Maple Leafs Have 4 Offseason Moves to Maximize Their Options

The Toronto Maple Leafs have no shortage of business they need to attend to in the coming weeks. The pressure is on at all levels of the organization to make the right moves in order to take the next step.

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The big issue that continues to plague the Maple Leafs is the cap space situation. With only 18 of 23 players filled and just under $6.5 million in cap space, every dollar matters.

If the Maple Leafs want to accomplish all of their tasks, they need to open up more cap space. This will allow them to find a solution in goal. This also allows them to add better depth throughout the lineup.

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The Maple Leafs have four moves available to them in order to get this precious cap space they desperately need. They are all trades. In each case, there will be various levels of interest in these players throughout the league. We will break down the four moves as well as give a short list of teams that could use these players. In each case, either the fit is no longer there or it’s a luxury they can afford to move on from.

Petr Mrazek

It’s no secret the biggest question facing the Maple Leafs is who their starting goalie will be. As the days pass, the chances of Jack Campbell returning continue to diminish.

The Maple Leafs have to find a trade partner for goalie Petr Mrazek. If he’s not your starting goalie in 2022-23, this team cannot pay him $3.8 million AAV for the next two seasons. It’s too crippling.

Petr Mrazek, Toronto Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs must prioritize finding a new home for Petr Mrazek. (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The issue here is finding a logical trade partner that would be willing to take this deal on. That won’t be easy. They’ll have to look at teams who could use a serviceable starter while being able to take on the cap hit.

Possible trade partners: Arizona, Anaheim (if John Gibson is traded), Chicago.

Justin Holl

We thought the end was coming for Justin Holl last season when the rumors wouldn’t stop. But given the current state of the defense and a possible role, he just doesn’t have a fit on this team.

Being able to clear his final season at $2 million shouldn’t be difficult. Holl does provide some value especially for teams looking for a veteran right-handed defenseman who can play a two-way game.

In addition, the cost of acquiring Holl shouldn’t be too big given that the Leafs would accept most any reasonable offer. I could see a few teams interested here if they strike out in free agency.

Possible trade partners: Columbus, Chicago, Dallas, New Jersey and others.

Rasmus Sandin

This suddenly is a difficult situation for the Maple Leafs. The thought was once Timothy Liljegren signed, it was just a matter of time before Rasmus Sandin signed on the dotted line. Things certainly haven’t gone according to plan.

Our Jim Parsons Sr. recently wrote that not only do the Maple Leafs need to change their pattern, they might need to trade Sandin now. As each day passes, that possibility becomes more likely.

Related: Maple Leafs Need to Change Their Pattern and It Starts With Sandin

The issue here is Sandin’s role is not well defined in his eyes. Therefore the negotiation is proving to be much more difficult than first anticipated. With Mark Giordano coming back, Sandin is not guaranteed a starting spot right away.

Rasmus Sandin Toronto Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs would prefer to keep Rasmus Sandin, but that’s proving to be difficult. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

There would be a big handful of teams that would love to add a player like Sandin who is still only 22 and has plenty of room for development. Given his offensive upside and ability to move the puck, he would have no shortage of suitors.

Possible trade partners: Most everyone.

William Nylander

Now we get to the luxury part of this. William Nylander is a divisive player amongst the fan base. He is coming off a career-best 34 goals and 80 points last season. He played a key role to help make the Maple Leafs one of the most deadly offenses in hockey.

At some point though, Nylander’s cap hit would be better spent on other areas of the team. He has two seasons left at just over $6.96 million AAV. Just think of the possibilities if this cap space was open to Kyle Dubas.

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At some point it becomes more advantageous to fill in depth than it does to have a scoring winger like this. Given the Maple Leafs haven’t won a round in the Auston Matthews era, they must consider this decision. It’s not easy but it might be necessary.

Like Sandin, many teams would love to add a player like Nylander. He would also bring back a good return along with the all-important cap space that would be at the heart of a deal like this. It’s a hard move but one that could be the thing to get them over the playoff hump.

Possible trade partners: Los Angeles, New Jersey, New York Islanders, Philadelphia, Seattle, Arizona among others.

In Conclusion

The Maple Leafs have a clear path to more cap flexibility. It’s a matter of finding the right deals and making tough decisions on two of their key players in Sandin and Nylander.

Completing these four moves would not only open cap space, it will give the Maple Leafs flexibility and the ability to finally address their depth in other parts of the lineup.

This team is close to breaking through. This offseason will determine if it finally happens or not in 2022-23. Make these four moves and they’re well on their way to a long postseason run.