Another year, another Maple Leafs defender goes down and the team becomes open to a trade. Should the Carolina Hurricanes enter the conversation?
Here we go again folks. The Toronto Maple Leafs have lost yet another defender and the trade rumors will go rampant. This time it is veteran defender Morgan Reilly who will be out for the next two months at least with a fractured foot before being reassessed. The Maple Leafs will look to replace his talent and their prospect pool won’t do. Should the Hurricanes help fill the void?
Morgan Reilly has three goals and 24 assists on the season and is one of their best defenders on the team. He could even be considered amongst the best in the league. His absence from the team will be felt. The Maple Leafs are going to go out and seek a replacement sooner rather than later. They have already called up Timothy Liljegren and Rasmus Sandin in the last few days.
Two young AHL players is not going to be the band aid that helps this team while Reilly gets better. This is where the Carolina Hurricanes, who are rolling with seven healthy NHL defenders, come in. With only three untouchable defenders, Jaccob Slavin, Brett Pesce, and Dougie Hamilton, there is a plethora of candidates for the Maple Leafs to choose from, granted the return can help the Canes.
Before we start, I think it is safe to say that Jake Gardiner will not be returning to Toronto. The FA who signed with Carolina was given an NMC, and with the way the media there treated him, he isn’t waiving it for Toronto.
That leaves TVR, Fleury, and Edmundson. I cannot see the Carolina Hurricanes moving on from Edmundson who has had a fantastic season with the Hurricanes filling in as a tough shot blocking defender who can stop conflicts before they start with a simple stare. So that really leaves TVR and Fleury. Between the two of them only TVR will be a UFA after the season is over. Prime trading material.
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TVR has not been having the best season so far still seeking his first goal of the season. But his defensive positioning is solid and he would be a fairly cheap upgrade for the Maple Leafs over the two prospects they called up. But what would the return look like?
Honestly if it is straight up for TVR, the return might be for prospects out of the Maple Leaf pool offensively. But the Carolina Hurricanes are not a rebuilding team, they are looking to win it all this season, so how can these teams help each other?
Another option is to build a bigger trade package that can help bring a brighter offensive player to the Hurricanes. The only two names I am currently interested in is Andreas Johnsson or Kasperi Kapanen. But brining over either of those two names would require some serious considerations for Toronto.
Perhaps the return of their first round draft pick could help tip the scales cleanly? But the Hurricanes will need to move more offensive players especially with the recent return of Justin Williams. Perhaps a return of two years of Brock McGinn could help level the playing field and make things a little more fair.
Of the two Toronto forward I would prefer Kapanen over Johnsson. He has the better stats (28 points over 16 points) as well the name recognition with older Hurricanes fans that remember his father Sami Kapanen who used to play for Carolina. For many, seeing another Kapanen in a #24 jersey would be a legendary moment. Doesn’t hurt that he is also a right hand shot.
But let’s get back from day-dreaming for a second. How would this trade look like?
As far as money goes, TVR’s Cap hit is $2,300,000, while Brock McGinn’s is $2,100,000 which together is a difference of $1,200,000 from Kasperi Kapanen’s $3,2000,000 contract. Kapanen is also signed for another two seasons past the current one. So there might be more the Hurricanes would need to do to make this happen.
While the Maple Leafs do have a cap space of around $4 Million while Reilly stays on the LTIR, the Carolina Hurricanes can sweeten the pot by retaining $1,200,00 on TVR’s contract to keep it a $0 hit trade.
That retained salary will go off the books for Carolina next season when TVR goes off to free agency and the Hurricanes get to have another offensive talent for a couple of years as they build something real in the Old North State for the first time since the Cup season.
This sort of trade is a long shot, but both teams get something they need. Toronto get depth on defense and a firecracker of a forward. Carolina gets some scoring depth. Even the players like McGinn and TVR could benefit from the change of scenery. Wins all around. But at the end of the day I am not the GMs. I am neither Kyle Dubas or Don Waddell.
Question for CC Readers: What do you think of this trade?