James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail joined TSN 1050 today to speak about a few Toronto Maple Leafs topics including Mark Hunter’s new title and Mitch Marner’s shot with the team. He also was asked about the “log-jam” at the forward position going into this year.
I think there is going to be a trade coming. You remember last year there was that deal where they gave up five prospect type players to the Islanders for Michael Grabner right during training camp. That could be the kind of deal the Leafs need to make, where they just get rid of contracts.
There are so many forwards there that will need waivers to go down to the minors – you can debate whether they’ll be claimed or not – but there is definitely going to be a real battle there…not all those guys are going to be able to make the team.
After the Maple Leafs signed Brandon Prust yesterday to a PTO, they’ll now have at least 23 forwards in camp with NHL experience and a legitimate claim for a roster spot. While obviously many of these players could head back to the AHL (or in Marner’s case, the OHL), perhaps the Maple Leafs would want to move a few of the older bodies out in order to make room for their younger players.
Tyler Bozak, Joffrey Lupul and Milan Michalek all carry fairly substantial cap-hits, but also provide experience and some level of offensive ability. There are also names like Peter Holland, Colin Greening and Byron Froese who all have shown the ability to contribute in the bottom-six at the NHL level and carry much smaller salaries. If a deal is made – and even if one isn’t – expect Marner to stay with the club all season, after some strong words of confidence from his head coach recently.