The Toronto Maple Leafs may be getting closer and closer to adding the type of defenseman that head coach Mike Babcock has been desperate for since he joined the franchise back in the summer of 2015.
According to a report from Toronto sports radio host Dean Blundell the rumors linking the Toronto Maple Leafs to St. Louis Blues defenseman Colton Parayko have begun to pick up steam. The 25 year old Canadian defenseman is exactly the kind of stay at home defenseman that the Leafs have been searching for and his combination of both size and skill have made him a very hot commodity around the National Hockey League. At 6'6 and 230lbs Parayko is the kind of player that old school coaches like Mike Babcock salivate over and there's no question that the veteran coach is likely influencing any attempts to acquire the player.
That being said though the price tag on a player like Parayko is likely to be extremely high the rumors have been liking Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander to this potential trade. According to Blundell however Toronto Maple Leafs Kyle Dubas is not likely to deal his talented young forward and in fact Blundell believes that playing with Nylander was one of the selling points used to lure former New York Islanders captain John Tavares to Toronto.
So the question becomes who does Blundell believe the Leafs nay move in this potential trade deal? The two names that he went out of his way to cite as realistic trade options were those of winger Kasperi Kapanen and defenseman Jake Gardiner.
There's no question that losing a player like Gardiner on the left side of their defense would weaken that side considerably but bolstering the right side of their defense may make that a price the Leafs are willing to pay. On top of that it's no secret that the Leafs feel Gardiner has never lived up to the potential that they saw in him and that will almost certainly make them far more willing to consider this move than they would be for a player like Nylander.
Kapanen, a former Maple Leafs first round pick, has relatively little experience thus far at the NHL level although his high potential ceiling makes him an intriguing option. The Blues have a lack of depth on the right side of the wing and Kapanen would not only fill that role in the short term but could also develop into an extremely viable regular option in the future for St. Louis on that side. That being said both sides have to want this deal and that may be why the price is so high for the Leafs.
In spite of Gardiner's offensive talent he has just one year remaining on his current contract and as a result his value as a trade asset drops off considerably if he is merely a rental option. The Blues would be taking a risk by accepting him as a return and that would result in the Leafs having to sweeten the pot. That is where, according to Blundell, the addition of Kapanen in this deal would come in. Kapanen is in the final year of his deal as well but as a restricted free agent the Blues would retain full control over his rights.
Would you make this deal if you're Toronto? Would you do it if you're St. Louis? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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