A look at some of the more realistic trade targets for the Leafs at left wing

Published January 15, 2022 at 7:36 PM
This is the second in a series of 5 articles that I will complete as we continue the march towards the NHL's trade deadline. COVID postponements, players in and out of protocol and teams with multiple games in hand on their division rivals has muddied the playoff picture. There's still a lot to be determined between now and March 21st at 3pm, when the buzzer sounds on this season's trades.

As a reminder, we've heard about some of the bigger names out there, but due to the realities of the Maple Leafs' salary cap situation, I wanted to take a look at the 'under the radar' players the team may look to add. Again, I'm sticking with teams that are more than likely on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs, players that are pending unrestricted free agents, or players that have stated they need a change of scenery.

This piece takes a look at some potential left wing targets for the Leafs, which I feel is an area of need. Currently Bunting, Nick Ritchie, Pierre Engvall and Kyle Clifford patrol the left flank along with prospect Nick Robertson, who is currently dealing with an injury. Ilya Mikheyev has also seen time on the left side, which is a slight upgrade on the above group, given his stellar play since returning from injury. Aside from Bunting on the top line, and some glimpses of brilliance from Engvall as a part of the shutdown third line, it's easy to see this is a spot where the Leafs could look to bolster their lineup. Here are some players who might be able to help.

Max Domi

No doubt a polarizing first option here. Domi has dealt with injuries and has been a pain in the neck for the Leafs during his time with the Habs (although that was mostly directed at Kapanen, who is no longer with the team). At a $5.3 million cap hit, the Leafs would likely need to involve a third team in order to make the numbers work. But, how great would it be to have Tie Domi in the seats and cheering for the Blue & White again??

Johan Larsson

Everyone has heard of the chatter around Larsson's teammate and fellow left winger Lawson Crouse, and for good reason. The Leafs may wind up taking a stab at bringing in Crouse, however Larsson also presents a viable option. He has 12 points in 23 games on a struggling Coyotes team, and surprisingly has a +/- of -2, despite Arizona being outscored by a wide margin this season. He has an affordable cap hit, so could be inserted into the lineup easily.

Riley Sheahan

Another player that would fall under the category of a 'depth move', Sheahan is a 'buy low' candidate. He's played in 23 games for the Seattle Kraken this season and has a paltry 4 points to show for it. However, when it comes to these types of moves, you're not getting a player that's having a career year. At $850K, he's a 'bargain bin' find who can also step in at center if need be.

Antoine Roussel

Another trade deadline discussion, another asset the Coyotes could look to move at the deadline. They're currently hoarding draft picks for the upcoming draft, and dealing Roussel would be the type of move that could get them another. Mr. Sandpaper has 4 points in 31 games, and doesn't shy away from the rough and tough play that becomes more prevalent in the playoffs. With a cap hit of $3 million per season, it may take some retention by the Coyotes, or some salary cap creativity to make it work.

Blake Comeau

Again, this took a deep dive to find this potential trade option. The Stars currently have Edmonton, Winnipeg, Calgary and San Jose to leapfrog in order to get into a Wild Card spot and only have games in hand on the Sharks amongst that group. It's not certain if they will be sellers, but if they decide they are, Comeau could be a decent pick up. He's earning $1 million this season (can fit into the Leafs tight cap situation) and had 7 points in 23 games during the Stars run to the Cup Finals in the bubble in 2020.

It's a noticeably 'thin' group in terms of high end talent, but there could be some diamonds in the rough. In the next article, I'll examine the right wing market.
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