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Maple Leafs Could Go Discount Shopping for Defense

According to one scribe, the Maple Leafs could go bargain hunting during free agency or look to make a smaller, less flashy trade.

Chris Tanev to Maple Leafs?

According to James Mirtle of The Athletic (subscription required), the Toronto Maple Leafs aren’t likely to move a core player for help on the blue line and the flat salary cap won’t allow them to add a big piece. As a result, the team could go bargain hunting during free agency or look to make a smaller, less flashy trade.

Mirtle mentioned an inexpensive contract like pending UFA veteran Chris Tanev out of Vancouver, citing he is ” someone who has played in a top-four role for a long time and might get squeezed in the new world order.” He adds, Tanev is the type of player “who can act as a short-term bridge to the next generation.”

Would Dubas Trade a Forward?

Mirtle was asked if the team might consider moving players like Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson, or Alex Kerfoot (there have been rumors about all three being moved), more specifically, if the Maple Leafs can get a decent return.

He doesn’t believe the Leafs will try a salary dump and while the team could get a player or prospect for Kapanen, injuries and so-so-seasons would affect the trade value for the other two. Mirtle writes:

One of these three probably has to go to make the cap math work, but with Johnsson especially, it certainly feels like selling low. If that’s the biggest blow the Leafs are dealt from a pandemic that decimates league revenue, however, you can live with it.

One thing is for certain, if the Leafs want to have anything resembling a good defense, they’ll need to do something. It’s likely the organization will lose both Tyson Barrie and Cody Ceci, leaving them with Morgan Reilly, Jake Muzzin and Justin Holl, with young prospects making up the remainder of the group.

Related: Eriksson Has No Desire to Stop Playing, Trade Option on the Table?

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