If you're a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs or a fan of the Edmonton Oilers and you have been waiting for your team to make a big splash this summer, it sounds like you might have missed out a potentially huge opportunity.
In a recent article for The Athletic Toronto Maple Leafs insider James Mirtle touched on what the offseason might look like for the Toronto Maple Leafs organization moving forward. Of course at the end of the day everything right now is currently hinging on Maple Leafs star forward Mitch Marner and whether or not he will come to terms on a new deal with the Maple Leafs as a restricted free agent, but in spite of that it still sounds like Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas is trying to make some big moves.
Dubas of course made a huge trade earlier this month when he sent veteran forward Patrick Marleau to the Carolina Hurricanes in a salary dump that cost Toronto a first round draft pick. That move seemingly opened up the necessary room for the Maple Leafs to begin actively looking at other moves they could make on their roster, and according to Mirtle they almost made a very big one. The Maple Leafs insider is reporting that the Leafs came very close to acquiring Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse in a trade that Mirtle himself suggested would have been a "blockbuster."
They’ve seemingly talked to every team in the league about every defenceman they could plausibly add, including some surprising names such as Darnell Nurse, a former Soo Greyhound whom Leafs GM Kyle Dubas apparently tried to pry out of Edmonton a few weeks ago in a blockbuster deal before talks broke down. They’ve also expressed interest in Carolina’s Jaccob Slavin, which was a non-starter for the Canes.
Unfortunately Mirtle did not share any information on what pieces the Maple Leafs had in play during those negotiations, but given the needs of the Oilers it seems highly like that one of Toronto's young forwards would have had to have been included in this package. In order for it to be elevated to the status of a blockbuster deal there must have been a pretty significant name involved from the Maple Leafs roster.
No word on why the deal fell apart either, but it will be interesting to see if these discussions pop back up before the 2019 - 2020 NHL regular season.