Even though it is referred to as the trade deadline in the NHL, this Monday was not actually that. In fact, teams are still allowed to make basically any move they want, with one caveat—players switching squads will not be eligible for the postseason. With that limitation in place it almost never makes sense for a team to make a trade in the weeks following the deadline but perhaps in one specific situation this year it could.
The Toronto Maple Leafs announced earlier today that Jake Muzzin will be out a month with a broken hand, leaving them with a handful of defenders that were almost all playing in the minor leagues a few years ago. Tyson Barrie stands as the only real defenseman with any experience, at least until Muzzin, Morgan Rielly and Cody Ceci return down the road. Perhaps the Maple Leafs could break with tradition and acquire a depth defender just to help them for the next few weeks, given their precarious hold on an Atlantic Division playoff spot.
- Speaking of Toronto, the latest edition of 31 Thoughts by Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet includes an interesting nugget regarding the Maple Leafs. When examining the Joe Thornton situation and his recent comments about being disappointed he didn’t move at the deadline, Friedman speculates that the veteran forward could find his way to Toronto should he decide the San Jose Sharks aren’t in a position to compete next season. In fact, Friedman believes that the Maple Leafs considered adding him this year, though there were obvious obstacles in the way. In the summer of 2017 when the Maple Leafs signed Patrick Marleau as a free agent there were plenty of rumors about Thornton joining him there, but will there even be an opportunity for him next season at age-41?
- After leaving last night’s game with an upper-body injury, Hampus Lindholm wasn’t at practice today for the Anaheim Ducks according to Eric Stephens of The Athletic. Brendan Guhle has been recalled in his absence. Losing Lindholm for any length of time would really test the rest of the Anaheim defenders, perhaps even giving them a chance to see what they have in some of their younger options. The 26-year old logs more than 23 minutes a night for the team, and has 22 points in 55 games.