It was not a surprise that the Leafs signed their few acquisitions, their RFAs, and then went dormant for the summer. But the summer is over, and now that the Leafs are clear on their cap situation with the Cowen buyout being official as far as that side of things goes, they can start hatching plots, scheming schemes and looking to clear their logjam of excess players.
You want lots of options in camp, particularly with the tight schedule for exhibition games at the end of training camp, so the Leafs are not in a hurry to make moves, but now is when other teams discover weaknesses or lose players to injury, and Lou might just have the deal to solve someone's problem.
Who is he likely to deal?
He seems inevitable to go sometime between now and the trade deadline. The argument against it being now is his salary, but the Leafs could retain on a deal if it was worth it now that they have some cap space.
The argument for now is that he is exactly the sort of guy that appeals to a team that has an absence of gritty wingers who can play up the lineup, and that is something you often discover in training camp.
The fact that his contract expires this summer is a bonus for any team. He's renewable at a more reasonable salary if you like him, he's gone if you don't.
He is the extra man here in a lot of ways. He's not waiver exempt; he's not showing up on anyone's forecast for a lineup, and he is old enough that it is fish or cut bait time.
He has offensive skills, a known track record of success in the AHL, and a hint of NHL experience that makes him look as plausible as Richard Panik, and the Blackhawks keep putting him on their top line.
He's also really cheap right now, so any cap-strapped team that wants an offensive depth forward could afford him.
Just because you find a hundred dollar bill on the sidewalk doesn't mean you have to keep it forever. You can spend it.
Corrado looks like the Leivo of the D corps. He's not waiver exempt, seems to have lost to Connor Carrick in Mike Babcock's heart, and as soon as Nikita Zaitsev proves himself at all, Corrado could be gone.
The argument for keeping him needs either a belief you can get him through waivers—not impossible for him or Leivo, it should be said—or a good reason to run eight defencemen on a roster flowing over with really good forward prospects.
Waivers or trade, he is the most likely defender to disappear off the Leafs before puck drop on October 12.
Remember him? He hasn't been getting any buzz lately. Rinat Valiev shone at the rookie tournament. Andrew Campbell and PTO defender Raman Hrabarenka drew in ahead of Loov in the first exhibition game, and there's a new face who is suddenly getting buzz: Andrew Nielsen.
Loov is still waiver exempt, but he turns 24 in a couple of months. If he can be an NHL player, he needs to be about that now. And there is no way he is moving up over the players ahead of him on the Leafs to take a spot now, barring some catastrophe.
He seems like he is destined to just become a Marlies' fixture until he becomes too old for them—and honestly, he's nearly there now. It's hard to imagine the Leafs tendering a qualifying offer next summer when his contract expires, so either he becomes the next Stu Percy, gone to greener fields for nothing, or they find a trade partner now.
James van Riemsdyk
It is understandable that his name keeps coming up in trade rumours. He is one of the few Leafs of old they didn't grossly overpay; he is young enough to be sought after, and he only has one more year after this on his contract.
He is also the only really blue-ish chip trade prospect that might get something really good coming back.
On the other hand, he's the best player on the team as of now. While he may be eclipsed soon by the likes of Marner, Nylander and Matthews, he hasn't been yet.
It is not unusual for teams to run three goalies in the AHL. Some make a habit of it, and the Orlando Solar Bears are sitting right there, ready to give any of the Marlies' trio of Garret Sparks, Antoine Bibeau or Kasimir Kaskisuo a conditioning stint.
But, it wouldn't be a shock to see one or even two of these goalies moved on as part of a package deal of prospects that don't look so much like gold to the Leafs anymore.
The man to watch in all of this is Jeff Glass, a professional goalie who has spent years in the KHL, and who was cut to the Marlies in the first round of training camp cuts. He's on a PTO only, and he might have been insurance against the expectation that Frederik Andersen and Jhonas Enroth would be at the World Cup for part of camp, but he could also be a very reliable AHL backup.
Once Marlies camp gets going, and as soon as the other three join him there, it will be easier to see where all these goaltenders will start the season. Some of them might not be in Toronto.
Who is going?
|JvR? (Don't tell Species this is here.)||643|
|One of those goalies||118|
|Someone not even mentioned here||668|
|Brandon Prust: Leafs will sign him and then trade him for a star!||347|