This Toronto Maple Leafs offseason was marked by the acquisition of the most coveted free agent of all, John Tavares, who ended signing a blockbuster seven-year deal on July 1st. It feels like we have almost forgotten about what else could happen, especially on the trade market.
According to The Fourth Period, another significant piece could be added to the Leafs' roster this season, seeing that they have roughly $18.6 million in available salary cap space, providing Nathan Horton (and his $5.3 million cap hit) is placed on long-term injury reserve. While they must focused on getting restricted free agent forward William Nylander to sign a contract extension, they still have great space to add another key player.
New appointed general manager Kyle Dubas is said to have taken a look at the trade market, and could choose to move two players on the block. The Fourth Period states: "Dubas explored the market, he received plenty of interest in a number of his players, including Kasperi Kapanen, Connor Brown and Josh Leivo. Brown and Leivo, according to sources, are still believed to be available if the right deal presented itself for either player, or both."
Training camps open next week but some teams are still busy putting a trade offer and present it to the Leafs. It is believed that the Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets, Florida Panthers and Pittsburgh Penguins were among the team that spoke with Dubas about Leivo.
Leivo was protected in the Vegas Golden Knights expansion draft and signed to a one-year $925,000 extension early last season. The offseason departures of James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak, Matt Martin and Tomas Plekanec could open up opportunities for Leivo, who could force the Leafs to keep in on the roster. The offseason departures of James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak, Matt Martin and Tomas Plekanec could leave some space and openings on the bottom six up front, and Leivo could be a great option for Dubas and head coach Mike Babcock.
However, Dubas might find him more interesting as a trade chip.
As for Brown, he has two-years left on his contract, which comes with a $2.1 million salary cap hit. There is still time to see if they will be moved before the season kicks off.. Trade talks will continue during training camps in the coming weeks.