It's Super Bowl Sunday and most of the focus in North America is on the National Football League's championship game, but make no mistake about it team's around the National Hockey League were hard at work today as they prepared for the upcoming 2019 NHL Trade Deadline.
One such team on Sunday was the Toronto Maple Leafs who sent out a rather large scouting contingent to one of the afternoon game's in the NHL. No fewer than three members of the Maple Leafs scouting staff were spotted taking in the Sunday match up between the Edmonton Oilers and the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell center in Montreal. These were no low level scouts either and in fact included some of the more well known members of Toronto's professional scouting staff.
On hand for the game was the Maple Leafs' director of player personnel Dave Morrison and he was joined but 2 additional pro scouts in the form of Tom Waytt and Blair MacKasey. Now there's no way of knowing which of the two teams on the ice the Maple Leafs were there to observe, in all likelihood they took a good look at both sides, but with that kind of heavy scouting presence at one game you have to wonder if Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas and company don't have an additional move to make before the deadline. The Leafs of course have already acquired veteran defenseman Jake Muzzin from the Los Angeles Kings and it's unclear what else they could be looking to add from one of these two teams.
The Leafs have been linked in the past to a potential trade involving Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse and Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander and you have to wonder given the current needs of each respective team if they don't find a way to revisit that deal ahead of the deadline. Most rumors surrounding the Oilers have centered around either goaltender Cam Talbot or young forward Jesse Puljujarvi and I don't see an immediate fit for the Leafs in that scenario.
It's a similar situation for the Canadiens who honestly have not been connected to many rumors at all ahead of the trade deadline, perhaps due to the current position their team finds themselves in. The Habs look like they could contend for a playoff spot at this stage of the season so although many expected them to struggle, I can't imagine general manager Marc Bergevin will be looking to sell off a big piece ahead of the deadline this season. At least not unless he gets an offer he can not refuse.