Welcome to my new series ‘2022 Offseason Trade Targets’ where we’ll examine several teams the Toronto Maple Leafs could be interested in doing business with this summer. From minor moves to blockbuster deals, I’ll cover them all as we dive into some potential trade options for general manager (GM) Kyle Dubas.
For this installment we fly south to California to test the waters with the Anaheim Ducks, a team the Maple Leafs should have their eye on as newly minted general manager Pat Verbeek is open for business. Expect to see the Ducks be active this offseason, and if either of these two players are available, Dubas should be inquiring about their price tags:
Listen, if Jack Campbell does not re-sign with the Maple Leafs, I can guarantee you Toronto’s GM is not going to start next season with Petr Mrazek and Erik Kallgren as his goaltending tandem. Expect to see a major move made if “Soup” does indeed take his recipe to another team and John Gibson of the Ducks is a prime target, who has been on the team’s radar for years.
The 28-year-old Gibson meets the requirements of a win-now goaltender as the Maple Leafs need to right the ship as soon as possible; Toronto’s core isn’t going to be around forever. The time is now for Dubas and he’s well aware, as his contract is up at the end of the 2022-23 season and he, too, is trying to impress senior leadership enough to keep him around.
Gibson has become expendable in Anaheim as Anthony Stolarz burst onto the scene last season and showed he’s capable of winning hockey games. Stolarz finished with a 12-8-3 record, posting a 2.67 goals-against average (GAA) and a .917 save percentage (SV.%). As for the Ducks’ number one netminder, 2021-22 was a season to forget for him as he tallied an 18-26-11 record, to go along with a 3.19 GAA and a .904 SV.%. Turns out Anaheim has an overtime problem too as they led the league with 14 losses in extra time.
While Gibson’s numbers may not fly off the page for Leafs Nation, keep in mind he’s played on some bad Ducks teams, including last season, and his career SV% is .915. He’s a world-class goaltender who would have suited up with Auston Matthews on USA’s Olympic team and if you were to insert him into the Maple Leafs’ lineup next season and beyond, it’s very likely he’d regain his elite form.
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One of the biggest reasons he should be a target for Dubas is the fact Gibson is signed through the 2026-27 season at a reasonable $6.4 million. He holds a modified no-trade clause which lets him avoid 10 teams of his choice, but it’s likely the powerhouse Maple Leafs make the cut. While Toronto is trying to get Campbell signed for under $5 million annually, if he walks on July 13, anything is on the table at that point. While some will think Gibson to Toronto stands no chance, they’re wrong and should listen to what hockey insider Elliotte Friedman had to say about the connection:
As for a trade package, the Ducks are looking to rebuild into a tough team to play against, and Maple Leafs’ prospect Nick Robertson is a workhorse who just happens to be from Pasadena, California. While Toronto loves his work ethic and determination, when you need a starting goalie, you need a starting goalie. Money is an issue here so Petr Mrazek and his expensive $3.8 million contract would have to make the trip down south, and the Leafs would need to include another mid-level prospect to likely get Verbeek to budge.
Leafs Nation, quick question here: would you prefer Kevin Shattenkirk over Justin Holl? I’ll hang up and listen. One of the biggest areas of concern for the Maple Leafs is their defensive depth on the right side, and while Holl is expected back next season, Dubas is likely to let go of Ilya Lyubushkin. What the Leafs GM should be doing this summer is trying to find a seasoned veteran who doesn’t get overwhelmed by the big moments and who happens to shoot right-handed. Shattenkirk checks all those boxes.
While many know Shattenkirk for his offensive abilities, he’s turned himself into a fine all-around defenseman, as the 33-year-old led all Ducks players with 135 blocked shots. To put that into perspective, T.J Brodie led the Maple Leafs with 106. Another stat that jumps out is his shots on net where he tallied 163 to lead Anaheim’s defense core. Meanwhile, Morgan Rielly led Toronto with 221, with the next closest defenseman coming in at 79. More shots from the point would certainly help and Dubas has a solid trade target to help with not only that but a number of other areas as well.
Shattenkirk can quarterback a power play and give you hard minutes shorthanded, provide secondary scoring from the back end and smother opponents and block shots. He’s signed for next season at $3.9 million and holds a no-trade clause to protect him from 10 teams. Again, very likely the Maple Leafs make the cut and this is certainly someone Dubas could acquire if he wanted to. Holl and a solid prospect should get this deal done. Certainly, an interesting trade target for the Maple Leafs as they will be trying to give their blue line a facelift.
Dubas and company have a ton of decisions to make this summer as they are currently working hard to sign Campbell to an extension. If the talks break off, the Maple Leafs need to get ahead of the market and adding someone like Gibson would be a stellar move. Shattenkirk is also a great target and can move up and down the d-core. Leafs Nation’s patience is wearing thin after almost two decades of serious disappointment. Hate to remind you of the fact Matthews is currently only signed for two more seasons, so if the Leafs GM doesn’t assemble the right mix of players to take this team over the hump, both he and the team’s best player are most likely gone.