Maple Leafs Get a Jump on the Trade Deadline with a Frenzy of Moves

The Toronto Maple Leafs and general manager Kyle Dubas had a busy day on Sunday.  

4 Trade Deadline Maple Leafs’ Moves

Move One: The Maple Leafs started the day by placing Petr Mrazek and Kyle Clifford on waivers.

Petr Mrazek, Toronto Maple Leafs
Petr Mrazek, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Move Two: The team signed 32-year-old KHL goalie Harri Sateri to a one-year $750,000 deal. Sateri played nine games for the Florida Panthers in the 2017-18 season posting a 2.92 GAA and a 0.911 save percentage. 

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Sateri has spent the last three seasons in the KHL and has had a combined 2.14 goals-against-average and 0.923 save percentage over that time. He was the goalie who helped lead Team Finland to a gold medal at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Move Three: The Maple Leafs then made their big trade of the day. They acquired Mark Giordano and Colin Blackwell from the Seattle Kraken for a 2022 second-round pick, a 2023 second-round pick, and a 2024 third-round pick. 

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Mark Giordano brings a ton of experience and is still regarded, at the age of 38, as a solid 200-foot defenseman. He won the Norris Trophy as the league’s best defenseman in 2019. In fact, he was T.J. Brodie’s defensive partner with the Calgary Flames for a number of seasons, including the season he won the Norris. 

Tobias Rieder, Mark Jankowski, Mark Giordano, TJ Brodie
When they were with the Calgary Flames, Mark Giordano, and TJ Brodie played together (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal)

For Maple Leafs’ fans who aren’t familiar with Blackwell, the 5-foot-9, 190-pound forward was a seventh-round pick of the San Jose Sharks in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. He has 23 goals and 49 points in 119 NHL games. This season for Seattle he’s scored eight goals and nine assists (for 17 points). 

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Blackwell has played predominantly on the fourth line, averaging 12:29 of ice time. It will be interesting to see if the Maple Leafs feel Blackwell is an improvement over what they presently have on the fourth line, or if their acquiring him was more of them taking his salary off of Seattle’s books.  

We’ll know the answer to that question by whether or not the Maple Leafs keep him on their roster, or place him on waivers, similar to what they did with Ryan Dzingel in the Ilya Lyubushkin for Nick Ritchie trade. 

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Seattle retained half of Giordano’s $6.75 million salary-cap hit.  

Move Four: Not done yet, Toronto’s general manager Dubas dealt Travis Dermott to the Vancouver Canucks for a 2022 third-round pick.

Travis Dermott Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Travis Dermott (AP Photo/John Locher)

One other note is that Wayne Simmonds is back on the Maple Leafs’ active roster.  

How These Moves Impact the Maple Leafs’ Salary Cap

At present, according to Capfriendly, the Maple Leafs have 14 forwards on their roster for a total of $53.98 million in cap space. They have seven defensemen totaling $18.48 million. They have three goalies at $6.2 million, and Phil Kessel’s $1.2 million retained salary. 

That adds up to $78.86 million. Subtracted from that will be Kyle Clifford’s $1 million and $1.125 million of Mrazek’s salary once they clear waivers, which will bring their cap hit down to $76.73 million. If Sateri clears waivers, his $750,000 salary would be added to the mix. However, the Maple Leafs would most likely send Erik Kallgren down removing his $750,000, which would thus cancel each other out.  

Once Jake Muzzin comes off of LTIR, that would add another $5.63 million to the Maple Leafs’ salary-cap hit, bringing the total to $82.36 million. That puts them $860,000 over the $81.5 million NHL salary-cap limit. When Muzzin is activated, it gives the Maple Leafs a top-six defensemen of Muzzin, Morgan Rielly, Brodie, Giordano, Justin Holl, and Ilya Lyubushkin. 

That possibly pushes Rasmus Sandin and/or Timothy Liljegren out of the top six. Because both are waiver exempt, they both make enough that sending either one of them to the AHL would bring the Maple Leafs back under the cap.  

Is Kyle Dubas Finished Making Trades?

The Maple Leafs placed Mrazek on waivers; and, if he clears, which we feel he probably will, he’ll clear just before the 3 pm cutoff for the trade deadline.  

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We wonder two things. First, is Kyle Dubas done yet? Second, could he have a deal brewing that might involve Mrazek and that would clear his full salary-cap hit for the next two seasons off of the books?  

[Note: I want to thank long-time Maple Leafs’ fan Stan Smith for collaborating with me on this post. Stan’s Facebook profile can be found here.]