With the All-Star break now behind us, the commerce deadline looms massive and is lower than a month away. Where does every staff stand, and what strikes ought to they be trying to make? We proceed our look across the league with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

It has been practically 20 years because the Maple Leafs received a playoff spherical. Despite six straight appearances within the Auston MatthewsMitch Marner period, the staff hasn’t been capable of finding any success within the postseason. With one other first-round date with the Tampa Bay Lightning all however sealed, each effort from the administration workers wants to assist get them over the hump.

Remember, Matthews and William Nylander are scheduled for unrestricted free company after subsequent season, with Marner and John Tavares beneath contract solely by way of 2024-25. General supervisor Kyle Dubas is as soon as once more taking a look at making a big trade-deadline transfer to attempt to assist this core earlier than it’s too late.


31-13-8, second within the Atlantic

Deadline standing


Deadline cap house

$1.13M in LTIR reduction, 0/3 retention slots used, 49/50 contracts used, per CapFriendly.

Upcoming draft picks

2023: TOR 1st, TOR third, OTT third, TOR fifth, TOR sixth
2024: TOR 1st, TOR 2nd, TOR 4th, TOR fifth, TOR sixth, TOR seventh, OTT seventh

Trade chips

At final 12 months’s deadline, the Maple Leafs had been in a position to maintain onto their first-round decide, transferring three seconds and a 3rd for Mark Giordano, Colin Blackwell and Ilya Lyubushkin. This 12 months, that prime choice most likely must be on the desk in any negotiations that embrace an influence participant. The 2024 first-round decide can be most likely in play, however past that, there isn’t a ton of draft capital they’ll transfer.

So it involves the prospect pool for Toronto, which can be comparatively shallow. Matthew Knies was seemingly untouchable final summer season, however maybe the Maple Leafs would think about transferring him this time round in the suitable deal. Nick Robertson would have been a bit, however given his newest severe damage, he’s doubtless off the desk. Topi Niemela and Roni Hirvonen are mid-level prospects at finest that doubtless can’t convey again a severe difference-maker by themselves.

The focus could turn to some roster players, though that avenue also doesn’t hold much value for rebuilding clubs. Alexander Kerfoot could possibly be included in a deal to clear some cap house, however he shouldn’t actually be thought-about a commerce chip. The younger defensemen — Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren particularly — are doubtless too worthwhile to Toronto’s future to make them obtainable.

Among groups wanting so as to add on the deadline, the Leafs most likely have one of many worst asset swimming pools to tug from. That means Dubas and firm should search for artistic methods to enhance the roster as a substitute of getting right into a bidding warfare on the highest names. It’s laborious to think about them profitable a participant like Timo Meier, for example, once they should compete with deep, younger prospect swimming pools like those in New Jersey or Buffalo.

That’s to not say they received’t strive. Toronto has added yearly to attempt to fill gaps on the roster, and this 12 months needs to be no completely different.

Other potential commerce chips: F Fraser Minten, F Nick Moldenhauer, F Pierre Engvall, F Pontus Holmberg

Team wants

1) Top-six winger: There is a obtrusive gap within the Maple Leafs lineup, and it’s been there for plenty of years now. The second-line left wing spot has been crammed by plenty of completely different gamers — Kerfoot, Ilya Mikheyev, Alex Galchenyuk, Calle Jarnkrok — however none of them have been an ideal match. It’s why a participant like Meier continues to get linked to Toronto and why each different winger doubtless will likely be speculated on within the coming weeks.

2) Third-line heart: For a staff that’s normally thought-about “loaded” offensively, it might sound bizarre to see two forwards listed right here. The reality is, although, that Toronto is a comparatively robust defensive staff, with eight succesful NHL defensemen on the roster already. Could they enhance the again finish? Sure. But a real third-line heart that may drive some offense can be extra worthwhile.

David Kampf, at the moment in that function, set a career-high final season with 26 factors and has simply 32 objectives in his 369-game NHL profession. One of the issues the Maple Leafs have confronted in recent times is that if the Matthews and Tavares traces get shut down, the staff has no likelihood of scoring. Getting somebody who can elevate his linemates and drive play on the third line would transfer them quite a bit nearer than a marginal improve on protection.

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