There's a lot of speculation and ideas being tossed around in relation to what Lou Lamoriello should do with his impending free agents. Toronto Maple Leafs forwards James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak, and Leo Komarov are all on expiring contracts, as you surely know, and there are conflicting ideas over what Toronto should do.
Here are some of the scenarios.
Keep one or two of them, and rent out the remainder. That could mean trading a guy like say, Tyler Bozak to the Pittsburgh Penguins, a team that is very well-known to be looking for a stable third line centreman. They could get that in Bozak, and in return, the Leafs might get someone like Ian Cole, or a package of pick(s) and prospect(s).
His value could be higher than people realize to a team in desperate need around trade deadline.
In this scenario, van Riemsdyk is retained as an "own rental", and maybe Komarov too.
Trade everybody. Accept the reality that this season, the Leafs likely won't make a run at the Stanley Cup the way they are constructed. So why not get better value from your assets and acquire a haul of picks and prospects now, get the experience of playing in the playoffs for the kids, and move on from this season.
In June, use the acquired assets and flip them for a top defenseman. Trading those three players could very well fetch Lamoriello the pieces he needs to make such a deal happen.
This option may be unpopular, as it all but sacrifices this season (barring a miracle), but it sets up the future of this team in a great way.
Who knows - a twist of fate could bring JvR+ back to Toronto on July 1st.
Here's the controversial one, that maybe some will agree with, but probably most will disagree with. Do absolutely nothing. The Hockey Writers reporter Peter Ferrell believes this is the best route to go. He doesn't agree with the notion that Lamoriello should give up on this season - and handicap it by giving up 3 long-tenured Leafs players.
The chemistry will be out of whack, or most likely will be at any rate, and there will be no real replacement for them. While William Nylander and Patrick Marleau have experience down the middle, they might not provide the consistency that Bozak has over the years on a largely bad team. He has his value to this team, and won't have an immediate replacement.
Komarov's numbers are down despite his heavy usage, but he still fills an important role nonetheless, according to Ferrell. He also believes his value on the trade market isn't high enough to warrant trading him and disrupting the chemistry on the roster.
As for JvR, he's a specimen on this team - that is, he's big, strong, and is scoring at a career-high rate. The team doesn't really have players like him, and while he would fetch a good return on the market, losing him would be a huge blow to this season.
It all comes down to this - do you care about the short-term, or the long-term? Of course, anything can happen in the playoffs, and the Leafs could miraculously win with all these guys or with none of them.
But if you care more about the long-term success of this team, trading these guys now presents the best opportunity to solidify this roster over the long-term.
Which scenario do you prefer?