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Report: Leafs testing two forwards ahead of trade deadline

Their performances will determine which of the two players gets traded.

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Trade deadline is just over a month away and the Toronto Maple Leafs have several important decisions to make. They've been heavily discussed for weeks, if not months, and it's all coming to a head.

James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak, Leo Komarov... what will their fates be as February 26th approaches? There have been multiple options discussed. Trade them all, keep them all, or a combination of the two.

Another situation to monitor that has not been talked about is the usage of Dominic Moore and Frederik Gauthier.

Moore hasn't played since New Year's Eve, with Gauthier playing most of the games since in the fourth line centre role. There have been questions as to why Moore isn't playing, as he has been playing reasonably well, within his own capabilities anyway.

Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star has the answer to that question.

"Dominic Moore's issue is that the Leafs want to see what Frederik Gauthier can do." McGran writes. "He's got from now to the trade deadline to prove he belongs in the NHL. His game Thursday night was his best since his recall. After the deadline, the Leafs -- like other playoff-bound teams -- will set their lineup for the playoffs. If Gauthier has faltered, Moore will step in. Or there'll have been a trade."

Essentially, they are trying to see who of the two players works best for this lineup, with them giving the much younger Gauthier the chance to prove himself first. 

The 21st overall pick in 2013 has one goal in 7 games played this season, and 5 points total in 35 career games. Moore has 9 points in 31 games this season, and is probably the better option for the Leafs this year.

Fans appreciate "The Goat", but he might prove to be trade bait in 5 weeks from now, and this could ultimately be his showcase.

The Leafs may opt to not trade either of them and keep the players as depth. But with Kasperi Kapanen and Josh Leivo, among others knocking on the door, there's no shortage of depth for that fourth line, so trading one of these two guys is far from unrealistic.