Thanks but no thanks. A few players we don’t want to see join the Leafs

Photo credit:Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Jon Steitzer
1 year ago
The list of players we don’t want to see on the Leafs is long and undistinguished, but it feels like it became a topic worth addressing the other night as there was once again talk of Tyler Myers being a possible target for the Leafs. It seems hard to imagine that there would be any kind of interest in Myers that doesn’t involve 50% salary retention and a massive overpayment on behalf of the Canucks to get him off their roster and even if you can daydream up a scenario where the additional return is quite good, it probably doesn’t cover off the downside of bringing in Myers.
With the caveat that Tyler Myer was a free space on our “do not want” Bingo card, I asked a few of the Leafs writers to let me know who they wouldn’t want to see on the Leafs. Here are the responses.

Bennett Jull picks Ryan O’Reilly

This might be unpopular, but I don’t understand why some people are keen on trading for Ryan O’Reilly. He is coming off a fractured foot and his return is imminent. Has the goal not been a top 6 winger to play with Tavares and Nylander? I don’t see O’Reilly as a winger, and moving Tavares to the wing has never made sense to me. He is a UFA, meaning he would be a pure rental, and his cap hit is $7.5M. Even if St. Louis retained some salary, O’Reilly is -28 in 37 games this year. Bottom line, O’Reilly would purely be a rental, and I don’t love his fit with Tavares and Nylander. The cost of acquisition doesn’t make sense at the deadline. That being said, if he was willing to take a ‘hometown discount’ in the off-season, I think he would be a tremendous 3rd line center. Love the player, don’t love the fit/timing.

Michael Mazzei goes with Patrick Kane

Patrick Kane is a player that a number of fans are clamouring for the Leafs to acquire, but I believe it would be a huge mistake if he is their big add. He is in the midst of his worst season yet and a lot of it has to do with a nagging hip injury that most teams know will require surgery. The lack of certainty of whether he will be able to play the entire playoffs alone would be enough to want to steer clear, but there’s more to it. While he is in the last year of his mega contract, his $10.5 million cap hit has to be retained by a lot for it to even fit onto the Leafs roster and that means giving up a lot more to both Chicago and potentially a third team. He may only be a year removed from a 92 point campaign, but Kane in 2023 is not the player he once was and the hip injury only makes things more concerning. I would steer clear of Kane as a forward option cause there are better ones available who are younger.

Dylan Murphy doesn’t want Boone Jenner

It hasn’t been loud like some of the other rumoured trade targets, but I have no interest in seeing Boone Jenner don the blue and white. He’s not typically a scorer and also plays more of a depth centre role on a good team as opposed to a top six wing role. Plus acquiring Columbus’ often-injured captain just has bad vibes after how disastrous the Foligno trade went.

Jon Steitzer says Timo Meier

Just kidding. Could you imagine if I was really like that. No, don’t add this highly talented forward to the Leafs. No. I’m not that bad.
I will name two players to make up for my bad joke. The first is Vladislav Gavrikov but really he can represent any and all stay at home defensemen. Honestly I’d rather have the Leafs explore Tyler Myers than pay a premium for one of the “good” stay at home options. Gavrikov did have a good couple of games against the Tavares-Marner line, but he struggled against Nylander’s line. Like most stay at home guys he struggles if you keep him moving and don’t let him stay in position. I also firmly believe it is more about the system than the player when it comes to defense and I can’t see Gavrikov’s fit on the Leafs.
The other one I have on my list is Ivan Barbashev, but that isn’t fully true. I have no problem with the Leafs trading for Ivan Barbashev, but if he’s meant to be the Leafs big splash and their primary target I will be significantly underwhelmed by the Leafs despite not minding a third liner who can bonk heads and potentially score goals.
Now that we’ve wiped out most of the trade bait board, let’s see what the Leafs actually do.

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