The trade deadline is fast approaching and teams always need to readjust their plans, especially with a tight playoff race taking place. However, some teams need to think of another plan when a good option is taking off the table.
On Saturday night, Sportsnet's Chris Johnston revealed that at least two teams that inquired about Toronto Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk were told that he’s not available prior to the trade deadline.
Now, that can be quite surprising, especially that no contract negotiations have taken place between the winger and the Leafs.
“At this point there are no real serious negotiations on that front,” Johnston said during Saturday’s Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada, adding that the same goes for fellow Toronto unrestricted free agents Tyler Bozak and Leo Komarov.
To make matters worse, Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos added that the reason there have been no talks between the Leafs and van Riemsdyk is because the 28-year-old isn’t interested in giving the club a “hometown discount.”
“He knows what the market is for goal scorers,” Kypreos explained. “He knows what the price is out there for a guy like Max Pacioretty. He’s going to be in a position to say, ‘If you want me to bring the [average annual value of a deal] down, you’re going to have to go deep in term.’
“I don’t think the Leafs are prepared to do what Washington did for T.J. Oshie, who had to go eight years. I think it’s inevitable that the Leafs may just be looking at renting their own player.”
In 56 games this season, van Riemsdyk has tallied 22 goals and 34 points.
If they can't agree on an extension, the Leafs might look to move him at the NHL Draft.