Candidates Traded in Maple Leafs' Alleged Big "Summer Kohei" Deal

Candidates Traded in Maple Leafs’ Alleged Big “Summer Kohei” Deal

Elliot Friedman wondered if this summer would be the “Kohi Summer” for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Suggesting that he sees this season as the time when GM Kyle Dupas might make a big move and send one of his best players from one roster to a top player from another roster, he made a comparison to the Toronto Raptors when they transferred the amazing DeMar DeRozan, then added Kawhi Leonard. This was the season the Raptors ended up winning the NBA Championship.

Our Peter Baracchini of Hockey Writers discusses the pros and cons of such a move, and while Friedman didn’t specify who he might talk about in the trade, it’s fairly easy to put some of the pieces together. There are ways to infer who won’t go, who may go, and who might target the Maple Leafs in such a trade. In other words, who is Demar in a potential Maple Leafs deal, and who is Al-Kohi?

Who will not trade maple leaves

DeRozan was shocked when he was traded by the Raptors. Whoever leaves the maple leaf probably wouldn’t be as surprised. In part, the no-trade and no-move conditions will affect Kyle Dupas’ ability to actually trade certain players. Also, many names have been spread in the trade rumors, and almost everyone is fair game now.

Among those likely to reside there are John Tavares and Morgan Riley. Both players have complete immobility clauses and Tavares specifically signed with the Maple Leafs to play for the team he loved as a kid. It would take just the right trade for him to give up, and his batting hat and declining production wouldn’t make him an easy move even if he did. Also, it probably doesn’t bring back someone who would be a huge ground shaker for the Leafs.

John Tavares Toronto Maple Leafs
John Tavares, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Mark Blanch/NHLI via Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Rielly has just signed an extension and is probably the most important defender on the Maple Leafs roster. Don’t expect Dubas to talk to the other teams about Riley, at least not yet.

Among the stars who could be traded but wouldn’t be Austin Matthews. Sure, he could part in for free agency at the end of the 2023-24 season, but he’s simply too good and there’s no player (other than Conor McDavid) the Maple Leafs can get in return that will help their team more than Matthews does.

Marner trading will be the real risk

If the Maple Leafs wanted to make a move that would shake the team to its foundations, Mitch Marner is the man. He earns nearly $11 million in salary cap, has tremendous value in the trade and there would be teams willing to fork out a huge return to include him on their roster. It’s the closest thing to a surprise deal the Maple Leafs have made and even then, it wouldn’t be a complete shock as his name has appeared so many times in the past.

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The question would be, who can acquire the Maple Leafs and who helps them more than the Marner? If it’s Marner DeRozan, who is Cowhie? With the way Marner and Matthews click, it would be hard to imagine a similar existence. In fact, Marner is probably the kohi in this equation. Just if Dubas thinks the sum of the parts is greater than the whole, Maple Leafs sends Marner out and essentially adds two players instead of one of the team’s best players. Even then, he’d better be sure because having a deal like that goes sideways is a reason to lose your job as a GM.

William Nylander can make sense

Remember, the type of trade that Friedman is talking about is one in which a big name leaves the list that many fans probably wouldn’t be happy to leave. At the same time, the returning player is supposed to be the difference maker who puts the maple leaves on top. As such, the sacrifice becomes worth it. In this scenario – and as Parachini writes in his article – William Nylander immediately comes to mind.

Nylander possesses incredible talent and skill. He may be the Maple Leafs’ most naturally gifted attacking player. He can also drive the head coach crazy with the decisions he makes on the ice. All of this can happen in the same game and sometimes in the same shift.

William Nylander Toronto Maple Leafs
William Nylander, Toronto Maple Leafs (Jess Starr/Hockey Book)

At the end of the day, his talent and salary will be tempting to the teams, and Luke Fox of Sportsnet wrote in a recent mailbag clip that he believes Toronto could get a great deal from Nylander if they are looking to transfer him. Fox adds that the Nylander is the closest thing the Leafs have to DeMar DeRozan.

Who might target the maple plant in this deal?

If the Maple Leafs move Nylander, Fox believes that will pave the way for bringing in someone like JT Miller. It’s certainly not the only candidate that could be considered a huge plus.

In terms of other difference-makers, Fox wonders if Jacob Chicheron and his fine hat-tie would be an option. If so, would moving someone like Jake Muzzin make this trade possible? Up front, he wonders if Timo Meyer, Nikolai Eilers or Dylan Larkin would be a good fit? All three have salaries below their perceived value and all are on teams that may make changes. Sending Alex Kerfoot would be the start of such a move.

Tyler Bertuzzi’s name has appeared in connection with Maple Leafs before, but his vaccination status may be a concern. It shouldn’t make sense as the Edmonton Oilers proved that Josh Archibald’s attitude didn’t slow them down from using the striker when they thought they needed to.

Goalkeeper swap?

The most obvious change is in the goalkeeping position. If the Maple Leafs can’t come to an agreement with Jack Campbell, and Dubbas is able to weed out Petr Mrazek’s salary, there is an open window to add a top-tier goalkeeper and one could argue that no position is critical to a team’s success. Fox mentions John Gibson is from Anaheim, but Darcy Kuemper will also be available outside of Colorado.

It would be surprising if the Maple Leafs simply chose to allow Campbell to walk and/or trade his rights around the NHL entry draft. The talk is that they would like a deal, and even if there are whispers that it might come at a higher price than the Leafs are willing to pay, many believe that extension will eventually expire. But what if the maple leaves went in another direction?

If he selects Dubas and thinks he can get a different goalkeeper, that’s a big move that could fall under the criteria of “Summer Kohi”.

2022-05-25 18:05:00

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