Insider believes the Maple Leafs have serious interest in power forward

Dean Chaudhry
June 14, 2024  (3:17)

Dakota Joshua looking on during a home game with the Vancouver Canucks.
Photo credit: Bob Frid - USA Today Sports

After a strong playoff performance, there are going to be plenty of teams lining up for Dakota Joshua's services this summer, including the Toronto Maple Leafs.

On a recent segment of "Donnie and Dhali: The Team", a sports talk show featuring Don Taylor and Rick Dhaliwal, the duo discussed the prospects of Joshua heading into free agency and outlined several teams that would be interested in his services should the Vancouver Canucks not be able to re-sign him - including the Maple Leafs.
«No shortage of teams will be in on [Dakota] Joshua if hits July 1. I'm hearing double-digit teams, Don. A couple of teams going after Joshua are the Maple Leafs and the Blackhawks. I mentioned the Maple Leafs yesterday.»
Joshua was originally drafted by the Maple Leafs in the 5th round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. After spending 4 years with Ohio State University, the Leafs traded his signing rights to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for future considerations during the summer of 2019. His numbers weren't all that great in college, in fact they dropped on a year-to-year basis, which is generally something you don't see from most collegiate players who make it to the big leagues.
He then played in 42 games with the Blues across parts of 2 seasons between 2020-21 and 2021-22, where he chipped in with 4 goals and 9 points, while also playing in 41 games at the AHL-level with 14 goals and 31 points to his name. The Dearborn, Michigan native then signed with the Canucks on a 2-year deal where he scored 29 goals and 55 points across 142 games, including 4 goals and 8 points in 13 post-season games this spring.
He is coming off a career-year where he scored 18 goals and 32 points in 63 games, held a plus-19 rating, accrued 60 PIMs, scored 17-even strength goals, saw 14:23 ATOI, and finished 245 body checks to go along with 40 blocked shots. In 13 playoff games he saw an increase in his ice-time to 15:49 and he delivered 74 hits.
Standing in at 6'2 and 185 pounds, Joshua is an intriguing mix of size and physicality and can play in all situations as we witnessed this past season where he saw time on the penalty kill as well as the second power play unit. According Evan Doerfler's article on The Hockey News, AFP Analytics has projected a 4-year deal worth 13.05 million dollars for Joshua this summer - a healthy 3.26 million AAV.
The 28-year-old is going to be a popular name amongst many teams and Dhaliwal points out that the Chicago Blackhawks are going to be on hot pursuit for Joshua. He mentioned that the organization is a little antsy in the midst of a rebuild and they want to build a winner sooner rather than later with the arrival of Connor Bedard. With over 33 million dollars in cap space this summer and a projected 56.4 million in the summer of 2025, expect Chicago to be extremely active.
The Maple Leafs finally have a lot of money to play with this summer and it will afford them the luxury to be more flexible in how they want to reconstruct the roster. Brad Treliving and company are reportedly more focused on the backend but they also understand the need of depth forwards. Dhaliwal also noted on Wednesday that Toronto will be looking at defenseman Nikita Zadorov in an attempt to shore up some of their playoff flaws.
«I will not be surprised if the Maple Leafs are a team that takes a long look at Zadorov and Joshua if they make it to July 1. Joshua is a player that teams are looking at right now and saying ‘We need that kind of guy in the playoffs'. I can't tell you enough that if Joshua hits July 1, he's going to have very good interest.»
As for Joshua, he can provide solid secondary scoring, can play special teams, brings about the physical style of play that the Maple Leafs are always coveting, and he shouldn't break the bank at 3-3.5 million dollars per season. If he does escape the clutches of Vancouver, the Maple Leafs should be all over him.
Source for the Leafs interest in Joshua:
Report: Maple Leafs Among the Several Teams Interested in Acquiring Pending Unrestricted Free Agent Dakota Joshua
Source on Dakota Joshua's stats:
Dakota Joshua
14 JUIN   |   225 ANSWERS
Insider believes the Maple Leafs have serious interest in power forward

Since he will be a popular name on the open market, should the Maple Leafs focus on Dakota Joshua as a priority?

Yes, he's cheap, big, and can score9140.4 %
No, they have more pressing issues to worry about5524.4 %
Not a top priority but he'd be a nice addition7935.1 %
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