In recent years, the Maple Leafs have been looking to build through the draft and have held onto their top pick. That may not be the case this season, however. In the latest TSN Insider Trading (video link), Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic reported that GM Kyle Dubas is open to moving his first rounder between now and the trade deadline.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie followed up on that report in an appearance on TSN 1050 (audio link), noting that their target would be an impact defenseman and that it’s likely that one of their young wingers in Kasperi Kapanen or Andreas Johnsson would be gone as a part of any deal as well.
Making a deal like that would certainly involve a defender that is either signed or is under team control for multiple years which falls in line with Dubas’ stated preference to avoid the rental market. It would also give them some insurance for next season as it’s unlikely that they will be able to retain pending unrestricted free agent Jake Gardiner.