So here’s the deal for all you cool cats and kitties, the Leafs are pretty tight lipped at the moment, so there isn’t a whole lot in the way of rumours connecting certain players directly to the Leafs. We don’t need any wild accusations of this being a clickbait post, but if we’re being perfectly honest, isn’t every rumours post a clickbait post?
No, we’re not dealing with specific players rumoured to the Leafs, we’re talking rumours around the league and the speculating where we can. That said, once we get something more tangible connecting the Leafs to someone, you better believe we’ll beat that into the ground. You’ve been warned.
Jack Eichel could be done in Buffalo
This comes up on almost an annual basis, but it really does seem like it’s happening for real this time. It certainly would be great if the Leafs could find a way of bringing Eichel into the fold in Toronto, and for a player of his calibre I’d argue the only untouchable is Matthews, but this ignores a couple of things. Despite the fact it would be an incredible upgrade for the Leafs, there’s no reason to believe that Toronto is looking to make this radical a change at this point, and there’s a good chance that Buffalo will be working diligently to find the best deal that puts Jack on a Western Conference team, or at least a team that won’t be in the Atlantic division next season, and they won’t have to face him six times a year, and lead their opposition past them in the standings.
That’s why I don’t worry too much about the supposed interest from Boston, and while there seems like there may be interest from Ottawa and Montreal as well, I can’t imagine anything comes of it, even if Buffalo would be wise to see which of the Senators assets they would part with.
There’s also the fact that the Rangers do seem interested, do have the assets, and the cap space, but again, it’s whether their deal will be good enough that the Sabres are comfortable with him in the East.
I’d assume there will be plenty of interest from the Western Conference teams as well, but specific interest is a bit harder to pin down. It feels like you can never count out the Golden Knights, as they’ve shown a willingness to move mountains to bring in top talent.
Having Eichel out west is what is best for the Leafs, and no matter what happens there is no way the Sabres receive anything that is close to equal value for Eichel, so hopefully we see something happen here, as it affects the Leafs in a positive way.
TSN Trade Bait Board
Frank Seravalli has put other the first edition of the TSN Trade Bait Board, and frankly it’s a little underwhelming from a Leafs perspective. The top four names on the list are all defensemen, and for the first time in a decade it seems like that won’t be the Leafs area of focus.
Other names like Mikael Granlund, Bobby Ryan, Sam Bennett, and even Eric Staal, Taylor Hall, Ryan Dzingel, and Jake Virtanen we’ve debated their merits on this site previously, and are well aware of their status as being available.
Really the list provides us with one interesting name to consider and that’s Tanner Pearson.
Pearson, like most of the Canucks players isn’t having a great start to the season, but last year he had 45 points (21 goals) in 69 games (nice). He’s more physical than a lot of the Leafs forwards, and had 96 hits, and can play in all situations and add value throughout the top nine forward group. He will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year, so he is a rental, and he carries a $3.75M cap hit, that would need to have some of it eaten to become more palatable to a cap poor team like the Leafs.
Personally, I think Granlund is the better player, and Eric Staal might be the better rental option, but Pearson is an interest name nevertheless.
It’s also worth noting that there weren’t any Leafs players on the TSN trade bait board, which seems like a first for them. Not only are the Leafs being incredibly quiet at the moment about who they are interested in, but with the current group excelling together, there isn’t a clear cut case for the odd man out, unless there’s a market for Jimmy Vesey that we’re not aware of.