Maple Leafs’ 2022 Trade Targets on the Philadelphia Flyers

The NHL’s trade deadline is just over a month away, and the Toronto Maple Leafs are expected to be interested in buying some talent to upgrade their roster. General manager (GM) Kyle Dubas is going to take a more patient approach to this season’s transactions as he is currently evaluating his roster to see where he can make some adjustments for their playoff push. A depth defenseman, a versatile forward, and some more team toughness are likely on his wish list.

While it takes two to tango, let’s shift our focus on the team that might be the perfect dance partner. The Philadelphia Flyers are out of the playoff picture and might have exactly what the doctor ordered for the Maple Leafs. Ladies and gentlemen, here are three Flyers the Maple Leafs should target.

Justin Braun, Defense

Hockey insider Pierre LeBrun recently mentioned Justin Braun as an option for the Maple Leafs as he checks off a few boxes of interest. The right-handed shot defenseman could add some depth for head coach Sheldon Keefe and give the Maple Leafs another battle-tested veteran for their blue line.

Justin Braun Philadelphia Flyers Brock Nelson New York Islanders
Justin Braun, Philadelphia Flyers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The 35-year-old is a pending unrestricted free agent who has a very reasonable cap hit at only $1.8 million this season. He’s managed 13 points in 49 games for the struggling Flyers and ranks second among their defensemen in both hits with 65 and blocked shots with 93. His blocked shots are worth circling here as they rank in the top-20 in the NHL, and to give you an idea, the closest Maple Leaf is Justin Holl with 63.

Braun would help the Maple Leafs keep some rubber off Jack Campbell and add another penalty killer to their group. He’s battle-tested with 100 games of Stanley Cup Playoff experience and should be considered a very likely trade target for Dubas and company. Acquiring the Flyers defenseman would likely cost a mid-round pick and a mid-level prospect, perhaps defenseman Kristians Rubins will spark some interest in Philly.

Claude Giroux, Forward

You can’t talk Flyers trades and not mention their captain Claude Giroux this season. The pending unrestricted free agent is apparently open to being dealt to a contender before the trade deadline. If all goes as planned, he’s going to play in his 1000th game on March 17 and should be moved shortly after, and while the Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers and St Louis Blues appear to be the favorites, expect to see the Maple Leafs get involved in trade talks.

Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers
Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The acquisition price will of course be steep so Leafs Nation is curious to see what type of assets their GM is interested in giving up after a brutal return on investment last season. The team gave up multiple assets including a first-round pick for Nick Foligno, and he wasn’t able to stay healthy down the stretch and perform in the playoffs. Toronto’s interest level at this point is hard to put a finger on but they should be at least inquiring about the Flyer’s price tag. He could put a team over the top as his versatility, leadership qualities and high-end talent is hard to come by in one player. The Hearst, Ontario native has a full no-movement clause, so he certainly holds all the cards.

Related: Maple Leafs GM Sends Clear Message Ahead of Trade Deadline

If the Maple Leafs end up meeting the Flyers’ demands, the deal would also need to include salary retention for the remainder of Giroux’s $8.27 million this season. With that being said, the price of doing business will go up and any deal involving the Flyers captain would need to include one of Toronto’s top prospects, so think Nick Robertson or Rodion Amirov, their first-round pick in either 2022 or 2023, and maybe Alex Kerfoot to even out the money. A huge price no doubt, and likely one Dubas says thanks, but no thanks to.

Scott Laughton, Forward

One thing to remember here is that the Maple Leafs are open to trades involving players with term left on their contract, and Scott Laughton would be a great addition in Toronto. The Flyers absolutely love this player, so it would take one hell of an offer to get them to agree, especially after they recently signed the 27-year-old to a five-year contract extension worth $3 million annually.

Connor Hellebuyck Scott Laughton
Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg Jets and Scott Laughton, Philadelphia Flyers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Laughton brings a ton to the table as he can play up and down the lineup in any role and perform. In 46 games this season, he has 23 points, and he’s on pace for a career-high in goals. He’s also put up 10 points in 24 Stanley Cup Playoff games and is one of the toughest competitors in the league.

The Oakville, Ontario native is almost 50% on his draws, and his 100 hits would lead the Maple Leafs by a country mile. Laughton is versatile, he’s physical, his hands are underrated, and he brings a ton of character on and off the ice. Again, the Flyers will likely keep him as part of their leadership core after Giroux departs, so acquiring him would cost a pretty penny. Any Maple Leafs’ offer would center around Nick Ritchie and a top prospect – perhaps a name like Alex Steeves would get the Flyers’ attention.

Leafs Nation can expect to see a trade or two coming from the Maple Leafs before the deadline, and the Flyers are a team to keep an eye on. While Braun appears to be the perfect addition, someone like Laughton is the type of “hockey deal” Dubas has mentioned he’s interested in this season. Get your popcorn ready; trade season has arrived, and it’s going to be a fun ride.

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