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Rumours: FoligNO and the Buffalo Fire Sale

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Jon Steitzer
1 year ago
Here we are another week closer to the trade deadline, and still somewhat lost in the woods when it comes to what to expect with the trade deadline. Now that we’re just over a month from the deadline we can probably assume the U.S./Canada border won’t magically open up and it’s unlikely that the 14 day quarantine period will go away. With that in mind we will potentially see a lot less cross border shopping, and we’ll see some teams either shop early or decide not to shop at all. Considering that 14 day quarantine period from the trade deadline leaves 7 regular season games where the deadline rental would dress for the Leafs. If Toronto is going to pay a premium for a player, they are either going to want to bring in someone with term, a restricted free agent, or likely want to act early on rentals or get them for next to nothing.
It’s partially that criteria that makes the first rumour even more nonsensical than it already is.

Leafs interested in @Nick Foligno?

Okay, so noted Leafs outsider Steve Simmons is not going to be the best source of information on Toronto unless people in the Blue Jackets front office talk to him more than those in the Maple Leafs organization. He has floated the idea that Foligno’s name is consistently coming up when it comes to the Leafs and has a rather ill informed interpretation of how much it would cost to bring in Foligno:
The Leafs have next to no salary cap room. In order to acquire anyone – the name Nick Foligno keeps popping up – they would have to move other assets and money, certainly Alex Kerfoot for example, maybe of the the young defensemen Rasmus Sandin or Timothy Liljegren, maybe the young sniper Nick Robertson, maybe an early-round draft pick.
So let’s start where Simmons has something mildly right, Alex Kerfoot’s salary would have to be part of a deal for Foligno. The question just immediately becomes, why would the Leafs be adding a whole lot more beyond Kerfoot in this deal?
In addition to this chart that makes many of you roll your eyes, it’s worth noting that Foligno has 11 points this season while Kerfoot has 12. Foligno had 31 points last season, while Kerfoot had 28. Kerfoot is seven years younger, makes $2M less, and is signed for additional years beyond this one. Kerfoot is capable of playing center, Foligno is not. Essentially Alex Kerfoot is the better asset of these two players, and Simmons is treating him as a salary dump in this deal and Simmons inexplicably thinks that one of the Leafs top three prospects or a 1st round pick should be included to make the deal enticing for the Blue Jackets. Dumb.
What caused the brain rot that led to thinking this is a good idea?
Hits.
Foligno hits. A lot. That’s not a bad thing to add, and the Leafs certainly could always use some physicality, but the idea of paying a premium for it is ridiculous. So let’s move on from the Foligno idea, because there isn’t a situation where this deal makes an ounce of sense. Would it make sense to revisit Foligno as an unrestricted free agent this summer at a salary inline with the player he is today? Maybe. He’s still 33 and on a steep decline and perhaps our opinions of him need to be based on more than three Blue Jackets wins over the summer.

Buffalo Tire Fire Sale

We’ve covered a lot of the Sabres who will be made available at the deadline in the previous Rumours posts on this site, but the new information from Sportsnet’s Headline feature that the Sabres are open for business on seemingly everyone changes our outlook a little, mainly it allows us to also consider @Sam Reinhart.
Reinhart would absolutely be an expensive acquisition, but he’s an opportunity to consider bringing in a premium talent to add to the Leafs top six, and as a restricted free agent he would be a player they can bring back for future use and not just cost a ton for a playoff guest appearance on the Leafs. The price tag on Reinhart is substantial, and at the very least would again begin with someone like Kerfoot for salary reasons, and likely the Leafs first, but would also potentially include another worthwhile asset that the Sabres see as part of their future. At this point Reinhart likely joins Filip Forsberg as one of the top players that is readily available, and hopefully the Leafs will explore that option.
On the cheaper side of things, I can’t help but think that @Curtis Lazar would be a solid fit for the Leafs as well. An affordable spark plug player who does absolutely anything you can ask from a fourth line depth player, Lazar comes with the added bonus of having an additional year of contract. If the Leafs are making other moves that reduce the number of qualified forwards they have available to expose in the expansion draft, Lazar is also a way of meeting that requirement, and it’s hard to imagine he’ll cost more than a mid to late round pick.
The last name I want to throw out there is half priced @Jeff Skinner. Skinner’s career outside of Buffalo has been solid, and while he has been terrible for the Sabres, he could be an interesting gamble at $4.5M, if the Sabres are that desperate to move him. I guess a lot of it comes down to how committed they are to Ralph Kruger as their head coach.

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