The trade market is heating with less than a month to go before the deadline, and some tough questions are being asked as some teams, who were expected to make the postseason, are still struggling to show they can be a true Cup contender.
On Tuesday, NHL insider Darren Dreger was asked whether the Toronto Maple Leafs should consider listening to offers on three key pending free agents, James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak and Leo Komarov, since the team remains locked into the third playoff spot in the Atlantic Division.
After all, Dreger revealed that the return for van Riemsdyk would likely compare to the Buffalo Sabres' price tag on Evander Kane. The recent rumors hinted at an NHL ready player, a prospect, a high draft pick and a conditional draft pick to land Kane.
The Leafs should listen to these offers explained Dreger.
"I think they should look, I doubt that they will actually move James van Riemsdyk because of his importance to the team for the duration of this year," Dreger said on TSN Radio 1050 Toronto. "I always look at what Buffalo is asking for Evander Kane - and it's a first round pick, a prospect, a roster player for certain teams and maybe even a conditional draft pick. Now you're talking about four elements to make a deal like that happen for Evander Kane.
"So what would you get for JVR? I have to believe Lou Lamoriello is at least willing to listen to what the interest is out there because there would be a lot of interest. I don't quite fully understand or embrace it, but many teams with interest in Evander Kane always go 'OK, I like him, he's a good power forward, but he's got that history.' I mean that doesn't matter to me, he's a hell of a hockey player, that's what matters to me. James van Riemsdyk is this clean-cut American kid and he puts the puck in the net."
The key move to then land a top defenseman?
Dreger also believes this could be a stepping stone in the making of another major deal, as the Leafs could potentially use the draft picks coming in a deal for van Riemsdyk and give them in return for a top quality defenseman - the one thing they badly crave in Toronto.
"If you could acquire a boatload of assets for one, or two, or maybe even all three of those guys, maybe now you go into the draft, you don't go as deep as you might in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but you go into the draft in June and all of sudden Arizona decided 'well maybe we do want to trade Oliver Ekman-Larsson,' as an example. Hypothetically, you've got a collection of draft pieces, including first-round picks, to go to Arizona and say 'here you go, what else do you need?'
"That's the only way that you acquire those assets, in my opinion. And, isn't that better than letting a guy walk for entirely nothing? Which could happen with all three of those pieces."
This could be a game-changer! Do you think this is a good plan for the Leafs?