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James Tanner The Hockey Writers

Published on Sunday, November 29, 2015





Who the Leafs Should Trade and What They Could Get


A double-shot of Leafs Daily today. I Thought it would be fun to go through the Leafs roster and take a guess at who’ll be moved and what they’ll bring back.

Tyler Bozak

Odds of Moving: 100 %

Why He needs to go: Symbolic of the era all Leafs fans want to forget, Bozak is a negative possession player who is poor defensively and doesn’t score enough to make up for it. He’s never played a full season in which he was a positive possession player. He has a bad contract and is taking minutes from the likes of Peter Holland.

What Will he Bring Back: He is just about 30 and signed to a prohibitive $4.2 million cap hit for two more seasons after this one. There are many more bargains out there and so he won’t bring back much.  A second-round pick would be a home-run. Getting someone to take him without taking back equal salary would also be excellent. I predict the Leafs end up with a second-round pick and a bad contract in exchange for Bozak.

Nick Spaling:

Odds of Moving: 99%

Why He needs to go: He stinks.  40% possession with zero offense. Inexplicably playing a lot of ice-time, (averaging over 16 minutes and sometimes playing more) the Leafs appear hell-bent on playing him enough to make him appear valuable.

What Will he Bring Back: A fifth round pick is nothing to laugh at, you might just get yourself a Jamie Benn.  He’s a UFA so odds of someone taking him on as insurance for the Playoffs are decent.

Daniel Winnik

Daniel Winnik

Daniel Winnik:

Odds of Moving: 0 -5%

Why He needs to go: He doesn’t. You can’t rebuild with only kids and he’s an effective bottom of the lineup winger who can move up as need be. He’s been close enough to 50% possession enough in his career that I’m not too concerned about his weak rating so far.

What Will he Bring Back: I guess there is a chance someone could offer something the Leafs wouldn’t want to turn down for him, but honestly, I think they gave him that extra year for a reason. I don’t see him being traded.

P.A Parenteau:

Odds of Moving: Very High

Why He needs to go: Because he’s a UFA and generally effective. Sure, his 4 ES points and his 47% CF rating are not great, but he’s a power-play weapon who always ends up hovering around 50%.  His speed is dangerous and he’s cheap.

What Will he Bring Back: It’s hard to really gauge what an effective return would be. By March he’ll hardly have a cap-hit at all and would thus represent extreme value to a cap-tight playoff team. Depending on supply and demand, I wouldn’t be shocked if he could fetch a second-rounder.

Michael Grabner

(Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

Michael Grabner:

Odds of Moving: High

Why He needs to go: He’s a UFA and will have a cheap cap-hit by March. He is also very fast and an effective penalty killer. Even though he hasn’t performed great, he’s still miles better than most fourth liners and would represent added depth to a team looking for a playoff run.

What Will he Bring Back: Less than Parenteau, but more than you’d think. I bet he gets them a third.

Joffrey Lupul:

Odds of Moving: Low.

Why He needs to go: He is terrible at defense and part of the ex-core who need to be purged.

What Will he Bring Back: Nothing. I would assume he’d clear waivers at this point, but maybe a team would get desperate. If nothing else, the Leafs should move him for an equally bad contract just to delete him from the lineup.

(Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports)

(Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports)

Brad Boyes:

Odds of Moving:  85%

Why He needs to go: He doesn’t, but he’s a UFA who, again, will hardly have a cap-hit by March and would be a great depth option to any team with playoff aspirations.

What Will he Bring Back: He has 5 ES points in just under 10 minutes per game and is a 55% possession player. He should bring back a second, but he won’t because players like him are always undervalued. Who cares, he was a walk-on and anything they get for him is a profit. I say he’ll fetch a 5th.

Shawn Matthias:

Odds of Moving: 50% (I might consider resigning him).

Why He needs to go: If he does, it will be because he will represent a free asset and could be re-signed again in the offseason. He’s 27 and a pretty good player for the bottom of your lineup. I think he’s been a lot better the last few weeks than the first few.

What Will he Bring Back: I figure a fourth or a fifth round pick is about par for the course on this type of player. Maybe he could up his value between now and March though, he seems to have more scoring touch than has, as of yet, been apparent.

Leo Komarov:

Odds of Moving: Depends on if the Leafs see themselves maybe making the Playoffs.

Why He needs to go: He doesn’t. He is an excellent player and turning into an elite defensive force. I would keep him, however, he may have made himself into a desirable trade option and given where the Leafs are, they have to consider it.

What Will he Bring Back: I would figure he could be traded for a decent prospect or a late-first or second round pick, but the NHL tends to underrate defensive value, so I’ll say a second-rounder would be his price.

(Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports)

(Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports)

James Van Riemsdyk:

Odds of Moving: 50%….but climbing with every loss, I would think.

Why He needs to go: I don’t necessarily think he does, since I believe the Leafs could have something special in him and Kadri, however he is also their best trade chip.  It’s all about if you think the rebuild began with Kadri, JVR and Gardiner or if it began when Rielly was drafted.

The Leafs are loaded with top-ten picks so it does make sense to argue that they’re much farther along in their rebuild than generally acknowledged. We’ll find out where management stands on if and when they trade Van Riemsdyk.

What Will he Bring Back: He’s in his prime, perhaps still getting better and signed to a pretty sweet contract.  I would think he’d bring back another blue-chip top-of-the-draft prospect.

Dion Phaneuf:

Odds of Moving: Eventually, 100%. This year? Beats me!

Why He needs to go: His contract is terrible and he is the captain of a team that was absolutely terrible in comparison to expectations. I am a fan of his, but it’s time for him and the team to part ways. It would be best for both parties, obviously.

What Will he Bring Back:  The Leafs would be lucky just to be able to move him, his contract is that bad. A best case scenario sees them taking back more salary for a shorter term and stair-stepping down from there.

Roman Polak:

Odds of Moving: 100%

Why He needs to go: Because he is not an NHL defensemen anymore.

What Will he Bring Back: Not much.

Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Matt Hunwick (2) during the NHL game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Carolina Hurricanes at the PNC Arena.

Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Matt Hunwick (2) during the NHL game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Carolina Hurricanes at the PNC Arena.

Matt Hunwick:

Odds of Moving: 90%

Why He needs to go: To give the Leafs young prospects a chance for more NHL ice time.

What Will he Bring Back: He’s a bottom pairing on most teams, so maybe a 5th?

Jake Gardiner:

Odds of Moving: 0.5%

Why He needs to go: He doesn’t. He should be considered untouchable.

What Will he Bring Back:  If he did get trade, it would have to be a blockbuster.

Also check out today’s other Leafs Daily post: How to Get the Most out of the Current Lineup.

Thanks for reading.


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