The Toronto Maple Leafs have been linked with different names this year, with the likes of Erik Gudbranson, Ian Cole, and Mike Green at the forefront of discussions.
There were 20 scouts at the Toronto-Ottawa game on Wednesday, and while the Senators are the dominating team on the rumour mill, the Leafs have some potential rental players of their own in Bozak, Komarov, JvR and others.
Toronto is on their bye week until the 15th, so it isn't unusual that their scouts will spread themselves out a bit and take in some game action across the league.
However unusual it may be, it is interesting to note that among 18 teams represented at a Buffalo Sabres/Columbus Blue Jackets match tonight, the Leafs are the only team there with two representatives. It's always interesting to note which teams are scouting which games, and even more so when there are multiple scouts at the same place.
It's typically an indicator of a higher level of interest in a player, or interest in multiple players that requires more eyes.
In this case, there's the obvious big name on the market in Evander Kane. While not completely out of the question that Toronto tries to acquire him, it's hard to picture exactly how this deal shakes out. The rumoured price is a 1st round pick, and a couple strong prospects. The Leafs could certainly put something together, but is their need for a scoring winger as strong as it is for a defenseman?
While the need is stronger for a right defenseman, a player who's been on the market for awhile on the Blue Jackets' blue line is Ryan Murray. The left shot D was a 2nd overall pick back in 2012, sandwiched between Nail Yakupov and Alex Galchenyuk.
He's never been a point producer - he has a couple season with 20 or more points in the NHL, but his game is more all-around, something that sits well with Leafs head coach Mike Babcock.
The left side on the Leafs' roster has Morgan Rielly, Jake Gardiner, Andreas Borgman, and Travis Dermott. Needless to say, there's depth there.
Both Kane and Murray are stretches as far as acquisitions go for the Toronto Maple Leafs - but that doesn't mean they are the only ones being targeted. The Sabres are shopping just about every single player not named Jack Eichel - and the Leafs might have their sights set on someone unexpected.
There aren't a ton of names on that list that carry any interest - but Rasmus Ristolainen sticks out. He's a big, mobile right-shot defenseman who can produce. Drafted 8th overall by the Sabres in 2013, he was and for the time being is expected to be the future of the team's blueline, but with the news earlier this season that everyone is available for the right price, barring Eichel, maybe Lou Lamoriello comes up with a package suitable for the hulking defenseman.
It's hard to imagine Buffalo parting ways with one of their top defensemen, but you can bet Lamoriello is at least going to try.
Photo Credit: Keystone Press