As we come up to the NHL trade deadline today, the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens are all looking to be active, albeit in different ways.
The Leafs are firmly entrenched in a playoff spot and will be looking to improve their team in a bid to win the Stanley Cup and lower their Ontario sports betting odds. The Senators and Canadiens have been on the outside of the playoff picture all year, setting themselves up to be sellers before the deadline hits later today. Montreal has already been one of the more active teams, sending Ben Chiarot to the Florida Panthers last week and Tyler Toffoli to the Calgary Flames earlier in the year.
Toronto is looking to become the first Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup since 1993. The Maple Leafs currently have the best odds of any Canadian teams to win the Cup.
The deadline is almost always a time of year that plays a role in who ends up winning the Stanley Cup and the Maple Leafs, currently fifth to win it all at +1200 at DraftKings Sportsbook Ontario, are looking to do something to improve their chances.
Their biggest challengers in the Atlantic Division have all been active thus far. Tampa Bay picked up Brandon Hagel from Chicago in a move that mirrored previous deadline acquisitions of Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow, both leading to winning Stanley Cup.
Toronto GM Kyle Dubas had inquired about Hagel but the cost was too high. Florida acquired Chiarot from Montreal and on Saturday landed star forward Claude Giroux from the Philadelphia Flyers. The Panthers added depth defenseman Robert Hagg from the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday.
Boston, not far behind the Leafs in the standings, added Hampus Lindholm, a defenseman who had been linked to Toronto as well. Without a big move Toronto’s odds to win the Cup will likely slide as it will have to get past two of those teams to even advance to the third round.
Local Stanley Cup Odds
|⭐ Toronto Maple Leafs||+1200|
|⭐ Ottawa Senators||+100000|
|⭐ Montreal Canadiens||+100000|
Toronto’s Biggest Need
Acquiring some depth on defense is the biggest need for Toronto, which already traded for depth defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin a couple of weeks ago. With Jake Muzzin out indefinitely with a concussion, solidifying this area is a must for Toronto. On Sunday, the Leafs traded for Mark Giordano, formerly of the Seattle Kraken.
With Lindholm and Chiarot moved, Giordano was clearly the best available defenseman as he can fill any role on the back end and adds experience to a relatively young defense. Other players they have been linked to are Justin Braun and Jacob Middleton and the addition of Giordano does not rule them out from adding some more depth. To put it simply, if a defenseman is on the market the Leafs have likely inquired about his services.
The Leafs also received forward Colin Blackwell, who can kill penalties, from Seattle. Toronto gave up two second-round picks (2022 and 2023) and a 2024 third-round pick for Giordano and Blackwell. With Giordano on board, the Leafs on Sunday traded defenseman Travis Dermott to Vancouver for a 2022 third-round pick.
Goaltending has also been an issue in recent weeks, but the emergence of Erik Kallgren has partially calmed those fears for the time being and starter Jack Campbell should return from a rib injury in time for the playoffs. Harri Sateri signed with the Leafs on a cheap deal on Sunday in conjunction with Toronto waiving goalie Petr Mrazek, a move that will free up some cap space.
Marc Andre Fleury is one goalie that has been linked to Toronto, but he has a no-movement clause he would have to waive and the price would almost assuredly include a first round pick that Dubas has been hesitant to give up. Goaltending is far from solidified for Toronto, and if they can’t land Fleury or another goalie it appears they may go with the quantity over quality route.
Canadiens, Senators Look to Sell
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the other two Eastern Canadian teams are among the clubs looking to sell, focusing on adding prospects and draft picks as they build for the future after disappointing seasons.
Montreal, with +100000 NHL sports betting odds, has already moved its two biggest pieces in Chiarot and Toffoli, but have a couple other players who could be on the move. The most likely to go is winger Artturi Lehkonen, a pending RFA on a cheap contract.
Montreal GM Kent Hughes has said that he isn’t looking to trade Lehkonen, but that teams have been calling with offers and that he won’t say no if the return is right. Lehkonen has playoff experience from the Canadiens’ run to the cup last year and would be a great consolation prize to the teams that missed out on Hagel.
Defenseman Jeff Petry is also on the block, the Canadiens won’t move him unless the price is right, but both the player and management seem to be on the same page that a change of scenery is in his best interest. Brett Kulak could also go but wouldn’t bring back much in return as he would simply be a depth defenseman on a contender.
Senators Can Offer Depth Players
The Senators, also at +100000 odds on Ontario sports betting apps, have some holes they would like to fill, but their desire for goaltending stability, a top four defenseman and a top six forward are areas that are more likely to be addressed in the offseason.
However, they did make a move to address their blueline on Sunday, trading a third-round pick for Travis Hamonic from Vancouver, who is signed beyond this season. This helps Ottawa stabilize the blueline for the rest of this season with Thomas Chabot out for the year, and also gives the Senators a player who will be with them next year.
Ottawa traded forward Nick Paul to the Lightning on Sunday, a solid bottom six addition for Tampa Bay heading into the playoffs. Fellow Senators depth players Zach Sanford and Josh Brown could also go, but the returns wouldn’t be anything overwhelming. Goalie Anton Forsberg’s contract is expiring, which often leads to a deadline move, but with Matt Murray once again injured it appears the Senators will need Forsberg to get them through the rest of this year.
The teams clearly all have different goals ahead of today’s deadline but all three general managers will work toward the goal of giving their team a better chance to win the Stanley Cup, whether it be this year for the Leafs, or in the coming seasons for the Senators and Canadiens.