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The Andreas Johnsson Injury Could be a Blessing in Disguise

Updated: Mar 1, 2020

While it is never a good thing to lose a winger like Johnsson, this injury comes with a bit of a silver lining for Kyle Dubas and the Maple Leafs. Because of the length of time that he will be out, Johnsson will be placed on LTIR, meaning his salary cap will come off of the books for the seven and a half weeks remaining in the regular season.

With his $3.4 million off the books, the cap space opens up for a decent deal at the deadline. However, if you couple his $3.4 million, with the $4.5 million that they gained when they put Cody Ceci on LTIR, you're left with an extra $7.9 million in cap space.

The biggest benefit to these two being out for so long, is that once you hit the playoffs, there is no longer a salary cap. Because of the fact that they should both be out until the playoffs (Ceci is a bit more unknown), they will be able to bring someone into the roster at up to $7.9 million and not have to fear going over the salary cap. They could then have one or both players return for their playoff run.

What this means, is that Dubas no longer has to clear someone off of the roster in order to make room for an incoming piece. Previously, they were likely to lose a top six caliber winger in a trade with the likes of Kasperi Kapanen, Alex Kerfoot, or Johsson being the likely pieces. Now, the Leafs have the ability to pull from their prospect and pick pool to improve the roster as opposed to attempting to change the current offensive juggernaut.

So that begs the question, what's out there for the Leafs to acquire realistically with their future assets? Some of the available options seem to come from teams that are still currently in the playoff hunt and are unwilling to try and start a rebuild by giving up roster players (i.e T.J Brodie in Calgary, Matt Dumba in Minnesota etc.). There are, however, many names at the bottom of the league that desperately need to begin a rebuild.

I'm not going to sit here and try and come up with trade packages because I am not paid enough, nor am I anywhere near as smart as some NHL GMs to try to value picks and prospects. With that being said, here are some options that the Leafs could now look to acquire without depleting their current roster.

Dylan DeMelo, RD, Ottawa (1 Year, $900,000)

The deciding factor here would be whether or not the Sens would be willing to part with a 26 year old right defenceman for picks and prospects as opposed to entering negotiations with him. The saving grace for Toronto in this deal is that he is a UFA at the end of the year, making it very unlikely he will want to return to Ottawa.

Trevor Daley, RD, Detroit (1 Year, $3.166 Million)

While, at 36, he is no longer the same player he was in his prime, he can still be an effective defensive defenceman, with Stanley Cup experience for a Toronto team lacking players that have won in the playoffs.

Considering he is a 36 year old UFA at the end of the year, and Detroit is in full tank mode, it shouldn't take much to snag the d-man from the Wings.

Damon Severson, RD, New Jersey (4 Years, $4.166 Millio

Analytics people have been high on Severson for years which gives me hope for him, but many people in New Jersey are turning on him due to his lack in production and high cap hit. This kind of sounds like a lot of situations we have in Toronto already, but as a fan of analytics, I wouldn't hate to see Severson on a retained deal.

Blake Coleman, F, New Jersey (2 Years, $1.8 Million)

Coleman is pretty good on both ends of the ice. He has the ability to wow people on the offensive side of the ice with one handed highlight reel goals, and he isn't afraid to throw the body around anywhere on the ice. He currently ranks ninth among forwards in hits with 164, while also potting 21 goals and 10 assists. It could cost a little more to pry him from New Jersey, but he would be welcomed with open arms here in Toronto.

Josh Manson, RD, Anaheim (2 Years, $4.1 Million)

The problem with this deal, is there's obviously going to be a big market out there for Manson and the Leafs may end up in a bidding war with a couple teams. As such, it could cost you a current roster player on top of the picks and prospects. If they can manage to net Manson without taking away from the current lineup however, then it will be a huge win for a Leafs team with struggling defence.

Alec Martinez, RD, Los Angeles (2 Years. $4 Million)

There is obviously some familiarity between Dubas and the Kings (Muzzin last year, Clifford and Campbell this season) so a trade may be easier to establish in a deal like this. It would be tough however for LA to start a rebuild just one year after Drew Doughty's eight year, $11 million AAV extension kicks in. They may want to make a move to make them more competitive soon.

Joe Thornton, C (1 Year, $2 Million) & Brenden Dillon, LD (1 Year, $2.7 Million)

Dillion on the other hand is a physical LHD that has proven against the Leafs that he will throw the body around. He doesn't really fit the need on the right side, but they could do some maneuvering in the lineup to make it work if it improves the defence.

Obviously the price would be a little higher if you bring in both players, but if it improves the defensive side of Toronto's game, then it would be well worth it.

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