Potential Leafs target: Scott Mayfield
Photo credit:Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
By Bennett Jull9 months ago
This past Saturday the Islanders lost 6-2 to the Bruins. A far bigger loss, however, was Matt Barzal. The dynamic forward left the game with a lower-body injury, and his status is week-to-week. Barzal has put up 51 points in 58 games and is heavily relied upon at even strength and special teams.
The Islanders are hopeful he may return before the playoffs, but they will undoubtedly be without their most skilled player during the push. New York currently sits in a wild card spot, and they have virtually no chance of catching the high-flying Devils, Hurricanes, or Rangers. Despite currently sitting in a playoff spot, the Red Wings, Sabres, and Penguins all have a higher point percentage.
Off the back of losing their star man and with hungry teams licking their chops just below them, could the New York Islanders become sellers? Perhaps they don’t fully tear it down, but instead, look to capitalize on some of their expiring contracts. If that becomes the case, the Leafs should consider acquiring Scott Mayfield.
Mayfield has spent his entire career with the New York Islanders having been drafted by them in the second round of the 2011 NHL draft. He’s played 406 games and amassed 102 points so far. He turns 31 years old in October and is in the final year of a 5-year $7.25M dollar contract.
Mayfield’s cap hit is $1.45M dollars and he will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Kyle Dubas has said plenty of times that he prefers players with term, and doesn’t like giving up assets for expiring contracts. On the contrary, he pulled the trigger on Acciari and O’Reilly. That trade was an ‘all-in’ move, suggesting that maybe Mr. Dubas is more willing to look at pending unrestricted players during this win-now window.
Scott Mayfield stands at 6’5, and weighs approximately 225 pounds. He is a sturdy, physical defenseman. He won’t overwhelm you with jaw-dropping Jacob Trouba like hits or overwhelming volume, but he can certainly clear a crease or win a board battle. He has an elite ability to block shots. Mayfield currently leads the Islanders in blocks with 121 (this would lead the Leafs as well), which puts him in the top 10 in the NHL. He skates decently well, and can more than adequately chip in offensively.
It would be interesting to see where Sheldon Keefe would put Mayfield. A right-handed shot, he could play with any of Riley, Sandin, or Giordano. Last year in the playoffs Sheldon Keefe deployed a shutdown tandem of Jake Muzzin and TJ Brodie. I wonder if Keefe would consider playing Brodie and Mayfield together, with Brodie possibly taking the left. Mayfield would definitely factor into the penalty kill with his shot-blocking ability.
An expiring contract, Mayfield wouldn’t cost the Maple Leafs too much. He is an elite shot suppressor, and is extremely responsible in his own end. He brings some much needed size and adds some physicality as well. Below is a graphic showing the best defensive pairings in the NHL for goals against per 60 minutes.
Luke Schenn’s rumoured price seems to be a 3rd round pick with Vancouver hoping a 2nd gets offered at some point. If that’s the case, Mayfield could probably be acquired for a similar amount. I wonder if Lou Lamoriello wants to still give his group the chance to earn a wildcard spot without Barzal. While unlikely, perhaps he could be tempted by exchanging Mayfield with Justin Holl + a lower draft pick or low-level prospect. Regardless, Kyle Dubas should be kicking tired on Mayfield’s availability and cost.
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