After yet another humiliating playoff loss, expect the Toronto Maple Leafs to make some huge changes.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are heading home early after yet another postseason failure. They remain the only NHL franchise who hasn’t won a playoff series in the salary cap era. This season, the Leafs didn’t even make the Stanley Cup Playoffs, as they lost in the play-in round to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
It’s clear that changes need to be made in Toronto. Their current way of doing things is simply not working. They’re committing over $40 million to four forwards and that’s simply not sustainable given their roster’s needs.
Expect the Leafs to be quite active this offseason. Last summer, they traded Nazem Kadri for Tyson Barrie and Alexander Kerfoot. That clearly wasn’t enough. The Leafs have a lot of work to do if they want to become Stanley Cup contenders. Here are three players they should trade as they try to retool their talented roster.
1. Andreas Johnsson
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The Leafs signed Kerfoot, Andreas Johnsson, and Kasperi Kapanen to virtually identical deals last summer. Johnsson got a four-year deal worth $3.4 million annually. Kapanen is the most useful member of the trio, so it makes sense to keep him.
Kerfoot is a useful defensive center who can produce at a respectable rate, so trading him makes little sense. That leaves Johnsson, who’s a bit expendable.
A huge reason he’s expendable is because of Nicholas Robertson, who proved he’s ready for a spot on the NHL roster after an impressive showing against the Blue Jackets. He can do what Johnsson can do (and likely more) at a much cheaper price.
Packaging him with a draft pick for a top-four defenseman makes a lot of sense. Personally, I think the Leafs should target New Jersey Devils defenseman Damon Severson. The Devils could use someone like Johnsson and I don’t think the Leafs would need to add much to the deal to make it work.