Updating with this news:
The #leafs will send their 2025 second-round pick to the #coyotes to complete last February's Nick Ritchie/Ilya Lyubushkin trade, per source.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) February 25, 2023
Arizona had until last night to select between Toronto's 2023 third-rounder and its 2025 second-rounder.
I snuck out a post just in time about the room and the assets the Leafs have ahead of the deadline. Then they spent it all.
Or have they?
Right now, the Leafs are coming off a weekend where they added an extra goalie to cover for Ilya Samsonov’s illness. But imagine a world we’ll shortly be in where Matt Murray is ready to return. The Leafs will send their extra goalies back to the AHL, and activate Murray and have about $500,000 in LTIR pool room. That’s with a roster of 23, and no one left on the roster with waivers exemption.
The Leafs finished their big trade with exactly the same SPC space they started with, so the room is: 49 SPCs, which allows Matt Knies to be signed; and not enough LTIR pool to add a player without removing someone from the roster.
The reason the Leafs have 23 players on the roster now is they have eight defenders and only one extra forward with no waiver exemption.
Come March 3, the 23-man goes away, but waivers and cap ceilings don’t.
This list is now hilariously small. The Leafs have:
- 2023 - an untradeable 3rd (under a condition), a 5th, and a 6th
- 2024 - a 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and Ottawa’s 7th
- 2025 - a 1st, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th/
And because Kyle Dubas traded only Mikhail Abramov off the prospect list, they still have all the prospects discussed last time.
Can They Make a Move?
Yes! All sorts of them. The minimum level is to decide you think Joey Anderson will clear waivers, in which case you can add a player at just over $1 million.
A variation on this is to decide that Jordie Benn is better turned into a pick than saved as depth and then you can add a player at just over $1 million.
Now, you might ask yourself if you can find a player better than Anderson or Benn at that price (factoring in the pick that would be spent), and that’s a key question the answer to which is likely no, but you might get a better fit, a better type.
I don’t see any big holes on the Leafs, so this is not a move they must make.
The next level up is to move out real salary, Justin Holl at the low end, up to his twin in “still not traded” status, Alex Kerfoot, at the high end and you add in someone who is a genuine upgrade.
Glances around. Looks at the assets. I’m not feeling this very strongly, but the one thing that is worth watching is Kerfoot. If he’s going to idle away on the fourth line, because his versatility has been supplanted by Acciari and O’Reilly, then sure, make it something like $5 million or even $6 million in space by squeezing the roster and moving out Kerfoot.
If you’re in, you’re in. But if you’re giving up Kerfoot, it’s gotta be a forward coming back at at least the third-line level, unless Sheldon Keefe really likes Joey Anderson more than we think he does.