The 2019 NHL Trade Deadline will commence on February 25th at 3 PM. Teams will be looking to improve their lineups, or dump some expendable players. The Toronto Maple Leafs will obviously be looking to bolster their blue line while not giving up key players in the process.
Here are some players that the Leafs are connected too, via rumors.
D Dougie Hamilton – Carolina Hurricanes
D Brett Pesce – Carolina Hurricanes
D Justin Faulk – Carolina Hurricanes
D Christopher Tanev – Vancouver Canucks
And here are some players that the Leafs could target that are currently on the trade block.
D Jake Muzzin – Los Angeles Kings
D Radko Gudas – Philadelphia Flyers
Here is my take on these players.
The Leafs and Hurricanes have long been connected to trade rumors since 2017 when it was rumored that the Leafs were going hard for Justin Faulk. Both teams can benefit from a trade, Carolina needs a top 6 forward, Toronto needs a top 4 right shot defenseman. I do believe however that Hamilton is out of the picture due to Carolina’s asking price. It was reported by Sportsnet that they were asking for Kapanen, and the Leafs made it clear recently that he’s not available. I think the Leafs can make a viable trade with Carolina for Faulk or Pesce in exchange for Johnsson+. I personally would be much more at ease with this trade as Johnsson in my opinion, isn’t as valuable as Kapanen is.
Christopher Tanev should definitely be out of the picture as his defensive play has worsened this year, and don’t forget that he’s injury prone. He hasn’t played a full 82 games in his 9 seasons in the NHL. I don’t think the Canucks are willing to move probably their best defenseman in the process either.
Jake Muzzin should seriously be considered by GM Kyle Dubas. He’s arguably been the Kings’ best defenseman this year while being on the corps with the likes of Drew Doughty. Muzzin would perfectly fit on the top pairing, as Rielly can play on the right side quite better than Muzzin would be able too. The asking price for Muzzin is also very fair; the Kings’ are reportedly asking for a prospect and 1st rounder. Toronto’s 1st rounder is already on the block after being reported that Toronto is willing to move it. If the Leafs were to trade for Muzzin, I think Jake Gardiner or Nikita Zaitsev would be out the door via trade or free agency as their contracts won’t fit with Muzzin’s 5 million.
Finally, Radko Gudas. I honestly think the Leafs would benefit with him on their last pairing. He’s like an upgraded Roman Polak. I think that he would replace Ozhiganov most likely if traded for and balance out the top 6. I don’t think the ask for Gudas should be too high. Philly needs goaltending depth, maybe Hutchinson+ could be a good enough trade for them.
The Leafs will be looking to improve their lineup in any way come deadline time, and I think they’ll make a lineup changing trade if they really want to be serious Stanley Cup favourites this year. They can’t go in the playoffs with that defense if they want to win.
Follow @adamotweets on Twitter for Leafs related content.