Rival GM has “anyone but Toronto” mentality in blockbuster deal!

This seems unfair, no?

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The Toronto Maple Leafs have surely become a threat across the National Hockey League since they signed superstar forward John Tavares to a massive seven-year contract back on July 1st. Ever since, people are wondering what new general manager Kyle Dubas will do next after being able to pull off such a move with Tavares. 

While Dubas might be looking to make another splash on the market, it seems that one rival team will do everything it can to prevent it from happening. When asked if the possibility of the Leafs acquiring Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, The Athletic's James Mirtle said his general understanding is Ottawa has an “anyone but Toronto” mentality with that deal. 

That seems unfair, no? However, with the history behind both clubs and the new threat the Maple Leafs have become with Tavares, Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander on their roster, you can understand why Sens GM Pierre Dorion isn't looking to boost a rival lineup even more... 

"There is absolutely a rivalry with both the Sens and Canadiens and the Leafs, a rivalry that reaches all the way up into the front offices and ownership. And it’s been hard for both those franchises to watch the Leafs quickly ascend from also-ran to being a Stanley Cup threat while they’ve… not done that."

Mirtle doesn’t see a direct deal between the Senators and the Maple Leafs involving Karlsson, though he acknowledged the possibility of a three-team deal.  

It also comes down to cash. Mirtle points out there’s a limit to the Leafs’ salary-cap situation and adding a defenseman who could cost $11 million annually to re-sign might not be possible.

One thing was made clear during the Leafs' first round showdown against the Boston Bruins this spring: the Leafs blueline that was shredded by the Bruins during the opening round. No one can deny that... 

Without adding a top-four defender via trade or a promising prospect stepping up from within their ranks, the Maple Leafs seem far from improving on that end of the ice. However, Dorion is not expected to change his mind on his trade mentality, and so Toronto will have to look elsewhere on the market for a star defenseman...