We’re in the final month of trading in the 2016/17 NHL season. The trade deadline is March 1st and by my guess we’re looking at a slower deadline for the Toronto Maple Leafs than we saw last year. The team is on the edge of making the playoffs and does not have many good players who could be considered traditional rentals. In previous years they’ve sent Roman Polak, Daniel Winnik, Olli Jokinen, James Reimer, and others off to contenders or playoff-bound teams, letting those players on expiring deals have a shot at something big before free agency.

Some of those have boomeranged back — Polak and Winnik both re-signed the following summer, but those players had the option to sign elsewhere; they chose to came back, so they weren’t really rented were they? They were bought, then discarded.

This year’s UFA crop on the Maple Leafs isn’t a batch of the best and brightest, so we may not see any “rentals” at all this year (via CapFriendly.com):

Ben Smith

Roman Polak

Matt Hunwick

Curtis McElhinney

Brooks Laich

Milan Michalek

Colin Greening

Also Stephane Robidas, but he doesn’t count at this point does he?

If we combined all of these players maybe we’d get a few picks. So, what should the Leafs do if they decide they won’t compete in the playoffs this year and want to make a little extra scratch? Something big to sweeten some trades at expansion draft time or the regular draft, or just draft more quality players.

What if we make some players actual rentals?

Not pending UFAs who may re-sign, but sending a player under contract for this and next season to a playoff contender with the intention that the receiver send the player back after the playoffs.

A quick example for you: Washington is all set for the playoffs. They’re locked in, it’s going to happen. On March 1st they finally think “Okay, we need some more fire power”.

Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellen rings up Lou and says “We need some help on offense, but our cap situation isn’t great. What would it take to get JVR for the rest of the season? We’ll return him when we’re done.”

Well, now things could get interesting.

What would up to three months of JVR net you? Bozak? Would someone want to part with a pick to have Leo pester opponents in the playoffs?

I myself would consider only players who are approaching UFA status for this. One year left on their deals, maybe let teams give the players a try before they buy, if you will. The kids aren’t going anywhere either. We have merchandise to sell.

Welcome to Hockey Player Bargainville! Grab a free bag of popcorn over by the door and browse our selection of the hottest new rentals, and some favourite classics.

Single Night Only

These were the most in demand movies to rent; new releases, big blockbusters, and they cost the most. One movie would take up 10% of the available space in the store because everyone wants it. This was the highest priced item, and you had better return it.

James van Riemsdyk
48GP - 17G - 23A - 40Pts

JVR is already having his third best season points wise. He scored 40 points in 10/11 with Philly, but took 75 games to do it. JVR is currently on pace for 68 points this season, which would pass his all time high of 61, which he had in 2013/14.

JVR would fetch a big return even as a rental for what he could bring to a team. You could even load up the deal with conditionals based on playoff performance. I would make sure it’s written in the trade agreement that JVR is sent back after the playoffs.

Three Day Rentals

Anything in this section is still new, still popular, but not anyone’s first choice. It won’t cost as much, but it’s not the bargain bin, that’s for sure. You could have the chance to pick a copy up to keep as well if you like what you see.

Tyler Bozak
45GP - 13G - 18A - 31Pts

Tyler Bozak is playing as Tyler Bozak does. He’s filling now as a 2nd/3rd line centre on a team where the combos are made up and the posted lines don’t matter. He’s trending towards a career high in points, 54, which is five higher than his previous high of 49 (in 54 games in 13/14 & in 82 in 14/15). Conditional picks based on performance could be included or extra items sent if the team who acquires him wants to keep him.

Leo Komarov
48GP - 8G - 8A - 16Pts

Leo is coming off a career-high last year of 36 points, so maybe the window on getting the most for him is closed. Katya will have more on trading Leo tomorrow, but there is value in a playing like Leo. Playoffs are stressful enough, but when you have a shit disturber trash talking you in four languages and driving your best players into the boards and into the madhouse, that adds to the frustration. Leo would be best rented by teams who will face the Oilers in the playoffs.

$1 per week rentals

These are the movies that only have one copy each, and sit by the window so the covers get sun-bleached. They’re cheap, they may not be the best, but you’ve been circling the store for half an hour now so just pick something up.

Matt Martin
48GP - 4G - 3A - 7Pts

Trade Matt Martin! Who would protect us from all the dangers that lurk in the world?! Calm down and think about this. Randy is back coaching. Randy likes his protectors. The Ducks are probably making the playoffs. Randy won his cup with what people call a ‘tough team to play against’ (forgetting that most of that toughness came from a hall of fame defense pairing). Could we convince Randy/Bob to pay enough to rent Martin that the Leafs get quality picks back? If anyone can do that move, it’s Lou. Or Dubas. Whichever one is the one that makes the good moves.

Martin Marincin
21GP - 1G - 6A - 7Pts

Look, the deadline is about to close and you don’t want to go home empty handed.

Someone told me this idea was pretty much like loaning players in soccer. I don’t know much about about soccer aside from the fact that the CFL is ruining it or something, but can we bring something like the soccer player loans to the NHL?

Who will be the first bold GM to make this happen? Are there any players you want to see the Leafs rent for a playoff run? What prices could the Leafs fetch? Share your ideas and remember: Please be kind and always rewind!