The Toronto Maple Leafs needed to make significant changes to their lineup as they lost Morgan Rielly and Jake Muzzin on the back end. This has prompted teams to come circling around the Leafs in order to make a deal that would allow Toronto to acquire help on the blue line.
However, as Bob McKenzie explained on Tuesday night’s Insider Trading segment on TSN, the Leafs are making and taking calls on defensemen, but it is complicated by the fact that their short-term need at left defense doesn’t align with their long-term need at right defense!
This could be getting risky for GM Kyle Dubas:
“Lots of teams around the National Hockey League calling the Toronto Maple Leafs saying, ‘hey, would you like one of our defencemen? We could make you a real sweet deal.’ And I suspect the Leafs are making some calls of their own on that front. Now, the short-term strategy is to get through their next three games. Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, all home games. Then they get their bye and then they get their All-Star break. Now, Jake Muzzin, could be back in the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup coming out of that break, the Nashville game on Monday, January 27. The idea of trading for another defenseman is not entirely out of the question. But here’s where it gets complicated. The short-term need for the Leafs right now is left-side where Morgan Rielly is out and Jake Muzzin is out.
“But the long-term need beyond this season is more on the right-side. So the question the Leafs have to ask themselves and one that maybe other teams will be asking them as well, is are you prepared to trade Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson or Alex Kerfoot, those good young players at good contracts, for a likened contract on defense, a young defenseman. That is a hell of a needle to thread for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but that’s one of the questions they’re going to have to ask themselves.”
The Leafs could choose to wait after the All-Star Game to make a move, especially since Muzzin could return after the event. McKenzie also noted that preliminary contract talks have begun between Muzzin and management, which could have an impact on their trade plans.
We can’t forget the impact that rookie Rasmus Sandin had in last night’s win and so… there is a lot of things for Dubas to consider before he pulls the trigger on a trade.