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Five Far Too Bold Predictions for Maple Leafs Free Agency

The Toronto Maple Leafs will hit free agency in three days. What will happen? What are Old Prof’s five predictions about who will stay or go?

In this post, I’m going to go out on a very precarious limb to offer my Five Predictions about what will happen with the Maple Leafs just prior to free agency starting in three days. 

Prediction One: Ilya Mikheyev Is Gone

There never was much of a chance that Ilya Mikheyev would stay anyway. My guess is that something happened – perhaps the coaching staff questioned his work ethic or play – to “encourage” Mikheyev to request a trade. The team refused a year ago, but Mikheyev didn’t forget.

When Dan Milstein pumped the Maple Leafs’ tires (metaphorically) by saying that they were a first-class organization and they had treated his client well, it seemed only to make sense if his client was close to leaving. 

Here’s predicting that he will leave.

Related: Maple Leafs Quick Hits: Kase, Engvall, Kallgren & Woll

Prediction Two: Ilya Lyubushkin Is Gone

Ilya Lyubushkin might not have the best analytics and he is nothing for offense; however, he has three things going for him. First, he has the size and is a physical player. He hits. Second, he’s a right-shot defenseman. There aren’t many of them around these days. And, third, he’s relatively cheap. 

If there’s a chance that he’ll stay it’s first because he made close friends on the team and second because he became used to winning. He hadn’t experienced much in terms of winning with the Arizona Coyotes, which can be addictive. For his friends, he had the always affable Michael Bunting in his corner even before Lyubushkin came to the team. And, when he made a goal, it was like Mardi Gras – the team went nuts. 

Those two things might tip the scales; however, he’ll be offered more money than the team is willing to pay. And, in this case as in many, money talks. I think he’d like to stay in Toronto, but will be offered too much somewhere else.

Prediction Three: Rasmus Sandin Stays (but Unhappily)

The biggest issue here for Rasmus Sandin is that the team has control. If there’s an offer sheet for Sandin that much over $2 million, I think that the only case where the Maple Leafs might allow him to leave. 

Interestingly, when Maple Leafs’ general manager Kyle Dubas talks about Sandin (or vice versa, Timothy Liljegren) he speaks about both of them in the same sentence. He’s linked them together in his conversation with the media. That’s likely to mean that he wants to sign Sandin for the same $1.4 million per season that he’s signed Liljegren for. 

Rasmus Sandin, will he stay with the Maple Leafs?

The big “if” here is the possibility that Sandin signs an offer sheet. That would be an exciting (it would make things happen) development.

Related: Maple Leafs Need to Change Their Pattern and It Starts With Sandin

Prediction Four: Jack Campbell Stays (Re-Signs at About $4.65)

With the move at the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, Maple Leafs’ general manager Kyle Dubas cleared the way financially to re-sign goalie Jack Campbell. When Campbell was speaking with the media about his future, he was clear that he loved his time in Toronto. I believe him.

The feeling’s mutual. His teammates love playing with him. He’s a good guy in the locker room. The fans chant “Sooooouuuupppy” when he makes a great save. When he makes a decision about where he should land, I think personally Campbell should want to find a home. He should consider his difficult background when he lost his confidence and fought hard to find his way back.

Is Jack Campbell headed to the Edmonton Oilers?

I think he will do so. I think Toronto is his place. The two sides will make it happen and, although it’s not his hometown, it will be a contract of less than $5 million.

Prediction Five: Alex Kerfoot Will Leave

I like Alex Kerfoot. He’s an honest, hard-working player. He does what he’s asked, and he’s usually pretty successful. Sadly, he’ll get caught up in the numbers (salary-cap) and will be moved off his strong season.

I think it’s also in the organization’s best interests, in the long run, to see this season as a time to develop some of its own players. I predict Kerfoot will be gone, as much for the space to develop young players as the need for salary-cap.

Related: Maple Leafs Will Make One Final Push to Sign Jack Campbell

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4 Comments

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