The place is that this NHL season going, critically?
We’re simply 30 days away from the Commerce Deadline. Whereas the gamers are within the midst of each the All-Star Sport and their bye weeks, administration is beginning to determine how they wish to deal with this all vital day. Do they purchase? Do they promote? Perhaps they do nothing in any respect.
From now till the deadline, we’ll current you with a sequence of various items like this one the place we glance across the league for various prospects that might play out. Our focus might be on the Columbus Blue Jackets and groups within the Metropolitan division. However sometimes, corresponding to on this article, we’ll point out groups outdoors the division.
When you have got a case of two groups during which one has what the opposite desires, it deserves consideration. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Columbus Blue Jackets positively have what the opposite desires. They’re a trading-partner match made in heaven. Whether or not they truly discuss and provide you with a deal is one other matter altogether. However on this area, we’ll discover why these groups ought to discuss and what makes them so good collectively.
It Begins With Assembly Wants
The Maple Leafs have been hammered of late with key accidents to their greatest defensemen. It’s no secret that they’re actively in search of an skilled blueliner who can step in and assist straight away. Whereas handedness doesn’t essentially matter, they’d favor somebody who can play the correct facet.
The Leafs additionally favor somebody with time period. TSN’s Bob McKenzie mentioned this week on TSN1050 in Toronto that the choice is somebody with time period, at the least one yr however would relatively have two or extra years remaining. They don’t need only a rental on this case. They’re in search of a hockey deal. They’ve some very fascinating gamers they may deal to make one thing like this occur.
That is the place the Blue Jackets come into play. They’ve loads of defensive depth. Due to their run of accidents, we noticed 10 defensemen get into video games at one level or one other. And as you might have seen or heard, they’re one of many hottest groups within the NHL.
But when there’s an space the place the Blue Jackets want an improve, it’s up entrance. Regardless of being on a 16-2-Four run to enter the playoff image, they’re nonetheless 23rd within the NHL in targets for with 138 in 51 video games. Whereas the targets per recreation is beginning to creep up, they nonetheless have to see enchancment in the event that they hope to make the playoffs. The query right here might be does Jarmo Kekalainen faucet into his defensive depth and purchase a top-nine ahead?
At a naked minimal, Jarmo Kekalainen desires an influence ahead in any potential commerce. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Gary Wiepert)
Just like the Maple Leafs, the Blue Jackets should not thinking about a rental. They need somebody who can’t solely assist them now, but in addition sooner or later. On condition that the Blue Jackets don’t have their second or third rounder within the 2020 Draft, you possibly can wager their first rounder isn’t going wherever. So this is able to even be a hockey deal if an settlement might be reached with anybody.
The Maple Leafs want a defenseman. The Blue Jackets want a ahead. Each groups desire a hockey deal. This can be a match. Now, who would the groups goal?
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs need somebody with time period and is skilled. If that they had a want checklist of defensemen on the Blue Jackets, two would come to thoughts. These are David Savard and Ryan Murray.
Savard matches precisely what the Maple Leafs are in search of. He’s an skilled right-shot defenseman. He’s performs a really defensive model of recreation and isn’t afraid to dam pictures. He additionally has time period remaining. He carries a cap hit of $Four.25 million this season and subsequent. He has all the things the Maple Leafs are in search of.
As for Murray, he’s presently out with an damage. As of this writing, there isn’t any definitive time-frame as to when he’ll return. His identify has been talked about many instances earlier than as a commerce candidate. He’s a left-shot however can play the correct facet. However when he’s within the lineup, he’s been actually good. Actually, the pair of Murray and Savard have been among the best when paired collectively when it comes to anticipated targets in opposition to when on the ice.
Murray is a superb passer and might begin the puck up the ice in transition. That might match a component of what the Maple Leafs are in search of. Like Savard, Murray has one yr left after this season. His cap hit is barely larger at $Four.6 million.
With Seth Jones and Zach Werenski being mainly untouchable, Savard and Murray could be your most ultimate candidates for commerce on this state of affairs. Now what would the Blue Jackets get in return?
Columbus Blue Jackets
The Blue Jackets want an influence scorer. If they will throw three traces at you with famous scorers, that may be ultimate. In addition they need somebody who can skate and might shoot.
This matches the profile for Kasperi Kapanen. He’s simply 23. He has two years remaining after this one at simply $three.2 million cap hit. He’s additionally an RFA after the season. To have the ability to convey somebody in like this matches what the Blue Jackets are in search of. Plus can the Maple Leafs afford to maintain him given their cap crunch and others needing a brand new deal?
To a lesser diploma, I may see the Blue Jackets inquiring of a participant like Andreas Johnsson. He has three years after this one at $three.Four million cap hit. He had 20 targets final season however has been slowed by accidents this season. I don’t assume the Blue Jackets must give as a lot up for Johnsson in the event that they imagine his outlook is that of a possible 20-goal scorer.
Each Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson may match what the Blue Jackets are in search of up entrance. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn)
Different Issues to Contemplate
Preserve a few issues in thoughts right here. First, the Maple Leafs are below a ton of strain. In the event that they miss the playoffs, it’s not out of the query to assume Kyle Dubas might be in bother. There’s sky-high expectations in Toronto and making the playoffs is unacceptable of their thoughts. They’ll do all the things they will to discover a hockey deal.
Second, the Blue Jackets are those within the driver’s seat. They’ve depth. They’ve cap area. They’ll discover the market and see if one thing falls to them that makes them higher. They aren’t below the identical sort of strain to make a deal. If the asking value for Kapanen is an excessive amount of, the Blue Jackets will transfer onto one thing else. Endurance may work out of their favor with all the pliability they’ve.
Third, any deal from the Leafs must work throughout the cap. To say it’s a decent squeeze doesn’t give it justice. They should be inventive in not solely discovering the correct hockey deal, however making it work to the cap. Maybe the Blue Jackets can get extra out of this if discussions ever get that far.
And at last for now, it will take quite a bit to pry Savard from the Blue Jackets. He’s regular. He’s reliable. He’s a shot-blocking machine. You higher offer up an influence ahead if you wish to make that sort of deal occur.
So a framework of Kasperi Kapanen for David Savard with another items concerned? I’ve seen crazier issues instructed. Each gamers would fill wants of their new groups. Each gamers match the sort of commerce every workforce is in search of. With all of those components in play, it’s no marvel the Leafs and Blue Jackets would make for good commerce companions. However will they discuss? And would they even attempt to make a cope with each combating for his or her playoff lives within the East? Keep tuned.