Valteri Filppula was almost a Maple Leaf.

Filppula, who is usually Tampa’s third line centre, bears a passing similarity to Leo Komarov.  And not just becuase they’re Finnish.  Filppula never shoots the puck and scores very few goals.  He does, however, like to pass, and he’s good at it.

But a playmaking depth centre is not someone you need to pay $5 million in cap hit for for this year and next.  If a deal was in the offing, it seems like the plan was to take him as a salary dump with some kind of sweetener, or at least a deep discount on Brian Boyle.

There is speculation that Filppula, who has a no-trade clause where he submits a list of teams he’ll take a trade to each year, did not have Toronto on his list, and wasn’t willing to make an exception.

Two reasons may have come into play there: he’s done the Mike Babcock merry-go-round before in Detroit and was rumoured to be glad to jump off of it, and the Leafs have proven that they will get rid of high-contract veterans one way or another if they can’t use them.

It’s a trade that only happened in an alternate universe, but it does show that the Leafs made all that cap room via LTIR for a reason, and they will use it if a deal comes along.