David Morassutti of Sportsnet: Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas said that he wants to continue to evaluate his team as the March 21st NHL trade deadline approaches.
Dubas said that he’d rather acquire players that have term left on their contracts as opposed to rentals. He admits that they don’t have a lot of salary cap space so things may be difficult.
“I would love to be able to sit right now and say this is the one thing we’re going to specifically need but because the cap space, not just for us, but for most teams in our position is limited. When you go out and acquire somebody, you’re probably done at that point.” Dubas explains. “We probably don’t have a whole lot of bullets in the chamber here so we’re going to have to pick and choose as we set our sights.”
Nick Ritchies and Kyle Clifford have been sent to the AHL and will allow the Leafs to accrue some cap space.
The Maple Leafs are also limited on their draft pick stock.
“We have our first and our second and then we’ve kind of got the full board moving ahead. We’re in that win-now mode so if we have to deal from that pool to do something that we think can help us, great,” Dubas explained. “Ideally, I’d like to keep the picks so that we’re trying not to be short term or confine ourselves to any window and we’re not going to be able to just pick in the second and fifth-round every time.”
Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic: There are two things that wonders about as the Toronto Maple Leafs head towards the trade deadline.
“1. Are the Leafs a little more gun shy after shelling out for Foligno and others last year and failing again to get out of the first round?
2. Is there danger in tinkering with a cohesive lineup that’s put up a .727 points percentage in the opening 42 games?”
Would think that by the trade deadline the Leafs would at least be tempted to add a defenseman. The Leafs won’t be alone on that front in the Eastern Conference as the Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes could also be looking for defense. The Leafs have to do what’s best for them and not worry about what other teams might add.