The Toronto Maple Leafs were being poised for a deep operate in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but fell short in Match Seven of the initially spherical. Now facing hard roster selections, they could be a goal for the Chicago Blackhawks to select from to make improvements to for 2021-22.
Toronto, which finished the season as the major-seed in the North Division this year and faced the Montreal Canadiens in the 1st round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They took a 3-1 collection lead in advance of slipping limited in Video games 5, 6, and 7 and losing the collection 4-3 to the Canadiens. Subsequent the disappointing series loss, compounded with the existing flat-cap period of the NHL, the Maple Leafs are in a spot that must experience acquainted to Blackhawks followers. They are cap-strapped and have complicated roster selections to make with the Seattle Expansion Draft coming up and the superior criteria the group has set for them leave minimal home for faults.
If you’re a lover of the Steve Dangle Podcast, as I am, you are in all probability acquainted with these complications dealing with Toronto and with the hottest episode of the podcast dissecting all these troubles. Though listening to it myself, it sounded like a good deal of the players that the Maple Leafs may possibly have to part ways with this offseason would be truly helpful to the Blackhawks either in trades or gamers that will strike the free agency market place this summer.
The intersection of most engaging and most logical comes down to forward Zach Hyman, who is set to be an unrestricted cost-free agent this offseason. Hyman is just the kind of forward the Blackhawks could use to present sizing, physicality, and talent. Chicago started to make an identity this year of getting a significant-electricity, challenging-performing group and when they are far from remaining excellent in that design, Hyman is exactly the variety of participant that fits the mold.
He is an unrestricted absolutely free agent this summer season, coming off a 4-12 months, $2.25M AAV contract with Toronto and he is going to count on a significant fork out increase in totally free company that the Maple Leafs will possible not be capable to find the money for. Hyman turns 29-year-previous up coming week and is a veteran of 345 vocation NHL online games. He tallied 15 aims and 33 details in 43 game titles this year and has topped the 20-aim mark 2 times in the previous 3 seasons, which involves two shortened decades. Around the past three seasons, Hyman has scored 57 targets and 111 factors in 165 games, an 82-recreation pace average of 28 ambitions and 55 factors. If Hyman hits the market place, the Blackhawks could seem to offer you him a offer all-around the $4-5M range, based on how they navigate their have totally free brokers and the standing of Jonathan Toews.
Now if the Maple Leafs come to a decision they are heading to do the job to maintain Hyman, they would probable have to make some trades to cost-free the cap room required to afford to pay for his offer. A single participant talked about by the guys on the podcast was forward Alex Kerfoot. Heading into 12 months 3 of a four-year deal with a $3.5M AAV cap strike, Kerfoot is a multipurpose centre/wing that could assist the Blackhawks with two locations that they have lacked in the latest years: middle-6 scoring depth and killing penalties.
The additional advantage of wanting to purchase Kerfoot is that the majority of his recent deal has already been paid by Toronto, with just $2.7M of full wage owed to him in yrs three and 4 of the offer, with a 10-staff no-trade clause activating in 12 months 4. At 26-12 months-outdated (turning 27 this summer season), Kerfoot has played in 278 NHL online games with the Maple Leafs and Avalanche about the previous four several years. He skated in all 56 games for Toronto this season with 8 targets and 23 details, including a target and 6 points all through their 1st-round sequence against the Canadiens. The value to include Kerfoot would not most likely harm Chicago also considerably, contemplating they would have leverage in the deal and property to spare.
Now if you genuinely want to get wild, a different player the Maple Leafs could finish up shifting to preserve Hyman could be defenseman Morgan Rielly. To start with off, Rielly does have a 10-workforce no-trade clause in his existing deal, so moving him would present some obstacle to the Maple Leafs and with most substantial-stop players hoping to navigate their way to contending teams, Chicago could probable finish up as a person of these ten no-trade groups. But, in the function the Maple Leafs manufactured Rielly offered and Chicago was not a blocked workforce, the Blackhawks could address the challenge of needing a legitimate No. 1 defenseman by adding the eight-calendar year veteran.
Rielly has led Maple Leafs defensemen in scoring in three of the last 4 seasons, with the 2019-20 period only looking at him participate in 47 video games owing to injury. Rielly has scored at a half-place per video game speed or improved in each individual of the past 4 seasons and has averaged 22:59 minutes for each recreation above that span. He led Toronto defensemen in ice-time this period, averaging 23:37 minutes for each match.
He is coming into the last 12 months of his existing offer with a $5M AAV cap strike to come with it. At 27-a long time-outdated, if the Blackhawks could get Rielly and indicator him to an extension, they could remedy the issue of needing a correct top-pair defenseman for the foreseeable foreseeable future. Of class, the trade deal to get a participant like Rielly would be a great deal more intricate than the 1 desired to land a player like Kerfoot. I’d think about for a player of Rielly’s caliber and value to Toronto, you’re talking at minimum two major round (to start with or next) draft picks, an NHL-ready participant and a top rated-tier prospect in return. It is hefty, but it is potentially the most significant will need Chicago requires to handle and they want to address it before long.
It’s not specifically “bargain searching,” but the Blackhawks could be beneficiaries of the epic disappointment of the Maple Leafs’ time. Toronto Typical Deal with Kyle Dubas is a smart male and one particular that doesn’t appear to be much too fascinated with the exterior noise of the supporter base or notorious Toronto media to impact decisions. There is a opportunity they swallow the really hard capsule and enable Hyman go in no cost company and then roll their dice in the Seattle Growth Draft, significantly like the relaxation of the NHL. If I’m Blackhawks President of Hockey Operations and Normal Manager Stan Bowman, I’m generating calls to Toronto no make any difference what and feeling out what they are eager to component strategies with to make positive they can stay at the prime of the NHL.