Maple Leafs’ 2022 Offseason Trade Targets: Blockbuster Deals

Welcome to ‘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.

After considering a couple of wing options from the St. Louis Blues, let’s take a step back from a specific team and focus solely on some blockbuster moves that involve players who are potentially available and would fit perfectly in Toronto. It sounds like Dubas is prioritizing goaltending, and rightfully so with the question mark that’s Petr Mrazek, the only NHL goaltender currently under contract in Toronto. So let’s start in the crease with our first of three potential mega-deals:

Maple Leafs Acquire John Gibson from the Anaheim Ducks

A netminder that’s been linked to Toronto for what seems like close to five seasons, John Gibson is available and the Maple Leafs should be interested. From all accounts, it sounds like the contract talks with Jack Campbell are getting out of hand and the goalie is pricing himself off the team. His Stanley Cup Playoff performance last season was quite concerning late in the series and someone like Gibson could be an option to replace ‘Soup’.

John Gibson Anaheim Ducks
John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Gibson is 28 years old and still in the prime of his career. He’s signed long-term through the 2026-27 season at a reasonable cap hit of $6.4 million. And while some may point to his numbers slightly declining over the years, let’s not sit here and admit the Ducks were all that good the past few seasons and were going for championships. This is a rebuilding hockey club who have a new general manager that’s looking to stock the cupboards with high-end potential.

The Maple Leafs could offer Mrazek and one of their top prospects in Nick Robertson, who could fit in nicely with young star Trevor Zegras, and likely would have to include at least one more solid prospect, perhaps even another goaltender in Joseph Woll or Ian Scott. The Ducks have been listening to offers on Gibson and the Pittsburgh native does hold trade protection against 10 teams, however, playing with fellow countryman Auston Matthews and the contending Maple Leafs is likely a move that makes the list. Dubas has what he needs to get a deal done here, so while this is just a theory, it’s an offseason trade target that makes a ton of sense.

Maple Leafs Acquire Matthew Tkachuk From the Calgary Flames

The Calgary Flames have some major decisions to make this offseason and if they are unable to get Johnny Gaudreau re-signed, there’s a chance Matthew Tkachuk decides not to re-sign to a long-term deal. The pesky forward is a pending restricted free agent, however, he’s set to hit unrestricted free agency next summer if he only signs a one-year pact this offseason.

If Tkachuk becomes available, the Maple Leafs need to be the first in line with an offer the Flames can’t refuse. How’s this for a blockbuster? Leafs acquire Tkachuk and defenseman Oliver Kylington in exchange for William Nylander, Jake Muzzin and whichever top prospect Calgary has the most interest in. Muzzin has no-trade protection but could be interested in playing for his old coach, Darryl Sutter. Meanwhile, Nylander’s doesn’t kick in until next offseason, so he has no control over being coached by the demanding bench boss. The Flames may be losing some serious offensive firepower this summer, so adding the Calgary-born Nylander could be a nice re-tool for the organization that allows him to play with close friend Elias Lindholm on the team’s top line.

Related: Maple Leafs’ 2022 Offseason Trade Targets: St Louis Blues

The Maple Leafs, on the other hand, would be acquiring the absolute perfect left winger to play with Matthews and Mitch Marner, and did I mention the three are all close buddies? You want to keep Matthews around after his current contract expires? Bring on board some people that will make him stay, and stop letting his friends go over $700,000 a season, as we saw with Frederik Andersen being shown the door over Mrazek. A move that gets tougher to swallow with every start.

You may also like:

Tkachuk plays a heavy in-your-face game and has the offensive abilities to shine with players of Matthews and Marner’s abilities. It would also allow Michael Bunting to move down to play with John Tavares. Meanwhile, the hole at right-wing on the second line could be filled by a new contract for either Ondrej Kase, Colin Blackwell or Alex Kerfoot on his off-wing. If Tkachuk becomes available on the trade market, he’s a player that sends the Maple Leafs over the hump and gives them a great chance to finally makes some noise in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Maple Leafs Acquire Patrick Kane from the Chicago Blackhawks

How’s this for an offseason: sign Marc-Andre Fleury and trade for Patrick Kane? The Chicago Blackhawks are about to trade Alex DeBrincat by the sounds of all the rumors and if they do so, expect Kane and Jonathan Toews to discuss their exits from the organization.

Kane is making $10.5 million in 2022-23 and the Blackhawks will have to retain some salary in order for this deal to work, however, that shouldn’t be an issue for the Leafs GM as he’s stocked with some prospects other teams would love to get their hands on. While it’s never wise to sell the farm for a rental, Kane is someone who could easily stick around Toronto as the team is close to contending, and with him in the fold, anything is possible.

Patrick Kane Chicago Blackhawks
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Dubas and Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson have had their share of history when it comes to trade negotiations as Davidson leaked some of the details of last season’s chat for Brandon Hagel and Fleury before the deadline, but from all accounts, it sounds like the two have smoothed things over and could be open to doing business together again. How’s this for business? Kane moves to Toronto at $6 million for prospects Mikko Kokkonen, Nick Robertson, Joseph Woll and likely one NHL roster player in order to make the money work. Mrazek could make some sense too, just based on the fact Chicago has no goalies signed for next season, and so could Timothy Liljegren, who would give them a young right-handed defenseman to insert into their top four.

Three wild trade theories, I know, but to me, if you’re making a trade this offseason in Toronto, it’s a mega-deal that sends shock waves through the organization. If he’s available, adding Tkachuk from the Flames is something Dubas should overpay for. There are a lot of variables in that acquisition and it’s a move that could potentially save the GM’s job and keep some of the franchise’s best all-time players in the fold for the rest of their careers. What do you know about pressure?

Sign up for our free ‘Maple Leafs Substack Newsletter‘ for all the latest.