The Toronto Maple Leafs are going to be patient this season when it comes to the trade deadline as last season’s strategy didn’t go as planned. General manager Kyle Dubas moved out multiple assets for what turned out to be no playoff production out of Nick Foligno and this time around there’s a much different vibe surrounding the Maple Leafs.
Rumor has them looking at defensemen with term on their contracts and specifically someone who can play with Jake Muzzin for the rest of this season and beyond. While the team is happy with the production from Justin Holl of late, the inconsistent minutes have been a battle this season and the Leafs are looking around to see what’s out there for options. Hockey insider Frank Seravalli recently mentioned the Leafs in a column and had this to say about their trade deadline aspirations:
The Leafs need a right-shooting defenseman to partner with Jake Muzzin and shore up Toronto’s second pair. That unit has been the Leafs’ most uneven this season, including the forward lines. Dubas’ preference appears to be players with term, but that likely will not exclude Toronto from dipping its toe in the water on a bigger pending free agent target, like John Klingberg. But even players with term could be difficult because the Leafs have an eye towards this summer’s business. They have approximately $8 million in space, but will need to pay Jack Campbell and fill third line left wing and fourth line center roles.
While Klingberg remains a long shot, there’s no doubt Toronto is once again going all-in the season, it’s just not going to happen any time soon unless the perfect deal presents itself. Look for Dubas to continue to evaluate through a busy month of February and Leafs Nation can expect to see a big move or two closer to the March 21 trade deadline. Patience is a virtue and this season it’s also strategy for the Maple Leafs.
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