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One of those defenders – Shayne Gostisbehere – is a left-wing defender and could be a bit risky due to his injury history. However, he could become the kind of defender who would have become the cornerstone of the team for the future. And it is said to be on the market.
The second defender – Travis Hamonic – is more specifically in tune with the needs of the team. He becomes an unrestricted free agent (UFA) and may be interested in signing with the Maple Leafs.
Point one: Andreas Johnsson attracts interest from Columbus Blue Jackets
In a move that seems quite logical, there are reports that the Blue Jackets have shown interest in Toronto winger Andreas Johnsson. The Maple Leafs have depth and need to contract; the Blue Jackets have strength in defense. Although no name has been thrown on the Columbus side, conversations between the teams make perfect sense, in general.
The Blue Jackets need to score and could move a player from their strong blue line – the two teams could certainly help each other. It will be interesting to see what the commercial value of Johnsson could be. Due to a knee injury in mid-February, he was unable to return until Game 5 of the play-in series on August 9.
During the 2019-20 regular season, Johnsson scored just eight goals and 21 points in 43 games. Along with Toronto, he was one of the last six forwards. That probably wouldn’t be the case if he moved to Columbus, where he would be much higher in the food chain. Stay tuned on this one.
Point two: Could the Maple Leafs take a risk on Shayne Gostisbehere?
There must be good defenders who have an easier financial relationship with the team than Alex Pietrangelo. There is no doubt that he is a solid defender; in fact, his presence seems like just what the team need to solidify their defense. However, as Maple Leafs fans know all too well, the squad already has three $ 9 million men – John Tavares, Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. Adding another such high salary to the team’s current payroll could be extremely difficult.
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A potential defender who could do the trick would be Shayne Gostisbehere. Although he’s a left-hand shot defenseman, he could offer great value to the Maple Leafs at half the price. In fact, given his history and where he is today, he could be the kind of general manager of the player that Kyle Dubas sees as a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Gostisbehere has played for the Philadelphia Flyers since his rookie season in 2015-16. At 5-11, he can’t be called a “stunt”, but he’s been a solid defenseman since he first took to the ice. He has incredible skills – or has. During the 2015-16 season, he set the NHL record for the longest point streak by a rookie defenseman and had 17 goals and 29 assists for 46 points in 64 games.
His strong play continued and became one of the Flyers’ best offensive defensemen over the past decade. His best offensive season was 2017-18 when he scored 13 goals and 52 assists (65 points) in 78 games. He also improved his defensive game. The risk is that he was recently injured. Gostisbehere missed time for a few seasons due to knee problems and twice had arthroscopic surgery on his injured knee.
During this season’s playoffs, he looked like the player he once was. However, he slipped on the Flyers’ depth graph. and rumored to be, the team is looking to move himself and former Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk during the offseason.
Gostisbehere could be a player the Maple Leafs are interested in, especially if the Flyers are proactive in making him available. The tipping point was the Flyers’ interest in signing defenseman Robert Hagg, who would have become a restricted free agent. Now that the Flyers re-signed him today, they might want to move Gostisbehere.
Right now he has a pretty friendly contract for the team and has what Dubas wants – a term. Gostisbehere is still three years old at $ 4.5 million per season. If there is any chance he has gotten over his knee issues, he could be an absolute steal at the cost of his contract and could become a solid player for the team in the coming seasons. Basically he would cost the same as Cody This last season, and at 27, “Ghost” is exactly the age of This.
Point three: Travis Hamonic could be a great free agent pickup
Rumors suggest that the Calgary Flames and Maple Leafs had spoken of Travis Hamonic’s transfer at this season’s trade deadline. Prior to this rumor, it was believed that when Nazem Kadri was in the market last offseason, the Maple Leafs and Flames had agreed on a deal that would have traded Nazem Kadri for Hamonic. However, Kadri was desperate to stay in Toronto and would not give up his no-trade clause.
Obviously, nothing has become trade deadline rumors. Now Hamonic is in the process of becoming a UFA that is unlikely to join the Flames. After choosing not to enter the bubble, his season ended with the regular season suspension.
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Sportsnet’s Luke Fox noted that the Maple Leafs have been interested in Hamonic for some time, specifically suggesting that “Toronto has been eyeing Hamonic since he was an Islander and lost a bidding war against Calgary.
Now that Hamonic is a free agent, there is no need to trade for him. However, the Maple Leafs would have to switch wages to sign him. Given the context of COVID-19 and its impact on wages, is there any chance that Hamonic will sign for less than the $ 3.87 he earned with the Flames?
Hamonic is not flashy, nor is he an attacking defender like Gostisbehere. However, he is a strong, physical and physical 30-year-old defensive back who is rarely caught off guard and makes few mistakes on the ice. In many ways, Hamonic is similar to Jake Muzzin. He’s not afraid to throw a shot or lie down in front of a shot. He could be the right-handed defender the team needs.
What’s next with the Maple Leafs?
The next big event we know about is the 2020 NHL Draft which is about a week away. The Stanley Cup will have been hoisted and there will likely be a lot of excitement around the moves the Maple Leafs have made or could make.
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I want to know if Dubas moves the team’s first round pick chosen by the Penguins. I think he will. We will find out soon.