One of the hottest teams in the NHL through the season’s quarter mark, here are five early trade deadline targets for the Toronto Maple Leafs. They have won five of their last seven games to sit in third place in the Atlantic Division. Once again led by their star players upfront, center Auston Matthews leads the team with 38 points. The former first overall pick has scored six goals over his last six games to sit third in the league.
Along with this, the group has also received depth scoring from players lower down in the lineup. Michael Bunting has racked up seven tallies in 35 games, playing top-six minutes in his first year with the team. Furthermore, Ondrej Kase has also racked up 17 points after inking a one-year deal in the offseason.
Remaining the backbone for the Maple Leafs in goal, Jack Campbell has entered his name into the Vezina conversation. Currently sitting third among netminders in wins, the 30-year-old has recorded a .935 save percentage and a 2.02 goals-against average across 26 starts. Destined to once again qualify for postseason play, the Maple Leafs are still looking to capture their first playoff series win since 2004 and these five trade deadline targets would move them in the right direction.
5 Early Trade Deadline Targets for the Toronto Maple Leafs
1. Mark Giordano, Seattle Kraken
After 15 seasons with the Calgary Flames, the Seattle Kraken took Giordano in the expansion draft. Selected to be the first captain in the history of the new franchise, he has been solid in his first season on the west coast. The 38-year-old has recorded 11 points in 29 contests while playing over 21 minutes per night. He is unlikely to last an entire season with Seattle, with the team remaining in the league’s bottom half. Rumblings have already begun to circulate about the availability of the Owen Sound alumn before the March 21st trade deadline.
A proven player over his 16 year NHL career, Giordano can play in any situation. Possessing the ability to stabilize the Maple Leaf’s back end, he can play top-four minutes for Sheldon Keefe’s group. Currently accounting for $6.75 million against the cap, he holds a no-trade clause. A steep price if Toronto was able to acquire the defenseman in a trade, Ron Francis would need to retain nearly 50% of his contract. Giordano is just one of five early trade deadline targets for the Maple Leafs.
2. John Klingberg, Dallas Stars
Quickly becoming more and more frustrated with his role on the Dallas Stars, Klingberg has reportedly requested a trade from the team. Reportedly negotiating an eight-year contract extension in the offseason, the two sides were far apart on compensation. This led the talks to break off, leading the pending unrestricted free agent to play out his final season with the team.
A two-time top ten finisher in the Norris Trophy voting, he remains just three years removed from a career-high 67 points during his 2017-2018 campaign. Still capable of generating offense from the back end, the 29-year-old is top five in ice time this season for the Stars, with nearly 22 minutes player per night. A value option for general manager Kyle Dubas at just a $4.25 million cap hit, a high-end draft pick, and a player should get the deal done.
Already playing in his sixth NHL season, Crouse has failed to provide the production for the Arizona Coyotes. Acquiring the 24-year-old in a trade with the Florida Panthers in 2017, he has recorded just 76 points across 313 NHL games. However, the former 11th overall pick has begun to have an expanded role for the Coyotes in the first year under head coach Andre Tourigny.
Playing over 18 minutes a night for the group, he has already racked up nine goals and eight assists in 33 contests, putting on pace to set new career highs. Set to become a restricted free agent after the year’s end, the Mount Brydges native would be a capable depth piece lower down in the Maple Leaf’s lineup. A physical presence with the ability to kill penalties, he checks in as the third member on our early trade deadline targets for the Toronto Maple Leaf’s list.
4. Jack Roslovic, Columbus Blue Jackets
After being drafted 25th overall by the Winnipeg Jets in 2015, Roslovic was brought over to his hometown team in the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Pierre-Luc Dubois and Patrik Laine swap. Getting off to a fast start with his new club, the 24-year-old racked up 29 points in his first 35 games. This led him to finish the year with a career-high 22 assists. Cooling off in 2021, the Miami University alumn has just five goals in 33 games to begin the season.
Furthermore, he has seen his ice time dip from over 22 minutes a year ago to just 16 minutes a night. A piece with control as Toronto would own his restricted free agent rights in the offseason, Roslovic carries just a $1.8 million cap hit. Acquiring him would allow Toronto to move David Kampf to fourth-line center while also adding depth up the middle.
5. Jake DeBrusk, Boston Bruins
Arguably the most prominent name floated on the trade market to date, Debrusk has openly voiced his frustration with the Boston Bruins over the last few months. Two years removed from racking up 19 goals in 65 contests; the speedy left-winger has seen himself moved down to the third line. This was after Boston acquired Taylor Hall last season and inked the former Hart Trophy winner to a four-year contract extension.
Still capable of playing top-six minutes, Debrusk has gotten off to a slow start this year with just ten points in 28 contests. Nonetheless, with the Maple Leafs remaining thin on the left side, he finds himself one of five trade deadline targets for Toronto. Adding the former first-round pick would give them a true option to play alongside Matthews and Mitch Marner.