Hey everybody, the other day I was reading a lot of different social media posts talking about US Thanksgiving, or the 20 ish game mark, and how the NHL trade market usually opens up right around that time. That got me thinking, if I was Lou, and I have a four day break, what would I do? And for people that love drama, it’s a fantasy GM post. I don’t have the power to make these moves. I only wish I did.
I’m going to preface all this by saying that of course everything depends on the return. So we’ll just assume that the return is fair on all trades.
First of all, the Leafs will have to deal with a clause in Soshnikov’s contract that says if they don’t call him up by November 14th, he CAN go to the KHL. His agent has said that he wants to stay in the NHL but I’m sure if he’s offered some decent money by a KHL team, he may leave.
With the glut of wingers that Leafs are carrying right now, they would almost have to move someone to get Sosh up with the big team, but they DON’T HAVE TO.
Personally I’m a big fan of Soshnikov and I know Babcock is as well. He calls him greasy or I might guess off-camera he says fkn greasy. Anyway, I think we can all agree that this team could definitely use a little more grease. They already have a lot of scoring but a team needs different kinds of players. Unless you have 12 Auston Matthewseseses, then that’s a totally different story.
What I would do in this case is move Josh Leivo to another team. The guy is definitely an NHLer and it seems pretty clear that Babs only uses him when he has to. This way Babcock gets a player that he REALLY likes and the Leafs would get something back for a player that is used sparingly.
I’m not going to speculate to much as to what the team would get back but I would think they could probably get back a conditional 2nd or 3rd rounder from a team like Anaheim, if he plays a certain number of games. Anaheim has said they need a scoring LW.
So then the lines still look the same as usual with a healthy squad:
Extras are 41 (Soshnikov) and 24
So now on a healthy squad you have Soshnikov as the extra and they still don’t have a spot for #24 Kapanen who is a capable NHLer as well. This is where I think Lou would make a decision for the upcoming UFAs. I think they should move at least one of Bozak, Komarov, or JVR.
The Leafs are not very deep at C so that makes me me keep Bozak. Now I’m left with JVR and Leo. JVR is still putting pucks in the net but struggles without it. Komarov seems to be losing a step, getting late to players with the puck, and not scoring like he has in the past. They are two different types of players as well, so it isn’t exactly apples to apples.
In this case I’m going to assume here that they would get more for JVR and the team can replace that type of player with others that they have in the system. And move him now while is his value is high! He’s streaky and is scoring now! Even though Soshnikov is a lot like Komarov, I think Babcock’s influence with Lou would have them keep a veteran for the grind with so many young players.
I can also see all the reasons why someone wouldn’t want to see JVR traded. He does score 25-30 goals and even if the team loses him at the end of the season, it’s like he’s their rental. They also lose an effective player on the power play.
What would they get for JVR? I’m not sure about that but what I do know is that he isn’t getting a top 4 D like a lot of people think. Even though we joke about certain GMs not being the sharpest knives in the drawer, NOBODY is high enough to make that trade. I can see a second rounder in this deep draft or possibly a conditional 1st depending on his production with his new team.
Now going back to what we may lose with JVR gone, with his replacement, they can strengthen that third line by being more defensively responsible. Spending less time in their zone would logically mean spending more time in the offensive zone. If they spend more time n the offensive zone, that allows Marner to get HIS game going. That would lead to more production for Marner and offsetting anything lost from a missing JVR.
Now if the Leafs really want an upgrade at D, they could package the assets they get in those two trades, and a couple of their own assets to make a real push. The truth is, we really don’t know what they want to do because that management group is a tight ship. Everyone just thinks they want one because of the narrative that’s always being driven by mainstream media. However, the attempt at getting Hamonic last summer does lead us to think that IS something they want to do. If not, we may hear Lou say this at the end of the trade deadline.
So now by inserting Kapanen in the lineup, who I think would be the best player for that spot out of their pool of prospects, the lineup would look like this.( Even though he is a RW, I think he can easily adapt as a LW.)
The extra is still Soshnikov
Now that I see Brown on that fourth line, I say to myself, ‘Screw it. Komorov needs to be shifted down to the fourth and Brown bumped up to the 2nd line!’ But this isn’t about what I think Mike Babcock should do, it’s about what I think Lou Lamoriello should do.
Now if I was Babcock my lines would end up looking like this,
41 is the extra
I would work in Soshnikov and rotate him with Komarov to start and see where that leads. My only concern would be not having a grinder on that third line. It is something Babcock likes, and I kind of like it now too. They can always make adjustments as they need along the line.
Now do I think Lou could accomplish all these things in 4/5 days? No. As much as I think he is ‘SUPER GM’, that’s a lot to ask. I think he should start with moving both Leivo and JVR and go from there. Then he can sit on those assets until a deal comes along closer to the trade deadline and get THAT defenceman.
Of course I don’t expect many people to agree completely, or even partially with what I’ve written here and that’s great. Most of you are probably glad that I’m not in charge, and most of you probably think I’m nuts. And that OK too. Why? Because it spurs debate and conversation and it’s OK to respectfully disagree on many points.
Now if Lou doesn’t accomplish any or all of these things will I be upset? Not at all. After all, it’s one thing for me to be the fantasy GM and it’s a completely different ball game being the real deal.
Have a good one.