Maple Leafs notes heading into next season
Luke Fox of Sportsnet: (mailbag) Both Jimmy Vesey and Alexander Barabanov could make the Toronto Maple Leafs opening night roster. Barabanov’s been in Toronto preparing since September. Vesey may have the edge over Barabanov because of his size and NHL experience. Vesey ($900,000) requires waivers and Barabanov ($925,000) doesn’t.
Though the Maple Leafs have potential trade pieces, they believe they can be within the cap with Justin Holl on the roster. It may mean that someone who could play in the NHL gets pushed to the AHL. After Jake Muzzin‘s injury last year they may now realize the importance of depth on the blue line. If the Leafs were to make a trade, moving a forward over a defenseman seems likely.
There are is also a group of unrestricted free agent defensemen still available – Sami Vatanen, Andy Greene, Travis Hamonic, Brandon Manning, Ben Hutton and Slater Koekkoek – that may interest teams more than Holl (the cost to acquire and pay him $2 million a season). If Nate Schmidt only netted a third-round pick, would expect less for Holl.
Believe that even if the Maple Leafs have a short playoff run this year, GM Kyle Dubas and head coach Sheldon Keefe would get one more shot. He would have a short leash though.
Should the Predators try to offer sheet Anthony Cirelli
Adam Gretz of NBC Sports: Aside from needing to have the salary cap space and the potential draft pick compensation available, a player signing an offer sheet would really want to play for that organization in case the deal isn’t matched.
That said, the Nashville Predators are in a good spot and should attempt to offer sheet Tampa Bay Lightning RFA forward Anthony Cirelli. The Predators have a history of being aggressive, and this would be something they should consider.
They have lost some of their top scorers from last season and haven’t replaced them. The Predators have been tied to UFA forward Mike Hoffman. He’s good and would help them but he’s 31-years old though and is a one-dimensional player.
Luke Kunin is the last RFA they need to re-sign, and they have plenty of room – about $12 million in cap space.
If the Predators went as high as $6.5 million per season, it would cost them a 2021 first- and third-round pick. Though the Predators may not be a lock, they should be a playoff team.
Mathew Barzal and Pierre-Luc Dubois may be better players, but Cirelli wouldn’t cost as much in salary and draft picks, and the Lightning are in a tighter financial spot than the New York Islanders and Columbus Blue Jackets.
Even an offer sheet in the $4.5 to $5.5 million range would put the Lightning in a tight spot.