TSN reporter and NHL insider Bob McKenzie joined Leafs Lunch host Andi Petrillo on Sportsnet 1050 radio yesterday and broke down all of the Leafs trading options when it comes to pending unrestricted free-agents. Specifically, we’re talking 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?
McKenzie wouldn’t rule out the idea of a deal or two, but specified the situation by saying, “I don't believe the Leafs are actively looking to shop their pending UFA’s.” Interesting. Shopping is one thing… but are they at least listening to offers? You have to imagine that if GM Lou Lamoreillo receives a deal that knocks his socks off for either JVR, Bozak or Komarov… he makes the deal.
“I think they’re always open minded to whatever might be out there,” continued McKenzie. “But the better the team does, the less likely they are to trade one of their pending UFAs. That said, if the right player becomes available… then I guess they have to contemplate that.”