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Maple Leafs should trade for Filip Gustavsson to partner with Joseph Woll

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Photo credit:Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Seney
16 days ago
The Toronto Maple Leafs need to add another goaltender this summer and general manager Brad Treliving should be calling the Minnesota Wild to acquire Filip Gustavsson.
Gustavsson, 26, hails from Skelleftea, Sweden and has spent the past two seasons in Minnesota where he’s gone through two very different seasons. In 2022-23 Gustavsson posted a 22-9-7 record, along with a 2.10 goals against average (GAA) and an impressive .931 save percentage (Sv.%). This past season he took a small step back, finishing with a 20-17-5 record, 3.06 GAA and .899 Sv.%. The Wild finished 11 points out of a playoff spot, had limited depth on defence and a penalty kill that ranked 30th in the league. Seeing a dip in numbers may have had more to do with his surroundings.
The Maple Leafs should be interested in making a deal with the Wild. GM Bill Guerin is in a tough spot, with over $14 million in dead cap space and just over $6 million in cap space this summer, while carrying a need to add up front and on their back end. Minnesota needs to refresh and re-tool on the fly this summer and Gustavsson is a prime trade candidate for a number of reasons.
Moving his $3.75 million cap hit this season and next is certainly a start in re-allocating financial resources and Gustavsson doesn’t have any trade protection, which makes things easier for Guerin to execute. There’s also the fact Marc-Andre Fleury is coming back for his final season and the Wild have top prospect Jesper Wallstedt, who appears ready for more consistent NHL minutes. Goaltending is a position of strength for Guerin’s team and he should be looking to leverage this to re-tool his roster.

Maple Leafs are willing to pay up for goaltending

There’s lots going on with the Maple Leafs when it comes to goaltending. Joseph Woll is reportedly in talks to sign a long-term extension, meanwhile Treliving and company showed a ton of interest in Jacob Markstrom and were reportedly willing to move a first-round pick.
Markstrom is due $6 million against the cap this season and next, and even with the Flames being open to retain money, as we saw in the deal with the Devils, it’s obvious Treliving and the Leafs aren’t afraid to spend some money to secure some goaltending depth. Gustavsson is a cheaper option over Markstrom, and yes, he’s a little inexperienced, but he’s shown enough with his performance the past two seasons, 2022-23 in the playoffs, and this past summer at the World Championships representing Team Sweden.
Gutavsson’s also eight years younger than Markstrom and still has a tremendous amount of upside. Woll is still a gamble at this point because of his inability to stay healthy, but with a new training program this summer, the Leafs are hopeful for change, which is evident in their latest contract talks. Gustavsson is a bit of a risk as well, there’s no doubt, but he’s only signed for two more seasons so it’s a contract that can come off the books soon regardless.

Leafs have trade options for Wild to consider

The Wild’s defense core is a mess. After youngster Brock Faber, who looks like a true #1, the talent pool runs thin. Zach Bogosian, Jon Merrill, Jake Middleton, and Jonas Brodin are all signed for next season and Guerin could be interested in adding to his group.
Timothy Liljegren is someone Minnesota could have interest in. The former first-round pick is a pending restricted free agent and won’t cost a ton to re-sign. He’s still coming into his own, showed flashes of brilliance last season, and does have the potential to play in all situations. His versatility and untapped potential is something the Wild could be interested in and with some more consistent minutes in a bigger role, the blueliner could thrive.
Liljegren has reportedly heard nothing from the Leafs management brass so far this summer and with a ton of right-handed defensemen available via the free-agent market, he’s replaceable in Toronto. With the mentioned reports about willingness to include a first-rounder, it’s obvious the Leafs are willing to create a tempting trade package to secure some goaltending depth.
The next two weeks are going to be very entertaining surrounding the Maple Leafs. They are on the prowl for a tandem partner for Woll and want to add top-four defensemen. Landing Gustavsson from the Wild would be a very cost-effective addition for this season and next and give Woll a partner who can push him for the starter’s crease. Treliving needs to give it some serious thought and try to leverage the Wild’s needs to fill his own.

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