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Top Five Trade Targets For Toronto Maple Leafs

Who are the top trade targets for the Toronto Maple Leafs heading into the 2021 NHL Trade Deadline? Here’s a few candidates.

Maple Leafs trade targets 2021 NHL Trade deadline

There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to the Toronto Maple Leafs. A team that has now lost three in a row and a group that seems to be worried about their goaltending, the trade chatter continues to revolve around the idea the Leafs might want to add a forward before the deadline. In fact, GM Kyle Dubas has pretty much indicated that’s his priority, even though he didn’t rule out looking at other options, should they present themselves.

Related: Keefe Must Wonder: Is It Bad Luck, or Are the Maple Leafs Just Bad?

As such, a couple of scribes over at The Athletic took a look at some potential trade candidates for the Leafs. Both James Mirtle and Jason Siegel listed their top five trade targets, focusing exclusively on forwards.

Below is their lists:

Siegel’s ListMirtle’s List
Alex IafalloMikael Granlund
Taylor HallKyle Palmieri
Filip ForsbergTanner Pearson
Rickard RakellBobby Ryan
Matt NietoEric Staal

Siegel’s List for the Maple Leafs

Siegel picked Alex Iafallo as his top target and Taylor Hall as his second choice. Both forwards are quite different, especially in terms of cost. While both are pending UFAs, Iaffalo is about $5 million less expensive than Hall, which will make a massive difference for a cap-strapped Maple Leafs team.

Iafallo likely gets the nod for that reason, but Seigel suggests he’s a pretty good player too. Noting the 27-year-old is a $2.42 million cap hit isn’t his only attractive quality, Iaffalo is competitive and plays with tenacity and enthusiasm. He’s been relatively productive (six goals and 17 points so far this season).

Well down the chart is a player Rickar Rakell, who at one point, the Leafs were rumored to be heavily interested in. That perspective has changed over the past week or so. At the bottom is Matt Nieto who Siegel admits isn’t the sexiest name on this list. He’s not a top-six solution but he is a “versatile and experienced and would bring energy to the bottom six.”

Mikael Granlund
Mikael Granlund a target of the Toronto Maple Leafs?

Mirtle’s List for the Maple Leafs

Mirtle suggests Mikael Granlund is his No. 1 target and writes:

I’m bringing Granlund back up again here because I think he remains the most probably acquisition for Toronto. The Leafs front office has liked him as a player for a long time and looked at signing him in the offseason. He fits what they need. He fits their cap situation. He won’t cost a bundle in assets.

Mirtle lists Eric Staal as a perfect fit but suggests the big problem is “Staal doesn’t have a lot of interest in sitting around in a quarantine situation for two weeks. My suspicion is he would have had the Leafs on that no-trade list for that reason alone.” There’s been a ton of talk too about his sitting out two weeks and still being effective. Teams are a bit concerned about what a layoff might mean for his production.

So too, Mirtle says Kyle Palmieri would be a reliable scoring options but wonders if he has a “No Canada.” clause worked into his contract.

Honourable mentions: Nick Foligno, Adam Henrique, Darcy Kuemper, Mattias Ekholm, Jamie Oleksiak, Dmitry Kulikov

Next: Oilers to Talk New Contracts With Larsson, Barrie Next Week

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