There are 26 days remaining until the NHL trade deadline. More importantly the Leafs have 13 games remaining until the deadline, while sitting two points back behind Florida for the final divisional spot and 2 points back of Carolina for the final wild card spot. The Leafs are a pretty good team and I say they make it, but with 13 games remaining, Elliotte Friedman notes that Kyle Dubas is going to be patient to find out where they are before making his next move:
Toronto GM Kyle Dubas has had this to say to other teams regarding his team’s approach at the deadline: “Our players will decide what we do.” Their fortunes will determine whether or not the Maple Leafs pursue a right-handed defender or test the market on their UFAs-to-be. They played very well in a 5-2 win over Nashville in their first game back from the all-star break, with a tough game in Dallas coming up on Wednesday. They have looked into Minnesota’s Mathew Dumba who fits with Toronto’s modus operandi — he has three years remaining on his contract. As one exec said, “They are investigating every good defenceman on the market.”
Now, there are pros and cons to that approach, as adding a good player sooner may give them an edge in closing that gap, and the decision isn’t exactly “betting on themselves.” On the other hand, the Leafs going all in on sneaking into the playoffs at the cost of their future doesn’t hold a whole lot of appeal either. The safest bet seems to be avoid the rental market until the last possible moment, avoid selling to the last possible moment, and continue to find a hockey trade, and that appears to be the case right now.
The Leafs chasing down every good defenseman on the market is interesting, and something we’ve covered on the site previously.
Mathew Dumba has been explored at some length and an attempt was made to identify who the good right shooting options might be. The new information is that maybe we should move on from exclusively looking at the right shots. The market is pretty competitive and perhaps it’s better to find a lefty who can shift to the right side or force some existing personnel to the right. If we’re expanding the list to look at I’d consider Noah Hanifin, Darnell Nurse, Cam Fowler, and Jonas Brodin as other players to consider, and there is little doubt the Leafs have been rumoured to be interested in each of these players at one time or another as well.
For now the rabid speculation continues, but it seems more and more likely that the Leafs will have a new defenseman before the calendar turns to March.