Oak LeafGeneral manager Kyle Dubas provided information on his business schedule plans at a press conference in Toronto last week. Right now:
• You don't see yourself giving up a huge rental asset (doesn't mean you won't spend a moderate amount on rent).
• It's not just about big names hitting deadlines. There are other players who can meet the needs of the team.
• In a perfect situation, he would gain position in the lead and on the blue line.
• Plus, top prospect Matthew Ness isn't going anywhere.
The success of the Maple Leafs' 2023 first-round pick depends largely on the deal at hand. Absolutely not for rent. But in the right hockey trade, it can happen.
So what is Maple Leaf supposed to do? What does this already great hockey team need to add before the deadline to finally make it past the first round of the playoffs?
I reached out to the competitor's board executives and asked them about it. This is what they had to say.
(Note: some answers have been lightly edited for clarity.)
Front Desk Executive #1
everyone is talkingboston,carolina,tampa bay. Maybe that will help Toronto this year. When we played them, the structure was the most solid we've ever seen. His commitment to teamwork is outstanding.
1. The best player must be the best player of each series.
2. While I like low pair two players, adding size and experience will be important in the long run.
3. Playoff experience can be added to Line 3 or Line 4.
Front Desk Executive #2
My take on Toronto is that they already know who their first-round opponent is: Tampa Bay, and they're familiar with it. I think they usually like to find someone with experience and character who can "get us through the first round."
Kyle has done this before at deadline and/or free agency:Nick Foligno,Mark Giordano,Wayne Symonds, Jason Speza, Joe Thornton. Some did better than others, but I think I'll give it another try. You need to free space on the lid and then upgrade if possible. The idea is to have a player likeAlejandro Croftand reached the limit of US$ 3.5 million, the acquisitionRyan O'ReillymiSan LuisEat half of it and you're in the same situation, without any assets needed to acquire O'Reilly. As such, adding other depth or cheap pieces to the rear is still viable, from a hat standpoint.
Right now, O'Reilly is having a tough year, he's injured, he's not getting any younger ... all of these are factors that can help keep costs down. But also remember the question: "Are we really getting better with him?" The good thing is that he is a winner, a captain and he is in a new and competitive team. And that's probably why he's been so dynamic all season. and playoffs. Every year is a big year when your name is the Toronto Maple Leafs, but with Kyle's contract looming, will this year be even bigger?auston matthewsWill he be able to negotiate a new contract this offseason?
(Grades:O'Reilly recovered from a foot injury to score the Blues' winner in extra time on Saturday night. )
Our experts assess how the deal between Vladamir Tarasenko and Bo Horvat rocked the market.
These trades could change what happens (if at all) to Patrick Kane between now and the trade deadline.
NHL Board of Trade 2022-23 ⤵️https://t.co/FhdO9fo4Mc
– National Hockey League (@TheAthleticNHL)February 11, 2023
Front Desk Executive #3
Obviously, they've been solid in the top six, but they lack depth in the bottom six and on defense. I think adding an experienced D with a certain size is the most important thing for them. I think they're going to add Matthew Nice to the after-school team.
Another issue is the salary cap situation... like many teams. If they want to increase, they must withdraw the money.
Front Desk Executive #4
I'd say they could use some advanced help in the top six, but they could also use a defender. The stopper that can end the game.
Who can't use these two things at the same time, right?
They are obviously a highly skilled team that can really run and damage you with quick attacks. I think whoever they bring in, if they can increase the rigor of the playoffs, it will be good for them.
Front Desk Executive #5
It seems to me that they did not move just "once". Unlike other teams, there is more than one area to address.
A number 3 forward, a forward four in defense and perhaps most importantly, a goalkeeper? How they prioritize this is obviously an internal matter, and notoriously not an easy problem to solve in the world of limits.
This may not be the answer you're looking for, but this is how I see them today.
Front Desk Supervisor #6
A top-nine forward with speed and physicality...physical in the playoffs.
Front Desk Executive #7
At first glance it looked like they should add a defender, but they lostmeditating jackIt was the start of the year, but they did a great job weathering the injury storm, which opened some doors for other defenders to work on the blue line.TJ BrodyAfter returning from injury, he is in very good condition.Justin HallHe's had a good recovery this year, so I don't think the blue line is the most pressing need.
Toronto should look for a solid forward in the top six. I look at his advanced group and I don't think they are strong enough to go through multiple sets. If they can make it through the top six, it will help balance the third and fourth lines. That's not a criticism of how these teams played this season, but in the playoffs it's a tougher game of hockey and a war of attrition. I don't think Toronto's forward group has enough depth for four rounds. turn towards the fence and addTimo Meier, you will have more chances to win.
My opinion is?
You will surely find a lot of friendly advice from other competitors here.
I'll take note of the first line official's comment that this is the most structurally sound Leafs team he's seen yet. It's the highest praise for a Leafs team that opponents haven't always considered playoff-ready. This season's team left a mixed impression.
But I also agree with the executive who said Toronto should add more physique, stamina and experience to the back line.
I want to go backavalancheaddjose mansonlast year. Musin may not return this season. The playoffs, as we know them, are a different game. The level of the body increases. It's a complete ordeal.
Is there a way to open the sheets?Jack McCabeFrom Chicago? I heard that McCabe made a lot of phone calls,black hawksaudience. After this season, McCabe still has two years left on his contract at an average annual salary of $4 million. Given his control of the club, my feeling from talking to teams across the league is that the price to acquire him will likely include a first-round pick. If the salary holds up and McCabe becomes a $2 million steal in the next 2 1/2 years, the cost of acquiring the team will increase.
In fact, it would be a hockey deal, which might please Dubas. Especially given the long-term uncertainty about Muzzin. In fact, Price might be a first-round pick, but not quite. But still worth watching.
At the same time, almost the entire front office believes the Maple Leafs need to add a forward. The last executive talked about Meyer. I mean, he's definitely going to be a home run, and if you stick with your $10 million qualifying offer and sign him again, he could be part of the core of the season.
The question is, how does Meyer's salary cap work with an offensive team that is already paying Matthews?mickey marnermiJoão Tavaresdouble digit salary plusWilliam Nyland6.9 million dollars? Nylander and Matthews are eligible for contract extensions this summer.
On the other hand, Meyer could provide insurance for the Maple Leafs in case renewal talks between Matthews and Nyland turn rocky.
Meyer will be one of the most notable. No matter where he is, he will be the biggest impact trade player come this year's deadline.
But a more realistic type of direct sum would be something likeIván Barbashev. Yes, it's leased, but it shouldn't cost a fortune, and not only does it help solidify the top nine, but it adds some playoff traits the Maple Leafs need.
So this is where I would go: a McCabe-Barbashev duo or something. It's not very sexy, but it's probably what the Leafs need the most.
Of course, as our fifth executive said, the exit from the first round will depend a lot on the goalkeeper's performance.Ilia SamsonovThis season has been a great story, an A+ bet for Dubas last summer. He also has only one profession.national hockey leagueSeven career starts to win the playoffs.
So, in many ways, Samsonov's situation is similar to that of the entire organization: It's time to figure out how to win in the playoffs.
(Foto de Ryan O'Reilly y John Tavares: Klaus Anderson/Getty Images)