Trade chatter has been pretty quiet on the Leafs front this season. But with the trade deadline now just a shade under four weeks away, we’re getting to that point in the season where the rumors are going to start coming in fast and furious.
While people might like to imagine scenarios that see the Leafs massively overhaul the shape of their roster – think trades involving the likes of Dion Phaneuf, Tyler Bozak, or Leo Komarov – such moves may be unlikely. After all, it’s difficult to move players with term on their contracts mid-season. Likewise, you need somebody on your team to finish out the season, and given some of the smaller pieces that the Leafs may have an easier time moving, the focus should probably shift to the veterans on expiring deals.
That notion was echoed by Darren Dreger tonight in TSN’s latest segment of Insider Trading. On the Leafs, and in particular reference to Roman Polak (who TSN has 7th on their ambiguous “trade bait” board), Dreger had this to say:
“There is interest, will be interest in Roman Polak. He’s 29 years old, right-shot defenseman, and he’s hard-working, had a decent year. But I’d look beyond him as well and I’d look at Shawn Matthias, I’d look at P.A. Parenteau, some of the experienced players on short-term deals will likely be on the move out of Toronto as well.”
The other unmentioned veterans set to become unrestricted free agents this June on the Leafs’ roster include Michael Grabner, Nick Spaling, and Brad Boyes (we actually profiled all of the Leafs on expiring contracts last week).
Other players that might conceivably fit the bill of “experienced players on short-term deals” would be Daniel Winnik and Matt Hunwick, both of whom carry a cap hit below $2M, and both of whom have one season past this one remaining on their contracts.
TSN suggests these teams have some interest in Roman Polak. pic.twitter.com/EDpJ5RLC0u
— Draglikepull (@draglikepull) February 3, 2016
But hey, if a team misses out on Roman Polak, the Leafs have another experienced player on a short-term deal that’s a right-shot defenseman known for being hard-working. But, given that he hasn’t played in a game this season, maybe we shouldn’t hold out hope for the Stephane Robidas shoe to drop.