There is no easy way to put it, but the Maple Leafs are in trouble. With a record of 3-3-2 in their last 8 games and all the injuries on the back-end you can see why 2020 has been very rough on them so far. They have now fallen out of a playoff spot and there is no doubt they need a spark.

Many in Leafs nation are calling for Dubas to create the spark with a trade. With little to no cap space and quite a few UFA’s on the roster, Dubas will have his work cut out for him. However as tight as it is for Dubas, changes can be made.

While the Leafs have been linked to Rangers back-up Georgiev,  I personally feel there are better trades out there.

1. Alex Pietrangelo 

At this point in the season to make a move for a back-up would be stupid especially one who will be out of contract come season’s end. The area of most concern is among the defensemen. Not only do they need more quality but they need leadership and Pietrangelo fits that billing perfectly.

The Blues’ captain led them from last place in the league to a Stanley Cup last year. For some reason, the Blues don’t seem to be in any rush to re-sign their captain. They have made moves to secure other defensemen, leaving a lot of questions around him. Last season, it was rumored there had been a deal in place between the two teams to move the King City native, but a hand injury shut down the trade.

This is how I think Dubas could make the trade. Pietrangelo has a cap hit of 6.5 million. Giving up Kapanen ($3.2 Million per season) and Cody Ceci ($4.5 million) could make it work. At only 23, Kapanen has a bright future, but he is not a good fit for the Leafs. He isn’t very effective when playing in the top six and his style of play doesn’t work on the third line. Ceci would just be a contract dump as he is a UFA come season’s end.

The Blues would be a good fit for Kapanen and Pietrangelo doesn’t owe the Blues anything. Being a hometown boy, I think there is a good chance he could take a discount to extend his time in Toronto.

2. Dustin Byfuglien 

There is no doubt, Byfuglien’s time in Winnipeg is over. He has sat out all season for the Jets, which could make it easier for the Leafs to make a move. Byfuglien would bring a lot of experience to the back-end and just imagine him lining up with Muzzin.

By giving up Andreas Johnsson and Travis Dermott, I think this trade could happen. Johnsson has a cap hit of 3.4 million but he is locked up for the next three years. Dermott is a RFA at the end of the season. At 25, Johnsson has been subpar during his time in Toronto, a change of scenery could improve his game. Dermott has not lived up to his billing and the play of Sandin and Holl have not helped his cause. At only 23, a move to Winnipeg should work to his benefit.

Byfuglien does have a cap hit of 7.6 million but I feel Dubas can easily convince the Jets to retain a decent piece of his salary. Also with all the rumors of the potential return of Phaneuf, I think this move would be a much better idea.

3. Erik Karlsson 

A trade for Karlsson is a long shot, but it’s one Dubas should take a stab at. The Sharks are in a much worse spot than the Leafs. They had a win now mentality last offseason but the chances of them making the playoffs are very slim. I think the Sharks will be sellers come the deadline.

Karlsson has a cap hit of $11 million a year and if this trade were to happen, it would be steep but worth it. For it to happen the Leafs would have to give up Nylander and Muzzin. At a cap hit of $6.9 million, Nylander’s stock his high at the moment and could spark the fire. Ceci ($4.5 million) would make more sense to trade but Muzzin has more worth for buck. He is a cap hit of $4 million a year and a UFA at season’s end like Ceci.

If this trade were to go through, next season the Leafs would have $44.4 million of their cap space locked up between Matthews, Tavares, Marner and Karlsson. This would raise a lot of eyebrows but both Chicago and Pittsburgh did this at one point. Both won multiple Stanley Cups.

Karlsson would join a contender with a bright future. The benefits would be enormous, Karlsson would be another weapon on the powerplay. Pairing him up with his countrymen Sandin, would do wonders for the development of the young defensemen. We all know that Karlsson’s time in Ottawa ended horribly.  Imagine the sting it would leave to the Senators’ upper management if Karlsson joined the Maple Leafs and hoisted the Stanley Cup.