Rumor: Maple Leafs and Sharks Discussing Blockbuster Trade

Published June 9, 2021 at 9:31

The Toronto Maple Leafs and the San Jose Sharks have a long history of dealings, and a source close to the Leafs says the two teams may renew some talks this summer. Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly and Sharks winger Evander Kane are two players to keep an eye on.

The Maple Leafs' management admitted at the close of the season that the squad needed to develop a killer instinct and become more difficult to play against. After things didn't work out with Nick Foligno, general manager Kyle Dubas is on the lookout for a left-winger who plays a physical game. The former Columbus Blue Jackets captain struggled to rediscover his game in Toronto, battled through ailments, and is expected to return to Columbus to re-sign.

Kane, together with John Tavares and William Nylander, would be a fantastic fit for the Leafs' second line. The 29-year-old had a decent season on a terrible club last season, scoring 49 points in 56 games, and has generally averaged about 30 goals a season for the past three seasons.

No-trade protection will be the clincher here. Kane sends the Sharks a list of three clubs to which he'd be willing to be traded, but given the Maple Leafs' potential, you have to believe Kane would be open to the move. Rielly has a list of ten teams he won't play for, but it's hard to picture him passing up the opportunity to play hockey in California.

While the Leafs won't have much cap room next season, they will have around $14 million to work with and some crucial players to re-sign, including Zach Hyman. Kane is signed for $7 million each season for the next four seasons, while Rielly receives $5 million next season and is a free agent at season's end, so there will be ample money to work with to effectuate this transaction. The Leafs have enough cap space to cover the $2 million difference.

Hockey insiders including Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, think the Leafs are going to make a huge deal this summer, and this one-for-one swap is something to look out for. The Leafs have enough defensive depth on their left-side to move Rielly, and Kane brings everything they're looking for to their hockey club.

Credit: nhltraderumors
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