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Are The Leafs Considering Trading Their First Rounder?

February 9, 2024, 9:30 PM ET [77 Comments]
Mike Augello
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The Toronto Maple Leafs are in a playoff position one month before the NHL Trade Deadline, but only those wearing blue and white glasses believe they are in the top echelon of Stanley Cup contenders. The question that hangs over the club for the rest of February and into March is whether GM Brad Treliving will cash in one of their more valuable chips, their first-round pick in 2024 to bolster their roster.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman on the most recent 32 Thoughts podcast said that a factor of their willingness could be tied to the fact that some teams believe there is a dropoff in the upcoming draft in Las Vegas after about 20 players, which might have been a factor in why Winnipeg and Vancouver were willing to include their top picks in deals for centers Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm.

The Leafs is severely depleted in terms of draft capital. Toronto does not have second-round picks in 2024, 2025, and 2026, and does not have their first-round pick in 2025. Friedman believes that GM Brad Treliving was prepared to offer up their first earlier in the season in a deal with Calgary to get both pending UFA’s Nikita Zadorov and Chris Tanev, and thinks that they would give up the #1 instead of existing prospects like Fraser Minten, Easton Cowan, or Matthew Knies in a deal in a multi-player deal, or a player that has term remaining on their contracts.

This has the potential to be a big miscalculation by Treliving since the Leafs must be able to develop young prospects on entry-level contracts to counterbalance the high-priced deals of their core group. That can only be done with high picks and those are in short supply. If Toronto can get a player (preferably a defenseman) that is not a stopgap, then it would be a prudent move, but this club as currently constructed is not one or two players away.



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