Treliving on potentially trading 1st-round pick: ‘You have to look at every option’

Photo credit:Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Arun Srinivasan
1 month ago
Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brad Treliving met with reporters Friday to address myriad issues as the NHL trade deadline speeds towards the horizon.
Treliving addressed the notion of the Maple Leafs potentially trading their 2024 first-round selection for some immediate additions ahead of the March 8 deadline. Toronto’s core, led by Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Mitch Marner, are in the prime of its contending years but the team’s prospect pool is nearly barren after trading a barrage of picks for rental players under Kyle Dubas’s regime.
“I think you gotta be careful with 1st round picks for short-term help,” Treliving said Friday via The Athletic’s Jonas Siegel. “But if it makes sense at the end of the day when you do the final analysis. You have to look at every option.”
It appears that Treliving is hedging his bets ahead of March 8. Toronto needs to be calculated with its asset management and at the time of this filing, Calgary’s Noah Hanifin is widely considered the best available player on this year’s market. There’s always the consideration that a star player — or a player that is better than Hanifin — becomes available in the next week or so, and the Maple Leafs may be forced to evaluate whether its worth trading their 2024 first-round pick. Although Treliving hasn’t formally ruled out the possibility, it would require a genuine game-changing talent for the Maple Leafs to trade 2023 first-round pick Easton Cowan, who is lighting up the Ontario Hockey League with 29 goals and 79 points in 45 games for the London Knights.
Toronto already made a small dent in the trade market Thursday night, acquiring Ilya Lyubushkin from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for 2024 3rd and 7th-round picks. Lyubushkin arrives as an emergency right-shot option, who will likely be paired with Morgan Rielly initially as the Maple Leafs continue to experiment with their optimal line combinations in the final quarter of the regular season. Lyubushkin provides next to nothing offensively and he’s prone to taking poor routes to the puck but he’s a physical defenseman who is capable of eating minutes against bottom-six competition. He may be out of place alongside Rielly on a nominal top pair but with Mark Giordano being placed on injured reserve with a head injury suffered during Thursday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes, it’s a low-cost, right-handed professional option.
“One of the things we need to improve upon is stopping plays, killing plays,” Treliving said of Lyubushkin via TSN’s Mark Masters. “He has the ability to kill plays when we look at our data.”
Spring is just a window of perpetual change and with a week until the deadline, you have to imagine that Treliving is waiting for a home-run deal, otherwise Lyubushkin may be the extent of the Maple Leafs’ new acquisitions.

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