David Kampf could become a cap casualty in Toronto
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Two Leafs forwards have landed on the trading block

Published February 9, 2024 at 5:04 PM
BY RYAN SMITHERAM

The NHL's trade deadline is only a month away and things are starting to heat up across the league. There has been plenty of discussion in recent weeks about what Maple Leafs GM Brad Treliving should and should not do. Everyone knows that he would like to add a defenseman, but with asking prices soaring, Leaf fans may have to wait until the off-season before that happens.

Recently, there have been reports that the Leafs may also be targeting an upgrade in their forward group as well. However, for them to make any significant upgrades, salary will have to be moved out.

According to The Fourth Period's Dave Pagnotta, there are a pair of forwards that may become cap casualties in Toronto. Ironically, both are currently injured and will be out of action for the next couple of weeks. Pagnotta mentioned the Swedish Swiss Army knife, Calle Jarnkrok as one potential forward the Leafs could move in a trade, given that the 32-year-old still has two more seasons left on his current deal with a $2.1M cap hit. Jarnkrok also has a modified no-trade clause which limits Treliving's ability to move him.

It wouldn't exactly be a good idea to move the utility forward as he can play any forward position and play anywhere in the lineup. Additionally, he is one of the Leafs' top penalty killers and given how much the penalty kill had struggled until recently, losing him would create a fairly big hole there and up front in the top 9 in general. Jarnkrok is scheduled to return to action just before the deadline as he is currently recovering from a broken knuckle suffered in practice a couple of weeks ago. In 46 games for the Leafs this season, he has 10 goals and 19 points.


The second forward Pagnotta suggested that the Leafs could move on from is fourth line center David Kampf. Kampf is currently recovering from an undisclosed injury, but should be returning at some point over the next couple of weeks. Kampf is in the first year of a mind-boggling four-year, which contract he signed with the Leafs before hitting free agency, that carries a cap hit of $2.4M per season until 2026-2027.

Not only is Kampf on the books for another three seasons, but he also has a modified no-trade clause for another two years. Kampf has struggled mightily this season on both sides of the puck. Offensively, he has just 8 points, but it is his defensive play, or lack thereof, that has raised eyebrows this season.

Kampf was Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe's most trusted center in important situations last season, but has lost some of that trust this year. Although he is still on the top penalty-kill unit, he has seen his minutes cut by over 2 minutes per game compared to his average the last two seasons in Toronto.

It seems counter-productive for the Leafs to deal one or two forwards if they are looking to add to their forward group, but their more pressing need is on the blueline and if moving out a somewhere in the range of $2.1M to a combined $4.5M allows them to trade for a bigger upgrade there, then so be it. They have a number of AHLers and part-time NHLers that can fill the roles of Jarnkrok and Kampf in Pontus Holmberg and Alex Steeves if it comes down to it.

As the deadline approaches, the Leafs and Treliving are being watched under a microscope to see what these rumours amount to, if anything.

POLL
February 9   |   809 answers
Two Leafs forwards have landed on the trading block

Would you trade Kampf and/or Jarnkrok if it meant opening up enough space to get Noah Hanifin?

Yes, they need defense more than forwards67583.4 %
No, because then we'll need forwards13416.6 %
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