NHL insider Bob McKenzie was on TSN 1050 yesterday where he broke down all of the Leafs’ trading options when it comes to pending UFAs James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak and Leo Komarov.
Each of the veteran forwards is due a raise and will likely get their money on the open market, rather than form the Leafs. With extensions for William Nylander, Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner coming up, something’s got to give in the Leafs salary cap situation and it’s likely that JVR, Bozak and Komarov find themselves on the outside looking in. So, with that in mind… do the Leafs let their players walk? Or do they seek to trade them for a return in advance of the NHL’s February 26th trade deadline?
“I think they’re always open-minded to what might be out there, but the better the team does, the less likely — in my mind – they’re going to trade one of their pending UFAs in Bozak, van Riemsdyk or Komarov,” said McKenzie.
“Now, that said,” he continued, “if the right player becomes available and the other team is saying, ‘We want Tyler Bozak or James van Riemsdyk,’ then I guess they have to contemplate that. But that’s just such a discretionary thing; not a policy or philosophical thing. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again now: I don’t believe the Leafs have an appetite to wake up in the morning and say, “which of our guys can we trade today? Which of van Riemsdyk or Bozak can we move on today?” I don’t think they’re looking for that. If someone else comes to them with something, then obviously they’ll consider it. If it makes sense, they’ll do it, and if it doesn’t, they won’t.”
Interesting take from the NHL’s top insider. The take away? Don’t hold your breath on a Bozak or JVR trade in the near future.