Insider Pierre LeBrun said it best on his Twitter account on Tuesday: the Toronto “Maple Leafs’ D down Muzzin, Brodie and now Rielly.
Pressure’s on to scour the trade market.”
But most importantly, he added “Easier said than done of course at this time of year.”
The Maple Leafs got terrible news on Tuesday when they had to place defenseman Morgan Rielly on long-term injured reserve with a knee injury. The star player is believed to have suffered a grade one or a grade two MCL injury in Monday’s overtime loss to the New York Islanders, which carries a four-to-six week recovery period… This came on top of the Maple Leafs already being without Jake Muzzin, lost to long-term injured reserve due to a cervical spine injury earlier this season, and TJ Brodie, who is expected to miss at least another week with an oblique injury.
And so, many insiders, LeBrun included, believe GM Kyle Dubas will need to get some help on the trade market, though it won’t be easy.
Sportsnet’s Luke Fox put together a list of potential trade targets for Toronto and of course, the attention turns to the biggest names available in Arizona Coyotes’ Jakob Chychrun, the San Jose Sharks’ Erik Karlsson and the Anaheim Ducks’ John Klingberg.
In other words, Dubas might be targeting a defenseman that will force his team into a monster trade.
The Maple Leafs have been linked to Chychrun for quite a bit, however, LeBrun revealed on Insider Trading on TSN last night that the asking price remains incredibly high for a player who made his season debut just two days ago.
“I think it’s important to understand why Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong is asking for two first-round picks plus either a prospect or a young NHL player in any deal for Brandon Hagel. Number one, I think he’s looked at the Hampus Lindholm deal from a year ago where Anaheim got a first-round pick and two seconds for an older player who was a pending UFA and ends up going to Boston, of course the Bruins signed him. There’s the Brandon Hagel deal Chicago getting two first-round picks for Hagel because of his cheap cap and Chychrun is young, he’s got a bargain contract and if history shows us anything in terms of the Darcy Kuemper trade where Arizona got a first and a young player and a third. Bill Armstrong is going to stick to his price.”
When it comes to Karlsson, all eyes are on the best blue liner in the league, whose value has skyrocketed thanks to his hot start this season. There is doubt however that he would waive his no-movement clause to join the Maple Leafs, and Toronto would certainly struggle with his $11.5 million cap hit through 2026-27 even if the Sharks retained part of it.
The target Fox prefers is Klingberg seeing that he is a right-shot puck-moving defenseman who logs big minutes. However, the Maple Leafs aren’t the only team with eyes on Klingberg, who holds a a full “no-trade” until Jan. 1. Dubas might not want to enter a bidding war and certainly needs help sooner rather than later…
Fox also points to options like the Minnesota Wild’s Matt Dumba, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Vladislav Gavrikov, the Washington Capitals’ Dmitry Orlov, Ottawa Senators’ Artem Zub, Pittsburgh Penguins’ Brian Dumoulin, New York Islanders’ Scott Mayfield, and the New Jersey Devils’ Damon Severson. He also suggested the Vancouver Canucks’ Luke Schenn and Tyler Myers. Though we can say one of them would have the same impact on the desperate blue line in Toronto than a blockbuster trade would fix quickly…
The pressure is on in Toronto.