According to NHL insider Chris Johnston, the Toronto Maple Leafs are willing to add rentals ahead of this year’s deadline, but the team is cautious about being burned like they were last year. If GM Kyle Dubas is going to pay a premium price for a player, including possibly moving the team’s first-round draft pick for the third year in a row, it sounds like he’d prefer to have some control over the player he adds beyond the rest of this season.
Johnston noted in his most recent TSN Insider Trading report that the Maple Leafs are open to the idea of adding players with term. He explains:
Well, certainly they’re at the stage where you start to assemble wish lists, look around the league in anticipation of that March 21st trade deadline, and I think if the Leafs, all things being equal, could control things, they’d rather acquire a player who has a little bit of term left on their contract rather than a straight rental.
Johnston points to last year’s deadline when Dubas was quite aggressive and made multiple deals, all for players on expiring contracts. He wound up giving away six draft picks the big deal, adding Nick Foligno was among the worst moves made by any team last season at the deadline.
Johnston adds, “so ultimately the Leafs won’t rule anything out. I think that they’re just looking to get as many good players as they can, but they like the idea of getting players with some term because they feel like it gives them [a] chance to get settled in.”
Leafs in on Jakob Chychrun?
Darren Dreger responded to the report about the Leafs and pointed out that Arizona Coyotes’ defenceman Jakob Chychrun has term left on his contract. He added that the Maple Leafs are among many teams who have at least kicked tires on Chychrun. Dreger does admit that Chychrun would be a tough fit and that Dubas would have to get “extraordinarily creative” to make it work.
The teams still most likely to add Chychrun includes Florida, Boston, Anaheim and the St. Louis Blues. Apparently, the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings have pulled out of the running for now.
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