Let’s Talk Trades

M.G. McIntosh

OPINION

04/07/2021

ESSAY

  • Voice in the Wind Magazine Inc.

INTRODUCTION

It’s that time of year again – NHL trade deadline is fast approaching. So let’s take a look at some possible trades the Toronto Maple Leafs could make and one they absolutely shouldn’t make – ever.

TRADE #1 – ACQUIRE G #45 JONATHAN BERNIER

Before the Leafs can make any trade involving Frederik Andersen, they need a replacement goalie. If there is one thing I know best in hockey, it’s goalies. I predicted that G# 29 Marc-Andre Fleury would have a career year and was motivated to win and I was right. Any agent who felt the need to tweet something so controversial was obviously motivated by a client who wants to win and was feeling understandably frustrated by the situation in Vegas. I guess I like a guy with fire in his belly. Add Brayden Holtby to the list of goalies that are gonna be good – remember the “look” he fired at the bench? He wants to win. I’ll make a prediction right now: whoever trades for Brayden Holtby will have a great goalie that has determination, fire and chutzpah. Just wait and see – only 4 more days.

But back to Fleury. The leafs should be looking for an elite goaltender. I’d still be asking about him, but I doubt Vegas will give him up now. With that in mind I think the Leafs should pursue the next best thing: Jonathan Bernier. So why did I pick the former Leafs goalie?

WHY G #45 JONATHAN BERNIER?

  1. Age – at 32 years old Jonathan Bernier is not the kid that Leafs fans remember. He’s a man. He has hair on his chest and now is his best chance to win a Stanley Cup. He’s not getting younger. A motivated goalie is a fantastic goalie. His talents are wasted on a Detroit team that is rebuilding. He won’t be the goalie of the future for the Red Wings.
  2. Injury History – Bernier doesn’t have one. This is a goalie who has played a steady number of games for his whole career. No major time lost and consistently above average in his performance/save percentage (per NHL.com). The last thing the Leafs want is a goalie who has a bum groin (my personal assessment of Freddie Andersen’s “nagging” injury) or knee. The Leafs need a goalie who is reliable and Bernier is that guy.
  3. Fits the cap situation. This is self-explanatory: dollar in, dollar out for Toronto.
  4. The right price if you have the right piece: Detroit will want a goalie they can develop, preferably 24 years old, who will grow into the starter role as the team becomes competitive again.

With all this in mind I propose a 3-way deal to get the job done: Toronto, NYR and Detroit – you’re up!

WHAT EACH TEAM GETS

  1. To Toronto – G# 45 Jonathan Bernier ($2.15 Million)
  2. To NYR – F #65 Ilya Mikheyev ($1.65 Million) +F #94 Alexander Barabanov ($925,000) = $2.575 Million
  3. To Detroit – G #40 Alexandar Georgiev ($2.425 Million)

In this trade the Leafs get one of the best goalies available. Detroit gets an up and coming goalie (Georgiev) who can grow with the organization, and NYR gets some depth up front. On a side note: if the cap hit for the Rangers is unacceptable, D #23 Travis Dermott is listed at $864,000 which is dollar in, dollar out but that would mean the Leafs lose a solid D-man and I don’t think they are ready to play Rasmus Sandin regular minutes. Having said that, the Rangers might prefer Dermott.

TRADE #2 – G #31 FREDERIK ANDERSEN

With an expiring contract and the Maple Leafs Cap issues, it seems pretty obvious that they should trade Freddie Andersen. The question is for whom? And who will be most likely to say yes to the deal? Look no further than the San Jose Sharks. As an added bonus they would probably bite (haha) Phil Kessel’s $1.2 Million cap hit this year and next (per capfriendly.com). But do the Sharks have anything the Leafs want? Nope. But someone else does: Calgary Flames have Sam Bennett at $2.5 Million. And what does Calgary want? Last I heard, the rumor mill suggested D #23 Travis Dermott. Obviously San Jose will supply the defensmen and it won’t be Dermott, but I think I can make it work.  Here’s the deal.

WHAT EACH TEAM GETS

  1. To Toronto – F #93 Sam Bennett ($2.55 Million)
  2. To San Jose – G #31 Frederik Andersen ($1 Million) + Phil Kessel’s Contract ($1.2 Million) equals $2.2 Million
  3. To Calgary – D #51 Radim Simek ($2.45 Million)

TAYLOR HALL

This is the trade I alluded to earlier, that the Leafs should absolutely NOT make. There is no reason to think that a playmaker will help the Leafs top six. After all, Mitch Marner and William Nylander are both playmakers and anchor the top two lines. Given that Tavares is a grinder-type center who plays close to the net, the Leafs actually need a pure goal scorer so that Willy has someone high in the slot to pass the puck to 5-on-5. Kyle Palmieri would have been more ideal but he was traded to the New York Islanders. I listen to the Steve Dangle Podcast regularly and I like their suggestion – Phil Kessel – better than Taylor Hall. But not enough to trade for him.

CONCLUSION

I hope that everyone notices that I didn’t trade F #15 Alex Kerfoot. This means the Leafs would have a center group that has Matthews, Tavares, Bennett and Kerfoot. This might be the best group of centers in the league. Bennett, Kerfoot and Engvall can all play wing too. Kerfoot has already been tried alongside Tavares. Bennett might do well there. Both are acceptable if there are injuries. That’s how you improve a team. Give a little – get a lot!

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