Maple Leafs & Sharks could wind up trade partners ahead of deadline

Photo credit:© Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Seney
1 month ago
The Toronto Maple Leafs and San Jose Sharks get set to kick off a home-and-home series that will span across four days. It’s the perfect time for Maple Leafs GM Brad Treliving to get a first-hand look at what the Sharks have to offer.
Sharks GM Mike Grier will be selling, there’s no doubt about that as the sale started a long time ago. Grier has moved out Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson throughout the last year and a half, as he looks to reset the organization for future success. San Jose has been dismal this season, posting a 9-27-3 record entering Saturday’s game, good for dead last in the entire NHL.
Grier’s selling, Treliving’s buying, so here’s a few players to keep an eye on as these two teams could become trade partners ahead of the March 8th deadline:

Anthony Duclair

The Maple Leafs know Duclair well from his days with the Florida Panthers and in his first season in San Jose, the 28-year-old winger hasn’t necessarily blown the doors off. Seven goals and six assists for 13 points in 35 games, however it was just last season when Duclair posted 11 points in 20 Stanley Cup Playoff games and looked dominant at times.
At $3 million against the cap and a pending free agent, the Laval, Quebec native is someone the Leafs could work under their cap. Grier will be open to retaining salary as he’s done so in multiple previous deals, so this could work in Toronto’s favor. Considering Duclair’s struggles this season, his stock won’t be through the roof so he’s the type of player Treliving wouldn’t have to sell the farm on to land.
Duclair could be a nice fit for the Maple Leafs third line and considering the struggles of Nick Robertson of late, there’s certainly an appetite to see what other options are out there. Duclair is only two seasons removed from a 31-goal season and with his recent playoff success, the Leafs should have him on their watch list.

Alexander Barabanov

The ex-Maple Leaf has dealt with some injuries this season and has only appeared in 17 of the Sharks 39 games, recording seven points. The bang-and-crash winger, like Duclair, is a pending free agent and someone Grier will be dangling on the rental market.
Barabanov is 29, versatile to play either wing and his style of play is very well suited for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Another bottom-six option for the Maple Leafs, the Russian forward holds a 10-team no-trade clause, however heading back to Toronto for a chance to win the Cup is something he likely approves.
As for the financials, Barabanov makes $2.5 million against the cap, slightly less than Duclair and is an affordable depth option for Treliving to consider. The Leafs GM won’t have to ship out a top prospect or a first-round pick to acquire the Sharks forward, as he’s another affordable option that would be an upgrade over the likes of Robertson or Bobby McMann.
Barabanov has scored in each of his last two games and is one of the Sharks hottest players entering the back-to-back against the Leafs. Don’t be surprised if he stays hot against his former team and pots one in either of the games.

Mikael Granlund

A player that’s been linked to the Maple Leafs for what feels like a decade, Granlund has performed well in his first season with the Sharks, especially of late. 25 points in 32 games, he’s facilitating a ton this year, leading the team with 21 assists.
While his $5 million salary this season and next could complicate the Leafs interest, if the Sharks retain half, at $2.5 million, Treliving could have some interest. Of course, the acquisition price would go up, but considering how versatile Granlund is in all situations, it could spark the Leafs GM to consider the move. Granlund can play all over the lineup, including down the middle, on the wing, penalty kill, power play, it doesn’t matter.
Forget Granlund’s performance in Pittsburgh last season before Kyle Dubas traded him to San Jose, because frankly he had no role with the Penguins. In Toronto it would be in the bottom-six and more of a depth option, as someone who could move up the lineup should an injury occur. Again, another upgrade over Robertson and McMann and the Leafs will want to upgrade a few of their roster spots to ensure the most complete team enters the postseason.
Granlund has 59 games of Stanley Cup Playoff experience under his belt, posting a solid 32 points in the process. While the acquisition price would be much more than Barabanov or Duclair who are rentals, this would be a much more complex trade, but one the Leafs could get creative with to make Granlund fit financially this season and next.

Mario Ferraro

Ranked second in the NHL with 108 shot blocks, Ferraro is a stay-at-home d-man who could land on Treliving’s watch these these next two months leading up to the deadline. The 25-year-old King City, ON native is signed through the 2025-26 season at $3.25 million, with no trade protection in site.
Ferraro plays a very similar style to TJ Brodie and at roughly eight years younger and $1.75 million cheaper, he could be a great replacement option moving forward in Toronto as Brodie is a pending free agent. While Treliving is looking to upgrade his roster for a Cup run this season, this is the type of acquisition that not only makes sense for this season, but also for next season and beyond.
Ferraro’s affordable and is on pace for his best season offensively. He’s capable of moving the puck, sees the ice well and isn’t as one dimensional as people think despite all the blocked shots. He’d help the Leafs PK and provide some solid depth as a second-pair option moving forward.
The Sharks have a ton of cap space, they have an aggressive GM who is willing to retain salary and they’ll be open to just about any trade, if it provides them with more assets for their rebuild. While Duclair, Granlund, Barabanov and Ferraro aren’t necessarily the absolute perfect fits in Toronto, each player makes some level of sense for Treliving to consider adding ahead of the deadline.

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