The NHL Trade Deadline is looming and things are heating up. This has sparked plenty of NHL rumours, adding to the excitement of the mid-season. As long as NHL rumours remain around, Last Word on Hockey will look to keep fans up to date. Today, we will cover rumours surrounding the Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings, and Los Angeles Kings.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Rumour: In the latest ‘Lead Off’ podcast, the Sportsnet crew discussed the Leafs pursuit of a defenceman. They cited that, as long as the Leafs stay hot, they’re sure to look at acquiring one of the better defencemen on the market, with a specific look at a potential Mathew Dumba trade.
Analysis: The Sportsnet crew went in-depth about what a Dumba-to-Toronto deal would look like. It was mentioned that the price tag for Dumba would likely be one of Kasperi Kapanen, Alexander Kerfoot, or Andreas Johnsson; as well as a “young defenceman” and a draft pick. With that said, no names were explicitly provided by Sportsnet’s source.
It can be inferred that the “young defenceman” mentioned is one of Rasmus Sandin or Timothy Liljegren. The duo of terrific talent has been mentioned in a large majority of the recent Leafs rumours. Both being elite prospects makes one of them expendable at any given time. With Sandin’s terrific NHL play lately, Liljegren seems to be the one that would go.
This seems like a steep price but Dumba’s potential is well worth it. He’s 25-years-old and scored 14 goals and 55 points in the 2017-18 and was on pace for 56 (including an amazing 30 goals) during the 2018-19 season, before succumbing to injury. This year he’s underperformed, though, with only 16 points and three goals in 51 games. This is a pace for only four goals and 25 points.
Still, Dumba has been terrific throughout his short career. In seven NHL seasons, including this one, he has netted double-digit goals in four. He was on pace for double-digits in another year. He offers such a fantastic offensive spark while remaining reliable on defence as well. For such a potent offence like Toronto’s, Dumba would be an almost-unfair addition. He is also signed for the next three seasons, at a $6 million cap hit. This gives the Leafs a defenceman to cling to.
Detroit Red Wings
Rumour: Ted Kuflan of the Detroit News recently listed seven names that are likely to be available in Detroit come the Trade Deadline. These names would give the Wings plenty of leverage as they try to acquire more 2020 Draft picks.
Among the list is Robby Fabbri, Darren Helm, and Andreas Athanasiou. The two latter names have been mentioned in trade rumours for years, with Athanasiou being especially prevalent this year, but Fabbri sticks out.
The St. Louis Blues dealt Fabbri to Detroit earlier in the year, looking to give the winger a fresh start. He has, without a doubt, embraced that fresh start. After looking burnt out in St. Louis, Fabbri has netted 25 points in 36 games with Detroit. This includes 11 goals. It puts Fabbri on a just-under-60-point pace, as well as a 25-goal-pace.
Fabbri’s turnaround has been terrific. Though, it is largely thanks to the tremendous boost in ice time, and trust, he has received in Detroit. Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman is clearly looking to sell-high on his short, after only having to send Jacob de La Rose to St. Louis. Now, he could surely bring in a second or third-round pick. Either would be invaluable headed into the 2020 NHL Draft, as the top three rounds look terrifically deep.
The issue arises when considering the unique situation Fabbri is in, in Detroit. He receives top-six ice time and is given all of the chances in the world to score. The receiving team would need to match these conditions perfectly if they wanted to keep Fabbri on his terrific run, something that would be very difficult for any playoff contender.
Los Angeles Kings
Rumour: Sportsnet’s Rory Boylen recapped recent NHL rumours, including the note that Tyler Toffoli wishes to stay with L.A. but the Kings likely won’t be able to pass up the return package he’d fetch.
Analysis: Toffoli has been one of the most prominent names among the NHL trade blocks. He’s joined Chris Kreider as one of the players that many just assume will be dealt before the deadline. Recent news suggests that Toffoli himself isn’t among this group, though. He instead wants to stay in Los Angeles. He told The Athletic, “It definitely bothers me because I feel like I put a lot into the organization… I definitely want to stay here and be part of what their plan is…”
Still, Toffoli could reel in a great return for a Kings team that is in rebuild mode. At the very least, the Kings are sure to get a high-round pick for the veteran winger. Toffoli has scored 29 points this year in 52 games. This puts him on pace for his fourth 40-point season in only eight career seasons. 14 of these 29 points have been goals, a 22-goal pace; what would be his fourth 20-goal season. He also has terrific advanced stats, despite the Kings lacklustre performance. This creates a very attractive package for teams looking to boost their top-six as the playoffs near. Toffoli is on the last year of a $4.6 million contract, again allowing many contenders to go out on a limb for him.