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Maple Leafs To Change Direction?: First-Round Pick Their New Target?

Could the Toronto Maple Leafs shift directions and become a seller, moving some high-valued rentals for a first-round draft choice?

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With the Toronto Maple Leafs sitting outside the playoff scene, recent talk the Leafs might only look to acquire players with term or assets that can help down the road gets louder and louder. A new report suggests GM Kyle Dubas might completely shift his thinking if the team struggles over the next couple of weeks.

Instead of buying at all, the Maple Leafs might become sellers according to Rory Boylen of Sportsnet who wonders if Toronto would move some key defensemen to get a first-round pick in this year’s NHL Entry Draft. He writes:

“But say Toronto gets to Feb. 24 and are four or more points out of the race — do they sell Tyson Barrie to the highest bidder? Cody Ceci would move, if possible. And though Jake Muzzin said last week he’d like to stay in his hometown , if an extension isn’t signed by that time/and/Toronto is chasing? GM Kyle Dubas may have to explore trade options.

It seems hard to imagine a Maple Leafs team that was labeled as contenders would consider themselves as sellers but the reality of so many injuries, a massive coaching change and inconsistency can make it so a team needs to look beyond ways to make the playoffs and be ousted again early.

Rory did admit this would be a worst case scenario for the Leafs but something worth watching over the next two-to-three weeks. If the Maple Leafs are sellers, they immediately become a team with some incredibly valuable rentals for other teams. They go from being a team discussed early in the season as Stanley Cup players to the team all other contenders may look to in an effort to improve their rosters for a run at the post-season.

Just to add fuel to the fire, the Maple Leafs recalled defenseman Kevin Gravel from the AHL’s Marlies on Friday morning. Of course, this got people thinking a trade might be in the making.

Related: At Least 8 Teams Interested in Chris Kreider

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