While major roster moves at this point in the season are unlikely, it sounds like Toronto could be looking to make some moves later in the season, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger. The Maple Leafs who are overloaded with forwards and will have to worry about salary cap issues for the impending future (the currently are $4.58MM over the cap) might be willing to move some of their veteran forwards whose contracts are close to expiring. According to Dreger, the team might be looking to move James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak and Leo Komarov during the season to get some value for them.
Van Riemsdyk would be a valuable trade chip for the Maple Leafs. The 28-year-old put up 29 goals and 33 assists last year and will be making $4.25MM in his final year of his contract. Trade speculation surrounding van Riemsdyk isn’t surprising. There was plenty of that last year. With all the contracts the Maple Leafs have, including the deal to sign Patrick Marleau as well as an eventual long-term deal that will go to Auston Matthews, Toronto will likely be forced to make some moves.
Bozak had 18 goals and career-high 55 points last year and could also be a key trade asset for the franchise. There were plenty of rumors surrounding the 31-year-old center this offseason in which both the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Rangers were interested in bringing him. Komarov also had a solid year for the Leafs as the 30-year-old center put up 14 goals and 18 assists.
Dreger said that while it is unknown whether the franchise intends to eventually move one or all three, but suggested that a team like the Anaheim Ducks might be the perfect trade candidate for Toronto as the Ducks might be looking to add a third-line center.
- The Pittsburgh Penguins announced they have signed undrafted 18-year-old Jordan Bellerive to a three-year entry-level contract. The 5-foot-10 center put up 27 goals and 29 assists for the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes last year, but to many people’s surprise did not get drafted. He joined the Penguins for the 2017 Prospects Challenge in Buffalo, New York and led the prospects with seven points (four goals, three assists) in three games. He is expected to return to his junior team this season.
- Eric Engels of Sportsnet writes that the Montreal Canadiens are taking a serious look at defensive prospect Victor Mete as a potential line partner with veteran Shea Weber. Mete, a fourth-round pick in 2016, put up 44 points in 50 games last year for the OHL’s London Knights. The scribe reports that the 19-year-old has not looked out of place next to Weber and is a perfect complement to him.
- John Vogl of the Buffalo News writes that former KHL defenseman Viktor Antipin, who signed with the Sabres this offseason, is working hard to earn a spot on the Sabres’ defensive rotation. The 24-year-old has been paired so far in camp with defensive-minded Justin Falk, which many believe is a perfect pairing. The offensive-minded Antipin scored 24 points in 59 games for Magnitogorsk Mettallurg last year.