As the Toronto Maple Leafs inch closer and closer to the Trade Deadline with their intents very clearly expressed, trade proposals are being thrown around left and right within the Leafs fandom. Selling teams have been throwing out asks for certain players. We know the price for Mattias Ekholm is on par with the Jake Muzzin package (which I would jump on without a second thought). Mikael Granlund, also on Nashville, will probably require significantly less due to his overall value and expiring contract.
But how much less? That we don’t know, but we should at least know what kind of players we’re talking about when a team asks for “a pick, a prospect, and a player.”
2021 and 2022 Picks Available
The Leafs have a very clean draft pick cupboard. The 2021 3rd went in the Jack Campbell trade to LAK, and the 7th was traded to Boston so the Leafs could have an extra pick at the end of the 2020 draft (where they took Ryan Tverberg). The 6th is still conditional to Ottawa, but I doubt Max Veronneau plays 10 games for the Leafs this season. Who? Exactly.
The Leafs have all their picks in 2022 and beyond. They don’t have any picks from other teams.
- 2021: 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th
- 2022: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th
Kyle Dubas has been clear that he’s willing to move his 2021 first round pick. In terms of the player it would bring if kept and drafted, the people who I trust that have a handle on the draft say this year is relatively weak at the top and mostly even from the middle of the first to about the third. That means the top two picks the Leafs currently have are probably worth about the same. Considering Kyle Dubas and the Leafs pride themselves on finding diamonds in the rough, I wouldn’t think they’re super worried about missing out on talent without one of their top two picks.
2022 has experts frothing with all the talent available, meaning the player taken even 32nd overall will be a useful impact player in a few years. Keep that pick. For right now, depending on the player, I’d be willing to move either the 2021 first or second. And, personally, if you’re giving up a first, try to go all-in and get someone like Ekholm or Taylor Hall. Make it worth it.
Tier A Prospects
The Leafs have done some good PR and marketing on Timothy Liljegren because he’s become part of this Tier A prospect group the Leafs say they’re willing to move someone from. Liljegren is a good prospect and a good defenseman, but he was on the trailing edge of this group that includes the usual suspects: Nick Robertson, Rodion Amirov, and Rasmus Sandin.
Even though Dubas has said he’s willing to move someone in this group, I am not a fan of this option. I would rather move the first and keep these guys who are one-, two-, three-, four-years older and well on their way to the NHL. An Ekholm deal certainly won’t include one of these players; Muzzin’s deal certainly didn’t include someone of this calibre. For Hall? I’m not sure, but dealing with all the money is certainly going to increase the cost.
Tier B Prospects
The players on this list are from 2018, 2019, and 2020. The Leafs don’t have any prospects in this tier from 2017, and the players in 2016 are no longer prospects, so this is the list team’s will be shopping from if they want a “B level prospect.” I feel bad for the 2020 guys because they’ve been just drafted and some of them haven’t even played this year. I don’t anticipate someone from that year to be traded unless the team acquiring them is annoyingly persistent.
2020 Draft: Topi Niemela, Roni Hirvonen, Veeti Miettinen (an NCAA stand-out rookie)
2019 Draft: Filip Hallander, Mikko Kokkonen, Mikhail Abramov, Nick Abruzzese
2018 Draft: Semyon Der-Arguchintsev, Mac Hollowell, Filip Kral
I’ve thrown in some of the NCAA prospects where they’re more likely to be in the tier below just because a lot of NHL teams in America have an affinity for the NCAA and they’ll take lots of guys from there because they’ve seen them more often.
With the possible exclusions of Hallander and Niemela, if you picked two of these guys and traded them for a top guy at the deadline, it would sting but I wouldn’t be harshly against it.
Looking at the Muzzin deal because it’s very familiar, Sean Durzi and Carl Grundstrom kind of fall in the Kokkonen and SDA territory, not close to the top end of this tier. As much as it would hurt Brigstew, Abramov and Hollowell would also fit the bill. Pick two of those guys to move and I think you still have a very good farm team considering where the Leafs are in their competitive cycle. There are lots of guys here who can be useful ELC players in the coming years, from Hirvonen to Kral (I like Kral a lot).
Tier C Prospects
These guys are still young enough to have hope, but the likelihood of them succeeding isn’t great. It’s also a tier where teams that could be trading for them see more than we do and will overvalue them. All of these players have been playing, meaning scouts have reason to pump them up in meetings. Again, I’ll sort by draft:
2020 Draft: Artur Akhtyamov, William Villeneuve, Dmitry Ovchinnikov, Axel Rindell, Ryan Tverberg (NCAA guy)
2019 Draft: Michael Koster, some people would put Kokkonen in this tier as well
2018 Draft: Pontus Holmberg
2017 Draft: This draft was not pretty. I don’t think any team has interest in Eemeli Rasanen, and no one’s seen Ian Scott play in years. It’s hard to value a guy more than the team that has them if they haven’t been playing.
Again, not too worried about giving someone up here. You’re hoping a team over-does it on their evaluation.
These are guys on the Leafs currently that would send money back in a trade or help a team in a bind surrounding the Expansion Draft. I don’t know what the Leafs have planned for Travis Dermott, but he’s on the list because of Seattle and his future with Sandin looming behind him. I would personally put Holl on there if it means a big upgrade to his spot on defense and little going the other way in terms of prospects. Alex Kerfoot is obviously here because of his cap hit. If you ask me, Ilya Mikheyev has been falling down the lineup all season and is making twice as much as he should. On a retained deal for someone like Granlund, he could make a trade cap neutral. Pierre Engvall is also on this list, but I think the team have come to like his versatility as a 3C (imagine that six months ago).
- Alex Kerfoot (2.5 years at $3.5 million)
- Ilya Mikheyev (1.5 years at $1.645 million)
- Pierre Engvall (1.5 years at $1.25 million, RFA after)
- Justin Holl (2.5 years at $2 million)
- Travis Dermott (0.5 years at $874,125, RFA after)
These are basically the Marlies. Guys who can play minutes on a tanking team, a roster spot going the other way, you know how it goes: Adam Brooks, Nic Petan, Kenny Agostino, Joey Anderson, Scott Sabourin, Alexander Barabanov, Denis Malgin, Calle Rosen, Teemu Kivihalme, Joey Duszak (he’s probably not getting qualified this summer).
Do the Leafs give up one of their "A" prospects?
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Which roster player gets traded first?
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Would you trade Freddy Andersen for 100 duck-sized Jack Campbells or for 1 Jack Campbell-sized duck?
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100 duck-sized Jack Campbells
1 Jack Campbell-sized duck
Only if that Duck is John Gibson