Category Archives: Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto Maple Leaf News and Rumors
I'm told, without detail, #Leafs could be working on trade involving D that will clear some cap space and ensure Morgan Rielly stays.
— Howard Berger (@Berger_BYTES) October 14, 2013
If Bernier turned out to be what he is at least beginning to appear to be — if he turned out to be what Lombardi says he expects him to become, which is an elite NHL starter — it’s worth thinking about what it could mean for the Leafs.
That basic description also applies to both Gardiner and Rielly, and with Gardiner – for all his talents – still more unpredictable than Carlyle wants, that could make him another odd-man out.
The problem here is that the Leafs really don’t have any cap space – it’s getting down into five digits territory – so they can’t exactly move Gardiner for a more established centre or defenceman (their two biggest needs) that makes more than his modest base salary ($875,000).
Difficult yes. Impossible no.
What we can tell you – for certain – is that Stastny would provide Leafs an immeasurable boost up the middle. His grandiose performance for the United States at the World Hockey Championships last May proved he still has a wonderful feel for the puck – as a play-maker and scorer. His valuation in the NHL has undoubtedly been skewed by toiling for a dismal Colorado club. Additionally, Avs appear to be well-established at center with Matt Duchene, Nathan MacKinnon and Ryan O’Reilly. Even with nearly $11 million in cap space, it’s difficult to imagine Joe Sakic forking over a king’s ransom to retain Stastny – still only 27.
It’s too early in the season to know for sure what defencemen are available in trades — that tends to be a function of their salary, their pending free agency status and what teams believe they’re playoff bound.
But you never know. In that spirit, here’s a list of defencemen who — if they squirt free that — the Leafs ought to consider.