The Toronto Maple Leafs might not do much prior to this year’s NHL Trade Deadline. But, if they do anything, it will likely be searching around the NHL for a goalie and ultimately landing on the decision to add a depth defenseman. GM Kyle Dubas has made his blue line a priority this season, shooting down the idea that an impact forward or a goaltender might be his to-acquire list. Things changed slightly last week when Petr Mrazek started to struggle and Jack Campbell went down with a rib injury, but Dubas’ cap situation hasn’t changed.
Already a deep team at forward, much of what Dubas might do with his blue line will be determined by the prognosis of Jake Muzzin, whose $5.625-million cap hit is currently resting on long-term injured reserve. The team expects to have him back in time for the postseason and if so, the Leafs can’t use his salary as space to add another player. Dubas will have about $2 million to play with.
When asked which direction Dubas was leaning in terms of available defensemen, he explained:
“A lot of it is gonna depend on Muzzin’s health and where we’re at. We still have quite a bit of flexibility to get creative and try to make something happen. But unless we get the news we don’t want on Muzz, I think we’ll just have the one move left in us here.”
Suggesting their defense can be hit and miss at times, Dubas still maintains he has confidence in his goaltending tandem of Jack Campbell and Petr Mrazek. Even though Campbell has struggled since December, Dubas noted, “They both have shown themselves to be good goalies, and they will be.”
Who Will The Maple Leafs Add?
Toronto has been connected to a few names. Justin Braun from Philadelphia sounds like an option, as is Luke Schenn from the Vancouver Canucks. Could Toronto really try to make a splash and are they one of the teams bidding for Ben Chiarot of the Montreal Canadiens? Time will tell, but with the deadline only a couple of weeks away and with Dubas already publicly stating he’d like to get out ahead of this year’s deadline, he doesn’t have a ton of time to make his decision.
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