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Saturday FTB: Hottest UFA defenceman is off the market

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The Leafs won’t get the top free agent defenseman that they wanted

Vancouver Canucks v St Louis Blues - Game Five Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

Well, it was fun while it lasted. We wrote a lot of articles and had tons of discussions about how the Leafs could fit the top free agent defenseman into their roster. But, late Friday evening, we had our hearts broken

We’ll always have those two days when Soucy was the hot commodity according to TSN.

Friday actually wound up having a small flurry of activity in terms of signings, trades, and rumours heating up. Let’s run through them all...

First, the Senators swung a deal to acquire their third player with the surname Brown:

Then, the Leafs re-signed Johnny Malgin to a league-minimum $700k deal to avoid arbitration — this amount actually frees up cap space during the off-season if they wanted to sign the second hottest UFA defenseman on the market...

Then, the Jets re-signed their backup goalie:

And lastly, as of writing this late Friday night there was an increase in CHATTER! from insiders that a deal sending Dubnyk to San Jose was getting close:

With the draft only days away at this point, we may start seeing more RFAs with arbitration signing new deals, or trades from teams trying to clear space or get more draft picks. I’m hoping for some real chaos!

ONTO THE LINKS

Pre-draft filler content: Examining the back half of the first round | by elseldo

Alex Pietrangelo contract offer coming from St. Louis this week, Tyson Barrie & Cody Ceci set to go to market | by MLHS

Prospect Roundup: Lehtonen on fire, Leafs earn letters | by Nick Richard at TLN

Best free agent bargains: Could Barrie be this year’s Shattenkirk? | by Sportsnet.ca

Match Game: Who should each Canadian team trade for? | by TSN

Adult rec hockey cases investigated in Toronto as minor hockey faces shutdown | by Sean Fitz-Gerald at The Athletic

NHL DRAFT & PROSPECTS STUFF

So the draft is starting Tuesday evening. One interesting part of this year is that some leagues have actually already started. So a lot of prospects eligible for this upcoming drafts have technically already started their D+1 seasons. That also means you get to see who’s coming out of the gate hot.

Here are how some of the Leafs prospects , or how some draft-eligible prospects the Leafs could be interested in, are doing so far.

Pontus Holmberg — playing center for the Växjö Lakers, and in three games so far he has a goal and an assist while averaging 17:58 per game.

Mikko Kokkonen — wearing an “A” for Jukerit in the Liiga, Kokkonen has played in one regular season so far. He had one shot and logged 19:52 of icetime on the second pair.

Mikhail Abramov — wearing the C for Victoriaville, the QMJHL also began its regular season last night. Abramov had two assists in the 4-0 win, and won 14/19 faceoffs if that’s your thing.

Now to the draft-eligibles...

Anton Lundell — wearing the C for HIFK in the Liiga, playing as their 1C in all situations. The biggest worries about him was his offense and his skating. So far he was lighting it up in the pre-season and scoring a goal in his one regular season game so far. The Liiga also tracks things like player movement and speed, and reportedly Lundell had the highest top speed of any player in the game. Please fall to 15th please please please.

Hendrix Lapierre was going into the start of this past season with some top-10 hype, but concussions that were not diagnosed properly and other injuries led to him missing a lot of time. And when he was playing, he didn’t seem as good as he did to start the year at the Hlinka tournament where he was one of Canada’s best players. Now he’s reportedly fully healthy, and so far in the QMJHL pre-season and his first regular season game last night, he’s back to looking dynamic and dominant. He had 2 goals, 2 assists and 3 shots in Chicoutimi’s 5-2 win in their season opener. If the Leafs don’t get someone like Lundell, Lapierre is among the few others in the next tier that are ranked around 15th.

Have a great weekend everyone!