Sportsnet: Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek on their 32 Thoughts Podcast – Sunday in the Patch.
** NHLRumors.com transcription
Marek: “I want to start the podcast with a conspiracy story, or a conspiracy theory. There was a belief that as three defensemen were signed over the weekend, turning their PTOs into contracts. Nathan Beaulieu of the Anaheim Ducks, Calvin de Haan of the Carolina Hurricanes and Scott Harrington as well, of the San Jose Sharks.
One of the theories out there was, the teams signed them quick because they thought the Maple Leafs were on the prowl for a defenseman. True or false?”
Friedman: “Partially true, partially false. I think that teams might have thought that maybe Toronto was going to be looking around, and I think as Toronto had some injuries and before Rasmus Sandin was signed and in camp, yes, I do think they were to see what was out there. But I’m not convinced Toronto actually would have done it.
I still think the Maple Leafs want to sign Zack Auston-Reese, who’s in camp on a PTO. So, they don’t have a lot of roster space and room to add further bodies.
Now, I think it’s possible they might try to deal or move one of their surplus forwards for a defenseman who is either waiver-exempt or has already cleared waivers. But as opposed to just bringing someone in without moving somebody out, I don’t think that they are going to be able to do that will all the moves they need to make.
The other thing too is Engvall started skating, so if he’s ready to go at the start of the season, they still have to make sure they know they have the ability to fit him in on the cap.
So I’m not convinced they are signing anybody unless anyone goes out.
I also heard they were happy with Kral and Mete and how they played, so while I do think they are potentially looking at some depth defensemen, I don’t think it’s happening unless they can move somebody out.”