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Coyotes’ Nick Schmaltz: A Target for the Maple Leafs?

If the Toronto Maple Leafs go slightly off the board at this season’s NHL Trade Deadline, Nick Schmaltz might be an option from the Coyotes.

Toronto needs to make a deep run in the playoffs this year, and adding impactful players at the deadline will be key. The Leafs’ defense is a problem, but strong center/wingers are always important. While there are factors to be considered, Nick Schmaltz could be a great addition to their depth chart.

Among those factors, Schmaltz’s 10-team no-trade clause kicked in this season, and it’s hard to know if Toronto could be on it. So too, Schmaltz’s $5.85 million cap hit could also be a tough pill to swallow.

Nick Schmaltz trade deadline Maple Leafs

Such uncertainties make a deal difficult, but not impossible. Even if Schmaltz does have Toronto on his list, what’s to say he won’t waive that clause to play for a potential contender? Schmaltz is a great addition to any team, and although this year has been a bit down, he was almost a point-per-game player the past two seasons. When it comes to money, the Coyotes would retain some salary if the Leafs were willing to give up the right package.

More factors come into play, but Schmaltz would be a huge upgrade for Toronto, even if it means they have to send back a Max Domi, or a Ryan Reaves Type. Most likely the Coyotes will be looking for draft capital meaning the Leafs would have to think a deal over. It has been reported the Leafs would rather not trade some of their younger players (Nick Robertson, Matthew Knies, etc.)

Should the Coyotes Move Schmaltz?

The Coyotes are in the midst of their worst losing streak in three years (10 games). As a result, they have dropped to the sixth-last position in the standings. The team had hopes of a late-season push; however, that looks unlikely at this point. Coyotes General Manager Bill Armstrong should use this opportunity to strengthen the team’s prospect pool and acquire more draft picks.

If a first-round pick is on the table a trade must be considered. Schmaltz has been one of the staples in Arizona consistently putting up points on the first line. He has also had a chemistry with team star Clayton Keller that is almost impossible to replicate. Armstrong must truly look at the pros and cons of a trade and determine what’s best for the organization long term. Schmaltz is turning 28 this month, likely won’t be at his peak when this team is ready to compete. Schmaltz’s value is also probably only going down from here on out, so now is the time to make it happen.

Other Trade Options

If a deal cannot be made for Schmaltz, whether it is due to salary, trade clauses, or any other factors, it doesn’t mean a Coyotes and Leafs trade is impossible. As mentioned earlier, the Maple Leafs defense is a known problem on the roster. Arizona has a few options that might help.

Troy Stecher is a name that could come up in discussions. Stecher is not a point-producing defenseman. That said, he has become a fan favorite in Arizona for his efforts on the blue line. He was dealt to Calgary at the deadline last season before resigning in Arizona in free agency. With a cap hit of only $1 million, he could easily be an option for Toronto.

Another name that comes to mind is goaltender Karel Vejmelka. “Veggie” would be a solid backup option in Toronto, giving them a bit more stability in net. His stats may not always look the greatest; however, you need to keep in mind he is playing behind one of the worst defenses in the NHL.

There are a few notable connections between the Coyotes and Maple Leafs. Shane Doan, Toronto’s assistant general manager is a Coyotes legend. Toronto’s current general manager Brad Treliving was once the assistant in Phoenix, and we have seen deals between the two in recent history.

A trade might not happen, but it seems to make sense when you look at both rosters and the team’s respective aspirations this season.

Next: Does Marc-Andre Fleury Make Sense for the Maple Leafs?

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