Can Evander Kane or John Klingberg Be a Fit For Maple Leafs?


If one were to whittle the Toronto Maple Leafs’ dream wish list to two positions that could most benefit from an upgrade in advance of the trade deadline, they would be top-six left wing and top-four right defenceman.

Well, a newsy weekend has plopped one of each on the market — albeit under vastly different circumstances.

The San Jose Sharks chopped ties with high-scoring power forward Evander Kane, who, from a salary-cap perspective, instantly becomes more attractive as a free agent without a $7-million hit. (A filed grievance for Kane’s terminated contract awaits.)

And it came to light that stud blueliner and impending UFA John Klingberg feels so underappreciated in Dallas that he’d be willing to change his address if an extension cannot be worked out with the Stars.

“It's not like I've been going out there and asking, 'I want to get traded now,' or something like that,” Klingberg told reporters. “It's something that's been going on with the negotiations and stuff like that.”

Bottom line: A couple of excellent, proven talents that meet Toronto needs are available. Both come with complications, however.

Is there a fit?

Let’s start with Kane, the hottest and most immediate subject here.

As of Monday evening, more than 15 of the league’s teams have expressed some level of interest in becoming the 30-year-old sniper’s fourth NHL franchise, we can report, and Kane’s preference, naturally, would be to sign with a contender.

The Leafs are a contender.

Kane’s agent, Dan Milstein, will neither confirm nor deny Toronto’s interest in Kane.

But GM Kyle Dubas has never been afraid to take a low-risk flyer on castoff skill.

#hockey, #nhl

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