What the Leafs, Caps and Jets teams could do at the Trade Deadline
Toronto Maple Leafs: The Leafs are in the market for a center and possibly a defensemen. It’s possible they won’t have to add on defense if Jake Gardiner proves he can stick around this time and make a difference. But the Leafs definitely are thin at center and could use help there, especially if they want to get back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2004. One name being floated in Toronto is Mike Ribeiro, but it’s not clear what the Washington Capitals want to do with him. He is due to become an unrestricted free agent in July.
Washingon Capitals: Speaking of Ribeiro and the Capitals, it’s almost time for GM George McPhee to determine if he wants to fish or cut bait. The Capitals are near the bottom of the Eastern Conference, so even if they were to go on a hot streak they’d still have to pass several teams to get into a playoff position. If Ribeiro is part of McPhee’s plans going forward, then he probably would look to re-sign him instead of trade him, but Ribeiro also is the Capitals’ best trade bait because he’s a first- or second-line center with an expiring contract.
Winnipeg Jets: The Jets are contenders for the Southeast Division title, and if they want to go for it then expect GM Kevin Cheveldayoff to be active. He told the Winnipeg Sun he’d like to acquire scoring help toward the top of the lineup to inspire the rest of the team. He also hinted in the same article he’d be looking at center or right wing because he likes the production he’s getting out of left wings Evander Kane and Andrew Ladd. The Jets, though, have seven players on expiring contracts, so if the team falters, Cheveldayoff quickly could go into seller mode.