There has been a ton of talk surrounding the Toronto Maple Leafs this season, and what they plan on doing with their expiring contracts. It's been one of the most fascinating storylines in the NHL, as they have 3 important members of varying degrees set to hit unrestricted free agency in James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak, and Leo Komarov.
The situation has been dissected to bits - do they keep them all, trade one or two, trade them all? No one knows. Add to that the fact that Lou Lamoriello's contract is also ending and he may not even be general manager past this season. How will that affect the moves that the organization makes?
It's no secret that the team wants a top four defenseman, on the right side. Sure, the emergence of Travis Dermott and maybe even Justin Holl may have complicated matters a little bit, but that's mere speculation.
What we do now, is that Toronto currently has 50 active contracts, the max allowable under the CBA. For them to trade for an impact player at the trade deadline, they need to free up a contract spot. That could feasibly happen in a trade for said impact player, but what if it doesn't?
Enter the Montreal Canadiens.
Just because the two teams are divisional and historic rivals, doesn't mean they can't help each other out a little bit.
That would come in the form of trading Eric Fehr to the Canadiens as a salary and contract dump along with a pick or two for something like a late round draft pick.
That would free up cap space, and a contract spot. His $2 million would be off the books, giving the Leafs the flexibility to make a bigger deal elsewhere.
The Canadiens have 44 contracts on the books, and a ton of cap space. If Marc Bergevin is creative, he could easily make deals with several teams to give these clubs flexibility at the trade deadline, all the while racking up picks and unsigned prospects.
The Carolina Hurricanes eased the burden of Bryan Bickell's contract on the Chicago Blackhawks by taking him in a trade that saw Teuvo Teravainen packaged up in the deal in consequence. As The Athletic's Marc-Antoine Godin mentions, the Habs wouldn't be able to make that good of a deal at the trade deadline, it would be more of a summer move, but he could still make similarly profitable deals.
This sure sounds like making a deal with the devil, but it could be worth it for both clubs.