Leafs Need Lupul Healthy To Provide or Get Traded

The Toronto Maple Leafs woes continued Wednesday night. The team dropped their sixth straight game to the Ottawa Senators and the team will now head into the All-Star break on their worst stretch of games in 25 years.

The team has now gone 3-14-0 in their last 17 games and now look to be heading closer to the bottom of the Eastern Conference. The biggest reason for the team’s debacle has been that, the once top scoring team in the league, has struggled to put pucks past the opposition.

The team had their biggest offensive outburst against the Sens Wednesday when they managed to put three past goalie Craig Anderson. If the team wants to get back to winning and scoring more goals then maybe getting winger Joffrey Lupul might help to steer the ship.

Joffrey Lupul
Lupul has been out for the team’s last 10 games and the Leafs have gone 1-9-0. (John E. Sokolowski-US PRESSWIRE)

Since His Injury

Lupul and Peter Holland have been out of the team’s lineup since New Year’s Eve, when the team defeated the Boston Bruins 4-3 in a shootout. Since the two have gone down with injuries, the team has gone 1-9-0 and the Leafs’ offence has dried up.

Prior to the injuries to Lupul and Holland, the team had gone 5-5-0 in their previous 10 games. Lupul has been injury prone to injuries, not just during his time with the Maple Leafs, but his entire career. This season the 31-year-old has missed 22 games and his absence in the lineup has made the 2012 all-star one of the team’s biggest trade assets.

This season Lupul has nine goals and 17 points in 26 games. Though he isn’t solely to blame for the team’s lack of offence- the Leafs went 7-4-1 earlier in the season when he was out for 12 games- him being out of the lineup hurts in other reasons.

The Leafs have been rumoured to be interested in Ryan O'Reilly. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)
The Leafs have been rumoured to be interested in Ryan O’Reilly. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

The Leafs Best Trade Asset

Lupul might be the best piece if the Leafs want to make a trade to help turn the team around. However, it is also hard to trade the winger when he is injured. So, the team would likely benefit from him being in the lineup and producing for both the Leafs and to intrigue potential trading partners. He would either help the offence or could then be easier to move to other teams.

What also hurts the Leafs when Lupul is injured is that the team doesn’t have a ton of depth to replace his offence. The team has brought in members of the Marlies, but none have much if any NHL experience. The Leafs recently have been rumoured to have interest in Colorado Avalanche’s Ryan O’Reilly, Los Angeles King’s Mike Richards, and Edmonton Oilers’ Jordan Eberle. Though some rumours of an O’Reilly trade would include Jake Gardiner over Lupul.

Mike Richards battles Blackhawks center Marcus Kruger
The LA Kings would like to have Richards’ large contract off their books. (Robin Alam/Icon SMI)

How Lupul Could Influence Deals

Lupul is currently making $5,250,000 a season with the Leafs while O’Reilly and Eberle each make $6 million, and Richards is making $5,750,000. A one-for-one trade seems unlikely between Eberle and O’Reilly, so the Leafs would likely have to sweeten the deal if a trade for either of the two were to include Lupul. A second-round pick, a young prospect, or both might be needed to see a trade go through.

As for Richards the Kings would like to simply get his long contract off their books. His large cap hit will continue until the end of the 2019 season. So, there is a chance that the Kings could possibly swing a deal to get a bit of a cap relief and in return get a player who has put up more offensive numbers lately.

It is also important to note that Lupul has a limited no-trade clause that allows the Leafs winger to provide a list of 14 teams in which he can refuse a trade to.

During his career Lupul has never played a full 82-game season. He played 81 games during the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons. He along with Holland have begun skating with the team and were on the ice prior to the team’s practice Tuesday, though there is still no word on their return.

Rumours will continue to swirl as long as the Leafs continue to struggle. Lupul would be the team’s best trade option, but as long as he is out, the less likely it seems that a team will want to take on a salary of over $5 million for someone who will sit sidelined. So until then the Leafs seem to be in a pickle until Lupul gets back in the lineup.

6 thoughts on “Leafs Need Lupul Healthy To Provide or Get Traded”

  1. With Lupul I’m not sure how much trade value he’d have. I think a lot of teams would like him if he could stay healthy, but the only reason Toronto got him is because the Ducks wanted to dump his contract because he could never stay healthy. The Ducks were so happy to get rid of his contract that they threw in Gardiner with the deal. Though I think they’d already determined he wasn’t going to be a good fit for them defensively even at that age. As a rental you could move Lupul for probably a couple mid round draft picks but with a few years left on a contract over $5M per, I don’t think you’d get anything valuable in return. It’s basically a salary dump move. If he gets healthy in the near future, what team is going to take the risk on him staying that way? Again, maybe for a mid round pick or something or potentially in exchange for a contract the other team wants to get rid of. That’s about it unless you can find a really stupid GM. Maybe Burke has enough influence in Calgary that you could convince them to take him.

  2. I agree Mike and the Leafs are currently in talks with Kadri on an extension, rumours are they are really close on number and working on term. I essentially think Lupul should be traded and essentially it comes down to having $5 million sitting on the bench. Whether it’s Lupul or not it hurts not using that money.

    • Yeah I saw that too, noticed somewhere that someone speculated the Leafs starting point was in the range of 5 years, $20M, which would be ideal but from our perspective. You just hope Nonis doesn’t stand pat on Lupul, clock is ticking on that one. Guess we will see in a couple of weeks when he is expected back

  3. So despite, missing 20% of his games in the last five years, Gaborik was still thought to be effective enough that he was the target in two trades, notably enhancing LA last year for the playoffs. Lupul might not be Gaborik but he will certainly bring back some value for the Leafs once he is healthy. They absolutely need to pull the trigger on a deal involving Lupul as soon as he is medically cleared. Not that he doesn’t bring scoring value to the team but his value would be better served by opening up valuable cap space for summer negotiations with Bernier, Kadri, and Franson and with the return of a prospect or draft pick.

  4. Lupul’s propensity for injury and the idea that he is ineffective due to being injury is sometimes exaggerated. Since 2010-11, Lupul has played in 231 games out of a possible 342 (67%) On the surface that looks bad but in the games he’s played, he has put up 177 points, which equals 0.76 pp/g. To put it in perspective, over that same time period, Marion Gaborik has played in 266 games out of a possible 341 (78%). In those games, he has scored 206 points = 0.77 pp/g. While Gaborik clearly has a greater scoring scoring touch than Lupul throughout his career, he has also had to battle with the label or “injury prone” or “bandaid boy”

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