Maple Leafs’ Trade Targets on the Seattle Kraken

With the NHL’s trade deadline less than two months away contending teams are starting to keep tabs on the bottom of the league’s standings to see which teams are going to become sellers in early 2022. The Toronto Maple Leafs sit comfortably in a playoff position and appear to be one of the league’s best hockey clubs. Therefore, they should be buyers as late March approaches.

Insert the Seattle Kraken, the expansion team who has disappointed in their inaugural season after several head-scratching selections last summer. Let’s take a look at the Kraken’s roster to see if any of their players could be potential fits for the Maple Leafs.

Calle Jarnkrok

If you’re looking for Stanley Cup playoff experience on the Kraken, look no further than this versatile forward. It feels like if the Maple Leafs are going to add as we approach the trade deadline, it will be for proven performers in the postseason and Calle Jarnkrok certainly fits the bill. He has appeared in 63 career postseason games and with his ability to play on both the power play and penalty kill, it could be a great piece for Kyle Dubas to add before late March.

Calle Jarnkrok Seattle Kraken
Calle Jarnkrok would be an interesting fit in Toronto (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The versatile forward can play up and down the lineup and can play on the wing or down the middle. This type of lineup flexibility is huge in Toronto, as with injuries and COVID absences expected to continue as the season rolls along, having a piece like Jarnkrok could help tremendously. He’s found success in the faceoff circle as well, as in 2021-22, he’s just over 50% on the draw.

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The long-time Nashville Predator is a pending free agent, making $2 million on the cap. The Maple Leafs would only be on the hook for essentially half, so this is a deal that could easily fit under the salary cap. The Kraken forward has been turning it on as of late and is showing he can be a dangerous player night in and night out.

The asking price shouldn’t be too high for Jarnkrok’s services, so perhaps the Maple Leafs could sway him away for a mid-level prospect and mid-round draft pick. Or perhaps a one-for-one trade with Nick Ritchie being involved could interest both teams.

Mason Appleton

The Maple Leafs know this player very well from their days in the North Division as Mason Appleton was a huge piece of the Winnipeg Jets’ third-line that gave the team fits with his high energy and strong work ethic. While he was a big piece for the Jets shutting down other teams, his tenure in Seattle has not been everything as advertised.

Mason Appleton is a gritty forward who could help the Maple Leafs postseason run. (Amy Irvin/The Hockey Writers)

Appleton has only appeared in 19 games this season, recording six points. While he isn’t paid to light up the scoresheet, the team was hopeful he could produce more offense, but so far, that hasn’t been the case. He’s been getting some minutes on both the man advantage and shorthanded, something the Maple Leafs can never have enough of, forwards who can play in all situations.

When the Kraken selected the forward from the Jets, many felt like he could be the perfect piece for an expansion team. Dave Reid of the NHL Network had this to say about why his name stood out at the time:

Appleton is signed for $900,000 this season and is a pending restricted free agent at the season’s end. Certainly a contract the Maple Leafs can work with and this wouldn’t be a rental trade, this would be a hockey trade where they are receiving a forward with some team control. Considering how often Ondrej Kase gets banged up, adding Appleton from the Kraken would be a great compliment in Toronto.

Jeremy Lauzon

The 24-year-old defenseman was a former second-round pick of the Boston Bruins and someone the Maple Leafs know pretty well. He’s also a pending restricted free agent and holds a cap hit of $850,000 for 2021-22. So far in 27 games, he’s managed to chip in with five points and is known much more for his defensive side of the game. Jeremy Lauzon would be an upgrade over Travis Dermott and would bring a bunch more sandpaper to the table for the Maple Leafs. Something they’ve lacked this season with the departure of Zach Bogosian.

Jeremy Lauzon, Seattle Kraken
Jeremy Lauzon is a prime trade candidate from the Kraken (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Lauzon’s 43 minutes in penalties leads all defensemen in Seattle and his 88 hits compared to Dermott’s 27 tell the story on the difference between the two defensemen. While the Maple Leafs’ defenseman isn’t soft by any means, he doesn’t play anywhere close to the level of intensity and physicality of the Kraken’s defender, who also isn’t shy to drop the mitts with some of the league’s toughest players:

The Maple Leafs and Kraken could turn out to be a match made in trade heaven. Certainly, an interesting pair of teams as Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol spent two seasons with the blue and white and knows some of the roster inside and out. It will all depend on what Leafs’ management decides to focus on to upgrade the roster but these three players would certainly bring some different elements. From lineup flexibility to some more sandpaper on defense, Seattle should be on Toronto’s radar when it comes to adding pieces before the trade deadline.

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