Leafs appear to be closing in on their first pre-deadline trade

Mike Armenti
February 10, 2024  (12:57)

Leafs GM Brad Treliving
Photo credit: NHL

Typically, when a team is interested in gauging the market to see who might be out there that can help make their team better, they'll deploy scouts to watch some games and compile notes. However, when trade talks begin to heat up, that's when a general manager will travel to watch a player in person to see whether or not he wants to spend the assets necessary to acquire the player.

It's not often where you see GMs travel to watch another team if there isn't a deal being discussed or close to being completed. With that in mind, reports have come out on Saturday confirming that Leafs GM Brad Treliving has traveled to Buffalo with another Leafs scout to watch the Sabres take on the St. Louis Blues in person.
Both the Blues and the Sabres are teams who are likely to be selling off assets at the deadline and both teams may possess a player or players that the Leafs might covet. In Buffalo, the Leafs could have eyes on defensemen Henri Jokiharju or Connor Clifton. Both players shoot right, which is something the Leafs are looking for, and neither player really breaks the bank, with Jokiharju's cap hit resting at just $2.5M, while Clifton carries a slightly higher AAV at $3.33M. It's worth noting that while Jokiharju's deal expires this summer, he'll still be under team control as an RFA. Meanwhile, Clifton has two seasons remaining on his current deal after this one. The Sabres also have a center who might entice the Leafs in Casey Mittelstadt, who is also set to become a restricted free agent this summer. He carries a $2.5M cap hit as well.
When it comes to the Blues, that's where things open up considerably. We know that Colton Parayko's name has been out there since last summer, so there's a chance that the Leafs could be going big game hunting here. If they're not looking at the 6-foot-6 right-shot defender, though, they may be looking at a forward like Brayden Schenn, who is essentially built for the playoffs and can play center or wing. If their focus remains on the blueline, though, Marco Scandella, Justin Faulk and Torey Krug are three more names who might make some sense for the Leafs - Faulk being the only right-handed shot among those three names.
It's really anyone's guess at this point what Treliving has up his sleeve, but the fact that he's taking in the Sabres/Blues game in person could indicate that a deal is close. It's also worth mentioning that this is the second time over the past couple of months that Treliving has taken in a Sabres game in person, which means that he could be looking to deal within his own division.
10 FEVRIER   |   669 ANSWERS
Leafs appear to be closing in on their first pre-deadline trade

Will Brad Treliving complete his first pre-deadline trade this weekend?

Yes, with Buffalo6710 %
Yes, with St. Louis12017.9 %
No, he won't swing a trade with either48272 %
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