As we kick off a post about bold predictions, it seems necessary to dump some very cold water on our expectations for this week. While it seems the Leafs are likely to make a move of significant substance, it is probably going to be that one move and maybe some accompanying filler. Nothing we heard from Dubas on Monday alludes to him scorching the earth and trading the core. While there seems to be an understanding that the Leafs can find money, finding money for Pietrangelo still seems like an uphill battle, and to some extent it seems we’ve all accepted that and downgraded our hopes.
Still with a 1st round draft pick in play, and seemingly at least one more roster player having to be moved no matter what, opening it up to the TLN contributors on what comes next seems like a good idea, and frankly our predictions are as good as anyone else’s.
Kyle Dubas trades up in the first round
Dubas’ strategy of trading down during the draft to recoup additional picks is well documented. He was making the calls when the Leafs traded down twice, out of the first round of the draft in 2015 and took Travis Dermott at the top of the second round. In his first year as a full fledged GM, he traded down again to the end of the first round and selected Rasmus Sandin, acquiring a third rounder with which they selected Semyon-Der Arguchintsev in the process. I think Dubas could break that tradition this year as they sit at 15th overall going into the draft. There is a fairly clear cut group of 10-12 prospects at the top of the draft and if someone like Anton Lundell or Yaroslav Askarov slides a bit, I could see Dubas pulling the trigger to go and get them.
My bold predictions for this week are simple: The Leafs make a big trade during the draft. And they sign T.J. Brodie on the weekend.
The Leafs move Andersen, acquire a new starting goaltender
It’s no secret: Frederik Andersen is on borrowed time with the Leafs. He knows it, Dubas knows it, we know it. It’s nothing against Andersen: he has been an above average netminder for the Leafs since 2016, providing excellent value for his $5M cap hit. The reality is: Andersen is due a raise next summer that the Leafs simply cannot afford. Rather than have a distracting lame duck situation play out this season, Dubas will make moves to alter how we look in net next season, and at a lower cost.
Joonas Korpisalo will be a Leaf. People seem low on him because of the system his team plays, but he’s still more than capable of being a 1A, still relatively young, and signed to a more than fair cap hit for the next two seasons. Will also provide the Leafs with a two year window to figure out what they have in either Woll or Scott once Korpisalo’s contract is up.
My bold prediction is that Dubas trades down again and still gets the guy he wants later on. Did it with Dermott, did it with Sandin, maybe he does it with Schneider.
I’ll also predict that Dubas goes waaaaaaay off the board in the late rounds. There was less opportunity to scout this season, so less information on players in the late rounds. I think teams will need to rely on their regional scouts there, and boy do the Leafs have some good ones (and more than almost any other team). The Leafs traded for a pick in 2018 to let Thommie Bergman pick a Swede (Holmberg), this year the Leafs have the picks on hand.
I’ll also say the Leafs are almost certain to take an overager, Galimov/Baumgartner/Gogolev are interesting ones. A little more off the board is Billy Constantinou, if the Leafs want to keep drafting overage RD from the Soo.
Scott Maxwell (@scotmaxw)
I wouldn’t call this overly bold but I think the Leafs will pick up TVR in free agency. While he wouldn’t make a huge impact on the top pair, it seems like a match made in heaven. Great underlying numbers, right shot, and likely to get a cheap deal (probably less than $1 million too). He could probably hold his own playing with Rielly or Muzzin, but at the very least, he’d be a cheap improvement over Cody Ceci
Toronto somehow bring back a former Leaf who goes on to have a solid season in his return.
By former Leaf, I mean someone was drafted by the team or spent a significant portion of his career donning the Blue and White. Luke Schenn is fresh off winning his first Stanley Cup and is set to hit the open market. Tyler Bozak’s future in St. Louis has come into question with the Blues desperate to free up space and re-sign Alex pietrangelo. Same goes for Phil Kessel, who could be one of the casualties of the Coyotes latest rebuild. I also hear that Josh Leivo might be available on Friday.
I don’t know which one of these players, or any others I’m not thinking of, will be finding his way back to Toronto later this week, but my gut is telling me that this is the outcome. And when said player comes back, he will have a big impact on the team in a positive way. I can imagine how hilarious it would be to see the fanbase get irate that the Leafs brought back Schenn only to see him rebound his career.
Some way some how, Wayne Simmonds will end up a Leaf. I don’t know how bold that is, but I think it’s a possibility that some people may have forgotten.
Bold prediction: One of the consensus top 11 picks drops to the 12-14 range and the Leafs trade up to get the pick. The Leafs haven’t been known for trading up at the draft but this scenario might push them to seriously consider it.
I’m gonna be contrarian here but my bold prediction is that Kyle doesn’t do anything bold this week. I think he’s going to wait and see where other chips fall before making his big splash.
I was hoping to be the person who took the wind out of the sails, but MerOutLoud beat me to it. I guess the pressure is on to find a move of substance that hasn’t been touched on, and I’m going to predict that Timothy Liljegren will be dealt. That’s right folks, the prospect who plays the position the Leafs covet the most will be flipped so they can get immediate help in the role. I’m tossing this out there because despite the fact that I like Liljegren, and the fact he’s cheap, his health history makes me more comfortable with mortgaging the future, even though this generally a bad idea.
So those were our “best” guesses. Tell us yours. Or yell at me for saying Liljegren is gone. Either way we’re good.