Analyst suggests that the Leafs may have another move on the way

Published September 9, 2023 at 12:09

The start of training camp is now just one week away and for the Toronto Maple Leafs, for as much work as they've done on the roster during this offseason, there is still some work to go.

This week, during an appearance on TSN 1050's First Up, TSN hockey analyst Dave Poulin was asked what he thought about the Leafs' D corps as it's currently constructed and whether or not he views it as a better group than last season. His response was very telling.

"I don't think their defense is better. Arguably the strongest piece, to see what he can do, is Jake McCabe. He's gotta have a good year for sure. But from top to bottom, they've got a lot out of Mark Giordano since he's arrived here. He's gotta continue to do that. I'm not sure on Klingberg. Liljegren's gotta continue to grow, so I think there are a lot of questions."

In terms of whether the Leafs would like to add another piece or two before the start of the season, Poulin revealed that they would, in fact, still like to add. However, he's not quite sure if it's feasible right now.

"I think they'd love to do something. They've still gotta figure out the cap situation. Brandon Pridham still has his work cut out for him, because even with the LTIR candidates, they've still gotta move $3M off the roster as it's listed... they've got to figure out how the pieces fit... Would they like to do something? I think they would. Is it realistic? I don't think it is before the season starts."

According to CapFriendly, the Leafs are over the salary cap by $2.94M with a 23-man roster. If they were to demote a couple of players and roll with a 21-man roster, it still wouldn't account for enough to make the team cap compliant, so I do still believe that we have at least one more move coming. What that move is, I'm not so sure. We could yet see someone like Calle Jarnkrok and his $2.1M salary moved, but such a move might not occur until the Leafs get a good, long look at their roster at training camp. They'll want to make sure that at least one of their young pieces or a Marlies graduate appears to be able to take that next step before moving a valued, versatile veteran like Jarnkrok.

Sam Lafferty and Conor Timmins are also potential trade candidates, as both players earn more than $1M and with both expected to be lower down on the depth chart, perhaps the Leafs could look to replace them with league minimum bodies to start the season.

Rather than to continue to speculate on what may or may not happen, I'm content to just wait and see how training camp goes. There is still some time to work with here and I'm sure that the Leafs already have a plan in place to become cap compliant.

September 9   |   219 answers
Analyst suggests that the Leafs may have another move on the way

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