Leafs GM Kyle Dubas already made a significant trade when he acquired Jack Campbell and Kyle Clifford from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for Trevor Moore and some draft picks. However, Dubas’ work is far from over, as the team still desperately needs a right-shot defenseman. On a positive note unrelated to the deadline, Darren Dreger recently reported the Leafs are close to extending left-shot defenseman Jake Muzzin, and a deal could be done by the deadline date. Muzzin has a -1.89 career AB score but posted his highest score since 2012-2013 last season.
The Leafs number one priority this deadline season, as we’re sure everyone is aware of, is upgrading their defense. To do this, they may have to part with one of their talented young forwards, which becomes more complicated due to Andreas Johnsson’s most recent injury. Leafs could potentially deal one of Kasperi Kapanen, Alexander Kerfoot, or the injured Johnsson, in their pursuit of a defenseman. In the one season we have on Andreas Johnsson, he has a +1.67 AB score, which was among the highest on the team that season. He has an impressive penalty drawn/taken ratio with 7:11 and a solid 20:13 giveaway/takeaway. Johnsson also has even +/- with 0. His cap situation is interesting, as he is a 25-year old making $3.4 million, with 3-years left on his deal after this season concludes. Kasperi Kapanen has a slightly higher career AB score with a +2.11 score over a two-year sample. Kapanen has never registered a negative individual AB season in his career and is on pace to continue that trend this season. Like Johnsson, he also has an impressive penalty taken/drawn ratio at 5:13, and an equally impressive 25:27 giveaway/takeaway ratio. He is also +2 on the season +/- wise. Kapanen makes $3.2 million with 2 years of term left as a 23-year old winger. Lastly, Alex Kerfoot is the only one of the group with a negative career AB score with a -2.33 over a two-year sample. His penalty taken/drawn ratio is 13:9, while his giveaway/takeaway ratio is 27:23. Like Johnsson, he also has even +/- at 0, and 3-years remaining on his contract as a 25-year old. Kerfoot makes 100k more than Johnsson at $3.5 million per year.
The Leafs will look to trade those forwards plus a package of picks and prospects for a solid defenseman, and the one that fits the Leafs’ needs the most in our opinion is Minnesota’s Matt Dumba. Matt Dumba has an impressive positive career AB score at a +0.20 score over a 5-year sample size. He has a solid giveaway/takeaway ratio for a defenseman at 28:18. He also has an equally impressive penalty drawn/taken ratio, with a 14:11. Dumba is playing 3 minutes more per game than his previous career average of 19:51 minutes per night. However, he is -6 on the season. It will definitely be an interesting couple of weeks for the Toronto Maple Leafs, as they continue to push for the playoffs. Currently, they sit with 68 points in 58 games, good enough for the 3rd playoff spot in the Atlantic Division. Much more to come.