Hi everybody, when I get the chance I like to tune into sports radio to hear different perspectives about either their thoughts on the Leafs game the night before, the upcoming game or players in the Leafs lineup. However I tune out when they get ridiculous about certain hypothetical trades.
Lately, even though the Leafs have a winning record and are in a playoff spot, I keep hearing more and more about who the Leafs should trade for a top D. Recently a piece was written by Bob McKenzie for TSN about trading Nylander for Oliver Ekman-Larsson, or at least the piece was considering what it would take for that trade to happen.
That got me thinking as to which D I think the Leafs should trade for. Do I think the Leafs should trade for a top point producing number 1 or 2 D? No, not all because we know the other team is going to ask for either Nylander or Marner. (They know Matthews is out of the question) Nobody wants that. As much as Lou and Babocock value defence, I doubt very much that they want to do that either.
Another option of course, which will probably happen, is they do nothing but let it happen organically. Meaning they just wait for the prospects to develop and fill in the top 4 roles.
I liked the following tweet referring to another blog saying the Leafs should consider trading for Weber.
I’m not a fan of this either unless a lot of factors were involved. If it doesn’t involve any of the big 3 and the Habs held back some salary. I doubt those things happen. So if OEL is a no go and so is Weber, where would we get this D? Well, probably nowhere unless we look at it from a different perspective.
Maybe what the team would look at is a defenceman that is more of a defender than a point producer. The Leafs generate quite a bit of offense from the back end as it is, and from the team as a whole. One of the problems they do have however is keeping shots down and giving Babcock more options on the penalty kill. He seems to mostly Hainsey and plays him close to 2 minutes every time they’re on the penalty kill. So where do we find this kind of defenceman?
We keep hearing in the media that by US Thanksgiving, the teams that hold a playoff spot will most likely make the playoffs. So based on that assumption, I’ll scour the league for the teams that look like they won’t make it.
I can’t see a successful team trading away a capable defender because going into the playoffs, you need as many as possible in case of injury. As we look around the league, remember we are looking for defenders that are potentially better than what we already have in the system.
I’ll start with the least likely Eastern Conference since most of the time trades are made with the opposite conference. So who’s in the fucken shitter in the east? Well, we have the Sabres, the Panthers, the Habs,and kinda/sorta the Flyers. The Sabres have nobody worthwhile, The Panthers have Matheson, but they recently signed him for 6 years at 4.875 schmil so I doubt they would let him go unless it was for quite a bit. And the Habs, well I just can’t see the Leafs making a trade with them unless they were really desperate. And they aren’t.
When I look to the Western Conference, I’m looking for who is in the shitter there and I see the Coyotes, the Oilers and then I see 8 teams between 23 and 25 points and all close to a playoff spot. I won’t bother with those.
I look at the Oilers and I can’t see them making a move on defence. I’m sure they think they still have a chance to make the playoffs with McDavid on their team, and to be honest, I can’t blame them. So in short, nothing there.
I look at the Coyotes and other than OEL, which would cost an arm and a leg, I see exactly what the Leafs could use. NIKLAS HJARLMASSON. He’s is a defensive minded defenceman, plenty of playoff experience (3 Stanley Cups) and can take a big load off of Hainsey’s back by picking up a lot of penalty killing time. And it’s a guarantee that Babcock would have faith in him.
I’m not going to get into speculating as to what it would cost for him, could be Kapanen and a 2nd for all I know, or where exactly he fits in the lineup but his cap hit is 4.1 schmil for this season and the next. Which means it’s done when Matthew’s extension would start and Hainsey’s contract would also be done. Also, I’m sure there would be a player from the Leafs, that has a high enough AAV, that would have to go back as well to make the books work for the Leafs.
What would be my preference? My preference would be to keep the team as is and let the defence develop even more this year. And definitely not move any top end assets.We can then see how they are after gaining that much more experience. The only problem I see with this is Hainsey might get burnt out by the time the playoffs come. He’s playing a lot of minutes at his age.
Some of that experience may even be with the Leafs through injuries. It is my understanding that the top Marlies/Leafs prospects are Dermott, Liljegren and Nielsen.
I don’t think Shanahan and Lamoriello expected the team to make make a Stanley Cup Final appearance this year. And I know the ‘Shanny Plan’ ,as Lou calls it, is not to sell the future for the WIN NOW mentality. At least not this early in the rebuild. I didn’t consider the UFA market in this case because that isn’t until the next off-season. That could be an option for the future though.
If this is any indication of what’s coming up from the Marlies, maybe waiting a little longer IS the correct path.
Have a good one.
PS I can’t wait to see who the knuckleheads are that freak out because of the picture without reading this. And don’t forget, clicking one of my posts doesn’t cost you anything. 🙂