I suspected as much when the Toronto Maple Leafs made a very curious move yesterday but we now have confirmation.
A breaking news report from The Fourth Period's David Pagnotta has just confirmed that the Maple Leafs have been actively trying to trade a player over the past few days and it sounds like the intention remains to get someone moved sooner rather than later. The news comes fresh off the heels of the major contract announcement involving former restricted free agent forward William Nylander and I believe it is safe to say that the 2 are directly related to one another.
Everyone knew that if Nylander was eventually signed that Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas would have to make room on the Leafs' roster to fit him back into the line up, but no one expected the move that came out of the Maple Leafs yesterday. In an earlier article I had highlited Justin Holl and Matt Marincin as the two men most likely to be sent down to the American Hockey League following the Nylander signing but Dubas stunned everyone when he sent Travis Dermott down instead. On the surface the move made little sense given that Dermott has proven himself to be a valuable piece of the Leafs main roster while Marincin and Holl have spent the majority of the season watching from the sidelines thus far.
That being said though Dermott came with one major advantage over the other 2 in that he did not have to be submitted to the waiver process and instead could immediately be loaned to the Marlies without any fear of losing him to a rival organization. That little factoid was made all the more interesting when Sportsnet's National Hockey League insider Chris Johnston revealed that he expected Dermott to back in the Leafs line up for their game against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday, something that would necessitate another move from Dubas and the Leafs.
My suspicion at the time was that the move involving Dermott was designed purely to buy Dubas time as he attempted to orchestrate a trade involving a player from the main roster, and that suspicion now has been confirmed by Pagnotta's report. The question of course now remains which player is likely to be on his way out of Toronto? No word from Pagnotta on which player may be involved or which teams may have interest at this time, but with the Leafs playing tomorrow I don't think we are going to have to wait very long for an answer.
Update: Teryr Koshan reports that Dermott has not been placed on the Marlies roster which only serves to make the decision to loan him to the Marliesall all the more suspicious.
Update #2: Nick Kypreos is reporting that Josh Leivo is the player involved.