Potential trade pieces between the Toronto Maple Leafs & Seattle Kraken: Seller Profiles

Photo credit:Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Seney
1 month ago
The 2024 NHL trade deadline is just days away and the anticipation is starting to brew around the Maple Leafs. All eyes are on GM Brad Treliving as it’s his first deadline at the helm in Toronto and after it took some patience for his free-agent moves to start panning out, the pressure is mounting.
The team is rolling at the moment and appears headed to ‘contender’ territory. An impact trade or two could really move the needle and set up the Maple Leafs for spring success. Insert the Seattle Kraken. GM Ron Francis has watched his team go from meeting expectations to exceeding expectations, to disappointment, all in a couple of years. The Kraken are five points out of a playoff spot, with three teams to leapfrog and appear headed for the sellers’ market.
Treliving and Francis have completed a couple of trades together in the past and if another one goes down between the veteran execs, here’s who could be involved between the Maple Leafs & Kraken:

Adam Larsson

It’s no secret that Treliving is going hard after right-handed defencemen and Larsson should be at the top of the list of options for the Maple Leafs. His defensive style, the edge he plays with, and the fact he can play top-pair minutes and help Toronto’s penalty kill, are all very relevant.
Larsson’s under contract through next season at a reasonable $4 million and while he does have a 10-team modified no-trade clause, joining a potential contender in Toronto, loaded with a bunch of familiar faces, should make his approval list.
So far in 58 games, the Swedish blueliner has scored three times and added 14 assists. He’s a plus +10 rating on a mediocre Kraken team, and he’s never shy of throwing his 6-foot-3 frame around, blocking 108 shots and landing 121 hits. He’s right-handed, physical, can make the first pass, logs heavy minutes, and would be a great partner this season and next for Morgan Rielly, what else does Treliving want?
The price tag will be substantial from Francis as Larsson is a valuable piece of their blue line and also the fact he’s under team control for next season. The Leafs’ 2024 first-round pick is a given here, and so too could be prospect Topi Niemela. His game doesn’t scream the Treliving type and he’s already been passed over a few times this season for callups. Niemela projects to be a top-four, second power-play type, and could be someone the Kraken see value in. He’s been showing off his offensive abilities this season in the AHL with the Marlies and continues to learn the North American style. Losing him would be a big loss for the Leafs, but adding Larsson should outweigh the cons.
While the Leafs project to have $2.9 million in deadline cap space, adding Larsson’s contract is impossible without a roster player being shipped out. David Kampf and his $2.4 million deal could be an option, as Pontus Holmberg has shown enough to handle the fourth-line centre duties. John Tavares is now the third-line centre of the future for the Leafs so Keefe would be able to get by with his depth down the middle. Kampf holds a 10-team no-trade clause, however, playing more minutes for the Kraken could be appealing.
When the Maple Leafs acquired Jake Muzzin from the Kings, he had term left on his deal, played a similar role to what Larsson would bring, and was dealt to Toronto for a young up-and-coming forward in Carl Grundstrom, prospect Sean Durzi, and a first-round pick. Seems to be a solid comparable for this potential Kraken/Leafs transaction.

Will Borgen

Borgen hasn’t been littered all over trade boards leading up to the deadline, but he’s very likely on Treliving’s radar. The 27-year-old is 6-foot-3 and absolutely loves to throw his weight around, landing a Kraken-leading 145 hits, which ranks him 10th among all defencemen. He’s under contract through next season at $2.7 million and could be more of a long-term fit in Toronto over Larsson. Both would do the trick, that’s for sure.
In Borgen, the Leafs wouldn’t have to pay as steep a price as they would for Larsson, and could still be doing their best to find Rielly a partner. While Borgen/Rielly doesn’t scream #1 pair on a Stanley Cup champion roster, the Leafs would more so be going with three solid pairs and a collective approach, having some strong balance among their group.
Borgen would help address this season, and provide depth next year, and bring more edge to a Leafs team who could use it. He hasn’t been given the tough assignments in Seattle, as that’s mostly gone to Larsson, but Borgen is playing a career-high in minutes and given the acquisition price, could be more up Treliving’s wheelhouse.
The Kraken’s d-man has already set a career-high in points, with 21, all at even strength, and is playing more than he’s ever played this season in Seattle. With even more of an opportunity to shine in Toronto, it would be interesting to see how high his ceiling could go.

Alexander Wennberg

While Treliving is going to be circling the waters for Kraken d-men, Wennberg is worth a mention. He’s a versatile top-nine forward who could provide the Maple Leafs with even more roster flexibility down the stretch and into the postseason.
Wennberg plays in all situations, he’s been effective recording 23 points in 58 games and he leads all Kraken forwards with 63 blocked shots. The 29-year-old Swede would provide centre depth, second power-play depth, and second penalty-kill depth and the majority of his production has come at 5vs5.
The contract is meh, as Wennberg’s owed $4.5 million so there’d likely be some salary retention in place should he tickle Treliving’s fancy. He also owns a 10-team no-trade clause, however the Maple Leafs rarely make the no-fly zone.

Maple Leafs Could Make a Deal Work

It’s all going to come down to how much Treliving believes in this group and with the heater they’re currently on, it feels like the vibe has changed drastically around the organization. There were certain parts of this season where the talk was about accepting this year may not be the Leafs year, and now after winning seven in a row, it may be time to once again push the chips all in.
As far as trade assets go, the ’24 first-rounder will be in play for Larsson and potentially for Borgen, if there’s more coming back from Seattle. Kampf seems like a logical throw-in to make the money work, and so too could Conor Timmins and his $1.1 million this season and next.
Ideally, the Leafs don’t move either Niemela or Fraser Minten, but if Larsson is coming back the other way, does that lessen the blow for Leafs fans? Adding him for two playoff runs could move the needle a substantial amount in Toronto.
Nevertheless, there’s certainly some serious trade potential between the Maple Leafs and Kraken as Francis and Treliving could once again become dance partners.

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