Welcome to our 2022 Offseason Trade Target, 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.
After a recent stop examining the St Louis Blues, let’s head further west and showcase some talent on the Seattle Kraken as they enter their second season in the NHL. The Maple Leafs are currently over the salary cap and have young defenseman Rasmus Sandin still sitting unsigned. There’s no doubt more movement is coming after the team recently stockpiled some depth for their blue line and their bottom six.
Alexander Kerfoot, Jake Muzzin and Justin Holl have all become prime trade candidates and could be moved this summer. Among the Kraken who haunt the deep waters of the Pacific Ocean, here are two players Dubas should be interested in.
The 6-foot-2, 24-year-old Morgan Geekie is a big body who skates hard and rarely takes a shift off. He’s a workhorse who can play on the wing and down the middle, and this versatility could do wonders in Toronto. Geekie recently received a qualifying offer from the Kraken, securing his status as one of their restricted free agents this summer.
In 2021-22, Geekie recorded a career-high 22 points in 73 games and showed flashes of his potential that got him selected in the third round by the Carolina Hurricanes. Considering he averaged only 12:37 of ice time per night, the production numbers could certainly go up with more ice time.
Geekie wouldn’t cost Toronto a ton, which would allow for some more internal competition for roster spots up front. Kyle Clifford and Wayne Simmonds should be afterthoughts in Toronto at this point, and it’s time for the Maple Leafs to find some fresh talent to balance out the mix.
A part of one of the most lopsided trades in NHL history, Adam Larsson is a player the Maple Leafs could use to balance out their d-core. His shutdown style would look great alongside Morgan Rielly or Sandin. Larsson finished last season with 183 hits and 140 blocks, both of which would have ranked first on Toronto by a country mile.
At $4 million per season and signed through the 2024-25 season, his cap hit isn’t exactly ideal, but it’s pretty standard for a shut-down righty who can play in the top four. Larsson would be a huge upgrade to Holl and could also fit in nicely with Muzzin on the team’s second pair.
What about a Kerfoot and Holl package for Larsson? Seattle almost selected Kerfoot in the expansion draft, and he’s from British Columbia, so there could be some incentive from his side to re-sign long term. They could desperately use more offence and give Kerfoot a bigger role in Seattle. He recorded 51 points last season and didn’t see a sniff on the power play, so perhaps there’s a deal to be had.
The elephant in the room here is Larsson’s no-trade clause, which gives him all the control in trade talks. This does get modified down to only 10 teams for the final two years of his contract after next season; however, at this point, it’s hard to know if he’d be open to a move to Toronto. With fellow Swedes Sandin, Timothy Liljegren, William Nylander, Pierre Engvall and Calle Jarnkrok in town, perhaps some homeland connections could entice him to waive.
Maple Leafs Aren’t Done Dealing
Regardless if it’s Geekie or Larsson out of Seattle, there will be some more movement from the Maple Leafs this offseason. The team sits over the salary cap and has a young talented defenseman to lock up. There continue to be question marks on just how their defense should be assembled, and right now, there are some questions on how much the team loves having Kerfoot as the second-line left winger.
I expect Dubas to trade from their blue line as the depth signings of Jordie Benn and Victor Mete allow for the team to move on from Holl or Muzzin. If they can upgrade and save money, talk about a perfect world.