When the Toronto Maple Leafs signed Patrick Marleau, it sent a loud message that they see themselves as cup contenders right now. What it also did was put the team $3.9 million over the salary cap.
Recently Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said referring to Tyler Bozak, Nazem Kadri, James van Riemsdyk and Leo Komarov:
“They’re real good players,” the coach said. “And two of them or . . . any way you look at it, we can’t all be on the team as we move ahead. It doesn’t work like that. We have to figure out a way when you have opportunities to do what you can.”
An interesting target from the Rangers perspective could be Tyler Bozak. The 31 year old center fills a clear need at the second center position at a manageable one year cap hit of $4.1M. Bozak’s 55 points last year would fill a much needed production gap left behind with the departure of Derek Stepan.
Toronto has some defensive depth issues making them a suitable trade partner for Nick Holden. At only $1.65M, Holden could provide sturdy, experienced defense for a team in Toronto that lacks a player with those qualities. Since an offer of Nick Holden alone won’t get it done, a reasonable trade offer from GMJG could be:
Nick Holden+Ryan Graves+2018 3rd
This offer not only gives the Leafs the aforementioned experienced defensemen, but it also gets them under the salary cap. Not only that, they add a talented young defenseman and an early pick in what experts are calling one of the most loaded drafts in years.
From the Rangers perspective, Bozian will slot behind Zibanejad and alleviating Kevin Hayes of added 2nd line responsibilities. Also, the removal of Holden will newly signed Alexei Bereglazov and Neal Pionk an easier track to ice time in their first seasons with the Blueshirts.