A few days back I picked my 5 players who the Leafs aren’t getting:
One of those five has already been traded, and two are heavily rumoured to other teams, so I’m pretty happy with my record so far. Naturally, I should do five more and double my chance of being wrong.
32 Thoughts reported today that this trade is heating up. The Schenns are about to have another baby and Vancouver don’t want to make his life too complex right now, so that affects the timing.
But Toronto is not looking for a return engagement.
Back in Toronto for a few days after a redeye from LA. As Chychrun Watch continues, another name to keep tabs on, as I just noted on @TSN690, is Luke Schenn. Lots of talk this morning that things are getting close there. CGY/BOS still in mix, heard TB is out. Price: 3rd RD pick +— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) February 13, 2023
I really expected Tampa to go for it, but they may have other things they are prioritizing than “good in the room” depth.
Boeser is definitely on the market, and he is the guy everyone who doesn’t want to pay for Timo Meier is going to look at. I think he’s a good player, but he’s nothing but offence, and is the classic hopeless defensively winger who isn’t quite good enough at scoring to justify the price unless you are a team that can slot him into a spot where he doesn’t need to contribute other than around the net. Teams that really value goals will be going for him, pushing his price higher than the Leafs would want to pay. He’s also a RW, which is not ideal. I don’t see the fit.
Toronto is the last place he could go and prosper. He needs a team that has the patience to work with him in the AHL and get him back to playing well, and that’s not the Leafs. The Oilers need to move him, and he might even go on waivers today. But a team that is not in the basement, but also not in the playoffs yet is where he can discover if the NHL is where he belongs or not.
I once wrote the case for acquiring him because he fits a role Dubas has tried to fill — forechecker who knows what to do with the puck once he gets it. Hockey valorizes hitting just for the sake of performing toughness, so this is actually a pretty rare skill. Lots of players hit, and most of them are utterly clueless about anything else. They learn the PK in the AHL, they jut out a square jaw and wear their hair short back and sides and stand straight on armed forces night. But they aren’t good hockey players. Bertuzzi is actually good.
But the whole vaccine and border issue says this isn’t happening. (I think he’ll be re-signed and not traded, anyway.)
It is alleged that the Leafs have talked to Vancouver about Myers, and they may have, but I don’t buy that Dubas would buy on a player like this.
Any time you can get a guy below the 11th percentile, whose entire value in a GAR model is other people’s shooting, you gotta snap that up. And at only $6 million for two yeas! He could easily be outplayed by Jordie Benn. Maybe even Victor Mete. I’d rather have Zaitsev back.
One Forward One Defender
One of each I’d want? I don’t see a real top four defender out there, but a guy who could play well on a second pair or lower down — masses better than Myers — is the inexpensive Jake Walman from Detroit. I don’t see any reason other than he’s a pending UFA that Detroit would move him, but he’s a nice under the radar good player.
A riskier choice for forward is Conor Garland. He’s just all-around good, and is the kind of multi-skilled player the Leafs could really use. His contract is not absurd at just under $5 million, and he’s only 26. The bad news is that he’s got three more years after this one.
But is that bad news? My first thought was that it is, but with the cap set to start climbing, isn’t that going to be a bargain deal for a middle-six forward when it expires? Also, it keeps the schema of only having guys named Conor if they have one n, so for that reason, he should come here.