll returns.
The NHL’s goalie market has some interesting names to consider this season, some making much more sense for the Leafs than others. John Gibson in Anaheim is too risky because of his contract. He’s signed through the 2026-27 season at $6.4 million and isn’t a likely target. Marc-Andre Fleury in Minnesota makes a ton of sense as he’s a proven veteran who has a decorated resume of success, however the Wild are still pushing for a playoff spot and likely wouldn’t make the deal just yet. Treliving won’t be able to wait.
Jake Allen in Montreal is another goalie who likely could be moved this season. He’s signed at $3.85 million AAV through the 2024-25 season and so far this year, has posted a decent .904 Sv.% in 12 appearances. The Canadiens, however, are just five points back of the Leafs and four points out of the playoff picture so helping out Toronto is likely not in the cards just yet.
Daniel Vladar in Calgary makes a ton of sense as a target, not only just because of timing and availability, but also because of familiarity. Treliving knows him very well, and at 6-foot-5 he’d give the Leafs a ‘huge’ new-look in the crease. He’s signed at a reasonable $2.2 million next season and with Woll signed at just $766,667, would give Toronto a very affordable tandem moving forward. The risk is the unproven aspect to Vladar’s game. So far this season, Vladar’s .886 SV.% isn’t anything to write home about, however in his last two starts he’s been very sharp, stopping 61 of 65 shots, including an impressive win over the Lightning. Calgary’s looking to make some more trades and they have top prospect Dustin Wolf who they want to be playing more at the NHL level. Moving Vladar over the untradeable Jakob Markstrom makes sense for GM Craig Conroy.
Other goalies who could be available on the trade market include Carter Hart in Philly, Karel Vejmelka in Arizona and Chris Driedger in Seattle. Like everything in Toronto, it’s going to come down to the finances and just how creative Treliving can get navigating the salary cap. Samsonov struggling, making $3.5 million certainly complicates everything.
The Maple Leafs GM tried to trade for Vincent Desharnais out of Edmonton before moving Sam Lafferty to Vancouver. He’s tried to acquire both Chris Tanev and Nikita Zadorov in Calgary which fell short, and now he’s dipping his toes in the goalie trade market. If the Leafs lose both games this upcoming weekend, look for Treliving to go from dipping toes to cannonballs, as he’ll have no choice but to jump in.
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