At the time of posting this we are 33 hours away from the trade deadline, and as fun as the Riley Nash trade was, it would certainly be nice to see the Leafs make another move. That’s the low bar of what I want out of the trade deadline, but I put the question out to the TLN crew, “what do you want out of the trade deadline for the Leafs?”
This season represents the Leafs’ best shot at making a deep playoff run for the first time in nearly two decades. So they should be looking at any possible method to improve the team because despite their solid record to this point, they could surely be even better That’s what their focus should be at the deadline, add another piece to make the existing team even better.
Taylor Hall.I don’t think the Leafs need to do anything with their defence, but adding a gamebreaking top-6 forward at a discount into the mix to compliment Matthews-Marner or Tavares-Nylander is the stuff dreams are made of. Acquiring Hall has a dual purpose: acquiring him for our own needs AND keeping him from going to a competitor. Let’s get the big fish.I could also go for a better third-string goaltender than Hutchinson. Jack and Freddy’s persistent injury issues cause me concern.
I’ll also say Taylor Hall. That’d be really fun. If we can’t have him, then I’d like a sneaky good player that would come fairly cheap, like Scott Laughton.
I don’t know if they can do it, but Taylor Hall. If the Leafs have a top-six with him in it, they’re such a stronger team. He really completes them. Hall already has a house in Toronto so it would be much easier on him too. So, Kyle, if you’re reading this, it’s still not too late to trade for Hall.
Cap shenanigans. I want double retentions on league minimum contracts, LTIR, everything. Deferred compensation to sign Gusev. “If you ain’t cheatin you ain’t tryin,”
There’s a lot of things that the Maple Leafs could do at the deadline, but based on all of the salary cap shenanigans that we have seen over the past 48 hours, it really does feel like “Taylor Hall or bust” for this team. There’s not a heck of a lot of reason to try to open up almost $8 million in space unless you are trying to make a big play for the biggest fish, and while they may be looking at some smaller pieces to fill out their bottom 6, it’s not like those types of guys will move the needle in a significant way. Another option, in addition, might be Jaden Schwartz from the St. Louis Blues, though they’ve now rung off two straight wins (including a 9-1 shellacking of the Minnesota Wild) and don’t appear dead quite yet. If Schwartz is made available, he’s another player in that Taylor Hall echelon of needle movers that the Maple Leafs would be wise to add. Given the fact that he’s also a pending UFA, he’s a sneaky name that we should maybe keep our eyes on over the next 24ish hours.
Honestly, I think Earl nailed it, but failing that, I’d settle for anything remotely interesting happening throughout the day. There’s no reason why the Leafs shouldn’t be looking to make a couple of deals, and at the very least they can help pass the time by pulling off the occasional AHL deal or whatnot. Heck, even if the Leafs aren’t interesting I’d settle for some comically bad deals not involving the Leafs or at least one out of nowhere trade to remind us the NHL could be interesting if they put their mind to it. I get the sense that I’m asking for too much.