A similar situation arises if the Maple Leafs were to take a gamble on Mackenzie Blackwood

Many have discussed the Maple Leafs signing a free agent goaltender, but what about a trade that isn’t for John Gibson?
Last week, DailyFaceoff’s Frank Seravalli released a Trade Targets list which featured a number of high-profile names. Players like J.T. Miller, Alex DeBrincat, and Kevin Fiala rounded out the top of the list, but there were some interesting pieces at the bottom too.
Just last night, though, Seravalli added a few more names to his list — Jesper Bratt, Anthony Beauvillier, and Mackenzie Blackwood. We’re going to look a little bit closer into the 25-year-old netminder because, well, the Maple Leafs might need both a starter and a backup, and Blackwood could make sense.
From Seravalli’s Trade Targets article on Blackwood:
“Scoop: It wasn’t long ago that Blackwood was considered the next hot, young netminder. He has the pedigree as a high second-round pick and his first 70 NHL games were excellent from 2018 to 2020. Blackwood struggled with a heel injury last season and his numbers have struggled for two seasons now. The sense is the Devils, who can ill afford another season with shoddy goaltending, have lost faith in Blackwood. He could be a great option for a bounce back campaign in tandem with a veteran on a strong team with limited salary cap resources.”
Let’s start off with saying that Blackwood has one more year remaining on his deal with New Jersey …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Exploring what the Maple Leafs defence core should look like next season

What the Maple Leafs defence should look like is always up for debate — every year.
Last season, it seemed like there were arguments almost daily about who should and shouldn’t be in Toronto’s lineup on the back-end. The players discussed then were Justin Holl, Travis Dermott, Timothy Liljegren, and Rasmus Sandin.
As the year went on, it became quite clear who the Maple Leafs’ best defenceman of that group was and his name is Sandin. Unfortunately, he was injured prior to the playoffs and didn’t get to play, but it’s evident that the 22-year-old is an every day player.
Liljegren was also another name that improved a great amount as the season went on. He might’ve been one of the Maple Leafs’ most-improved players of the last year.
Toronto, like it always seems though, has a logjam on their hands at defence. There’s only three spots on the right side with what seems like could be four defencemen in line for it.
It could work out to three if the Maple Leafs could find a way to move Jake Muzzin in the second last year of his contract. However I don’t see that happening.
What does a successful summer for the Leafs look like?
With a no-trade clause until next season, it seems like an unrealistic possibility that the 33-year-old gets moved. Although his cap hit is $5.625 million for the next two seasons, Muzzin is incredibly …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Frank Seravalli’s buyout candidates list and who the Maple Leafs might target

The Maple Leafs can delve down many avenues in search of the right player this summer, and that includes looking at a few who’ve just been bought out by other NHL clubs.
On Monday, DailyFaceoff’s Frank Seravalli looked at ten buyout candidates ahead of the buyout window which begins on July 1st. The list featured a number of older players, younger players, and goalies too.
It makes sense for the Maple Leafs to go this route because each of these players could be looking at one-year deals. Let’s say a ‘do-or-die’ contract. As some are getting older, their value becomes slimmer and teams won’t sign them long-term. Other players might take one year to prove that they’ve still got it.
And that’s right down Toronto’s alley of need right now. But off all these players, who makes most sense for Toronto when the gates open on July 13th?
Tyler Johnson
By the time next season begins, Johnson will be 32-years-old. But there’s a lot that he can bring to a Maple Leafs team that’s looking to get out of the first round.
Let’s be clear first — Johnson had a disappointing season, only playing 26 games for the Blackhawks and scoring seven points in that span. That puts him on pace for 22 points in an 82-game schedule.
The reason I like him is because he has exper …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Should the Maple Leafs recoup draft picks for the 2022 NHL draft?

Out with the old, in with the new—it’s something the Maple Leafs are constantly looking at doing.
But does it make sense for the upcoming draft this summer?
Toronto is, for the foreseeable future, in a window of Stanley Cup contention (or first-round win contention). It’s always wise in this timeframe to take a step back and look at what you have for the future. And at the moment, the Maple Leafs only have three draft picks for 2022.
A first, a third, and a seventh.
This year’s NHL draft is arguably the deepest that we’ve had in recent years, so it’s allowed some to be comfortable with Toronto having three picks. Along with that, the Maple Leafs didn’t seem to flinch when making their three picks last year, which has added even more comfortability to the process.
Those picks were solid, too.
But in a draft this good, wouldn’t you rather stretch yourself a little further to get a few more picks? Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas hasn’t been afraid to trade up and down the draft with his picks, yet …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Maple Leafs have two options when it comes to pursuing Philippe Myers

You can do it for the money or you can do it for the value. Choose your option.
The Maple Leafs have two options in the coming weeks — trade for or sign Philippe Myers when he eventually gets bought out from another team.
When Toronto acquired the 25-year-old in an AHL loan from Nashville, a small door opened up the possibility that he could play here in the future.
Joining the Marlies three-quarters of the way through the season, Myers was excited to play meaningful hockey rather than bouncing in and out of a lineup at the NHL level.
But now, he and his contract are at a crossroads. A couple of days ago, DailyFaceoff’s Frank Seravalli came out with a list of 25 potential trade targets in the near future. Myers was one of them listed at #10.
From Seravalli’s article:
“Scoop: Why Myers, a player who has already passed through waivers? Myers represents a unique and quirky opportunity for a cap-strapped team that can trade for him and actually create salary cap space with a buyout. Because Myers is 25 and his deal is backloaded, his buyout would result in a $616,666 credit on next season’s cap, followed by a $633,334 charge the following season.”
Either the Maple Leafs can trade for the 25-year-old and then buy him out, or they could wait and pounce on him if he gets bought out by another team.
It works either way for Toronto. The salary cap credit is great and the cap charge doesn’t …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

It’s time for the Maple Leafs to hire a Director of Goaltending and give that position a seat at the table

It’s time for the Maple Leafs to hire a Director of Goaltending and give that position a seat at the table

The Toronto Maple Leafs have made some sharp moves over the past few years to help build out a competitive team. Whether it’s to sign low-cost free agents that can fill demanding positions like forward Michael Bunting, or fixing mistakes like trading forward Nick Ritchie to the Arizona Coyotes for useful defenceman Ilya Lyubushkin, Kyle Dubas has seemed to find a way.
But where the Leafs GM has missed hard, as of late, is in the goaltending position. And it appears as though he’s ready to find a solution for it.
As first reported by NorthStar Bets’ Chris Johnston, the Leafs will not renew the contract of goaltending coach Steve Briere when it expires at the end of the month. And while it’s hard to blame the team’s goalie coach for much of the team’s inability to develop netminders, the dismissal of Briere has less to do with the job he has done and more about the future of the position.
In the time Dubas has been GM of the Maple Leafs, he brought in Jack Campbell in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings in 2020. It was a shrewd move that saw the Leafs upgrade their depth in goal behind Frederik Andersen. One season later, Campbell overtook Andersen in the starter’s role.
Moving on from Andersen, the Leafs signed Petr Mrazek to a three-year, $11.4 million contract on July 28, 202 …

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Author: David Alter / The Leafs Nation

Maple Leafs’ Justin Holl lands on Daily Faceoff’s off-season trade board

The Toronto Maple Leafs are approaching yet another pivotal summer with plenty of tough decisions to make. One of those revolves around defenceman Justin Holl, who could potentially be on the move this off-season.
Holl, 30, will be entering the final season of his three-year, $6-million contract next season. His deal also includes a modified no-trade clause, where he can submit a list of 10 franchises to which he can’t be sent. But as Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli writes, the 6’4″ blueliner could be available via trade.
In his latest article, Seravalli lists 25 skaters that could potentially be dealt this off-season, which includes Holl at No. 22. He also notes that due to the emergence of Timothy Liljegren, it’s no longer necessary for Toronto to hold onto Holl. Though, they might encounter fewer interested suitors than during previous times as his value has since declined.
Nevertheless, his $2 million cap hit for 2022-23 is a very reasonable price to pay for a third-pairing defenceman. In a salary-cap-crunch world, there’d likely be many front offices lining up to acquire his services. Of course, that is if the Maple Leafs decide to trade him.
You can never possess enough defencemen at the NHL level, especially ones who’re effective penalty killers.
After all, he did register career-highs in goals (three), points (23), hits (12 …

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Author: Thomas Hall / The Leafs Nation

The needs of the Maple Leafs at the 2022 NHL Draft

The Maple Leafs have three picks in this year’s draft and they better make them count.
With the lack of draft capital throughout the last year, Toronto has had to make every pick like it’s their last. Securing Matthew Knies in the second round looked like a steal and drafting Ty Voit in the fifth round wasn’t too shabby either.
They did that in the 2021 draft — now with the chance to do something similar in a much deeper prospect pool. Each pick has to be calculated and well thought out but it would be no surprise if the Maple Leafs came out of this draft with three solid prospects.
It’ll be most difficult to address their needs first. Toronto has picks in the first, third, and seventh round. What players should they pick? What positions are of need to Toronto?
Centre
This is likely the most important position the Maple Leafs need to draft this year. In all likelihood, John Tavares is going to shift to the wing in the next year or so and you’d like to have someone come in and fill that role.
A player that’s drafted won’t be built that fast, but if you were to acquire someone who can be a plac …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

The Maple Leafs have a problem at left wing and it needs to be fixed

As the Maple Leafs’ season progressed last year, the more it felt like Toronto needed a much better left side.
This isn’t a new problem either. Toronto has always had a more favourable right side with Mitch Marner and William Nylander in the top-six. On the left — it was Zach Hyman last year and Michael Bunting this year.
You might be reading this and asking yourself about Alex Kerfoot and why he isn’t a important left-winger (maybe you’re not). We can all be honest with ourselves and say he had a great regular season on all counts, but the playoffs were a different story.
The 27-year-old only had one goal and one assist throughout the seven games played in the first round. And that just can’t happen in a first round as big as this one was.
One of the main reasons why I believe the Maple Leafs went out against Tampa was because of their lack of depth scoring. Toronto had 24 goals in their series vs. the Lightning and only six goals came from their depth players. The rest came from the big four, a healing Michael Bunting, Morgan Rielly, and Jake Muzzin.
To me, it was also about the timing of those goals as well. Nick Paul only had fou …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Keeping an eye on the situation between the Maple Leafs and Ondrej Kase

One of the Maple Leafs’ many challenges this off-season will be getting Ondrej Kase back under contract for next year.
The 26-year-old had a successful season to say the least, scoring 27 points in 50 games played while bouncing between the Maple Leafs’ second and third lines. The unfortunate part was that Kase had yet another concussion in March and didn’t play until after the post-season began.
Toronto signed Kase after the Boston Bruins didn’t qualify him last summer and it looks like he could be in the same situation again.
Kase’s qualifying offer this year will be $1.25 million — the same amount he made this year. I, with a lot of others would agree in saying the 26-year-old will not take that number heading into next season.
In Elliotte Friedman’s latest 32 Thoughts (written version), he discusses the Kase situation and a (possibly) cryptic post from the 26-year-old himself.
From 32 Thoughts:
There are a lot of eyes on qualifying offers. Cap space is tight, and the arbitration walk-away number this summer is $4,538,958. (Teams can’t “walk-away” from any award below that number.) If they’re not convinced a player’s production matches, teams may choose to let them go free in July rather than risk an arbitration award they can’t escape. Toronto followers were confused by an Ondrej Kase Instagram post where he thanked Maple Leafs fans, taking it as an indication that he might be leaving. That’s premature, I think th …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation