We're 10 days away from the trade deadline, and it should be a busy time for the Toronto Maple Leafs. They're firmly out of the playoff hunt, presently last in the NHL and looking to welcome a high draft pick.
But there's more to rebuilding than collecting high draft picks, and it ties right in with the trade deadline: teams have to maximize assets, and unrestricted free agents are a big part of that. The Leafs currently have roster nine players whose contracts are set to expire and be unleashed onto the open market: nine players they could be saying goodbye to forever.
Now, it's probably not realistic to expect every single UFA on the Leafs to be traded, but at least some of them should be. P.A. Parenteau, who's had a resurgence with the Toronto Maple Leafs, is one of them: but he's posing the ideal situation to a player rental.
Sell the UFA. Get assets back. And when he's an unrestricted free agent... simply bring him back, because Parenteau will be able to sign wherever he wants, including with the team that just traded him. And according to The Score, he's definitely open to it. (The power of Mike Babcock?)
This wouldn't be the first time this has happened. As the Score points out, the Leafs did the same thing with Daniel Winnik just one season ago: losing the player for a couple of months, but gaining a couple of draft picks in the process.
They aren't the only team that's been able to pull this off, either. Last season, the Arizona Coyotes traded Antoine Vermette for a prospect and first round pick. Vermette won the Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks, and then went right back to Arizona in free agency.
It's something the Leafs and Parenteau could do. So maybe the question isn't should the Leafs trade or keep Parenteau: maybe it's should the Leafs trade and keep Parenteau?