The Toronto Maple Leafs may find a trade partner at the deadline in a familiar friend, the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Penguins blueline is hurting right now (literally) with Olli Maata and Justin Schultz out of action. Enter the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Penguins need a cheap defender that is a rental player. They aren’t looking for anything long-term. Their group has been doing good enough when they’re all healthy.
Now, the Penguins aren’t historically stupid under GM Jim Rutherford, so maybe the Leafs aren’t the best option given what they’ll be selling. That said, both teams have a history with each other (Phil Kessel) that leaves a good taste.
Matt Hunwick’s cap hit is $1.2M and Roman Polak’s is $2.25M. Toronto can retain two more salaries right now, if they need to lighten the load on a team during a trade.
The Penguins could get either one of those players – depending on what shot (right or left) they’re after – for a third round pick with half salary retained. They will be hard pressed to find that cheap of a deal elsewhere in my opinion. They might not end up with the defender they want, but they’ll get a body without forfeiting too much.
There have been zero rumors about either Leafs defender getting dealt, just assumptions based on expiring deals and future fit. I’d wager the Leafs would rather get something if they could instead of having both of them put back in the wild for free come July 1st.
Do the Penguins and Leafs make sense in this scenario? Probably not if you’re a Penguins fan because of the defenders involved, but you don’t always get what you want. From the Leafs side of the table it’s a perfect scenario.
What do you think? Let me know in the comment section your thoughts on the scenario.