Toronto Maple Leafs Should Avoid Trades With the New York Rangers

Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images
Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images /

Although the Toronto Maple Leafs are expected to be active prior to the NHL trade deadline one team they should avoid making trades with is the New York Rangers.

The Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Rangers are likely to make multiple deals leading up to the Feb. 26 deadline. Toronto is looking to add depth while the Rangers look to kick-start a rebuild. Both teams have already made minor deals, with the Maple Leafs sending Nikita Soshnikov to the St. Louis Blues and the Rangers dealing Nick Holden to the Boston Bruins.

Most would think a buyer like Toronto and a seller like New York would be a perfect match for each other. One team clearly needs additional pieces if it hopes to make it out of the first round of the playoffs. The other team is happy to offload whatever players they can for the right price.

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However, a closer look at the Rangers rumored to be available suggests none of them are truly a great fit for the Maple Leafs. Rick Nash would certainly make Toronto a better team but the last thing they need is another winger.

Toronto is already having a hard time finding enough playing time for their current forward group, which is why Soshnikov had to be dealt. It’s also not like the team is in desperate need of another player to help the team’s powerplay.

Michael Grabner is another winger rumored to be available, but it’s likely still too soon to bring up his name amongst Maple Leaf fans. It was only two seasons ago Grabner played his lone season in Toronto. He struggled so bad the team couldn’t give him away at that year’s trade deadline. Grabner would finish with only nine goals and 18 points in 80 games for the Maple Leafs during the 2015-16 season.

Perhaps the most intriguing Ranger rumored to available from a Toronto perspective is Ryan McDonagh. It’s been no secret the Maple Leafs are in desperate need of defensive depth as any injury to the team’s current top-four defensemen could be a fatal blow for any postseason success.

McDonagh would instantly become Toronto’s best defenseman and add invaluable experience and leadership to a young roster. He would also be the second former captain added to the roster within a year with Stanley Cup Finals experience after Patrick Marleau was signed last summer. Since the Maple Leafs currently don’t a captain, it’s impossible to understand how much of an impact such a player could have a young locker room.

Unfortunately, given what the Bruins had to give up in acquiring a third-pairing defenseman like Holden, the price to acquire McDonagh would likely be incredibly high. Likely far too high of a price a young and up-and-coming team like the Maple Leafs should be paying at this stage of their development.

If a third-round pick and a prospect from the Bruins can only fetch a third-pairing defenseman, the price for McDonagh is likely similar to the Matt Duchene deal. A deal that included a first-round, second-round, and third-round draft picks along with multiple prospects. This also doesn’t help the position the Maple Leafs truly need is a right-handed shooting defenseman as the club is loaded with left-handed shooting defenseman like McDonagh.

Despite one team being a buyer while another is a seller, it’s hard to see a fit for Toronto and New York coming together on a trade. With the Rangers asking price seemingly high it simply wouldn’t make sense for the Maple Leafs to pay such a price when the club is already loaded with wingers and left-handed defenseman.

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Although upgrading position may seem ideal, the cost to do so would not fit Toronto’s long-term plans.

For updated NHL trade rumors, be sure to check out our Rumors page