The Toronto Maple Leafs informed their 31 NHL peers that they are shopping a right-side defenseman. Sportsnet's Luke Fox cited Elliotte Friedman and Nick Kypreos suggesting Travis Dermott or Justin Holl could be had for the right price. The question is whether they can find an interested party willing to acquire either one.
Holl, 29, appears the more likely trade candidate. He's been a healthy scratch in the Leafs' last five games as 22-year-old Timothy Liljegren gets more playing time on their third-pairing. Dermott, meanwhile, is skating alongside Morgan Rielly on the top-pairing. Cap Friendly shows Holl carrying a $2.5-million annual average value through 2022-23 while the 24-year-old Dermott's is $1.5 million annually over the same period.
Fox believes the Leafs could seek an upper mid-round draft pick in return or a rugged defenseman with less term on his contract. He pointed out they must clear cap space when winger Ilya Mikheyev returns from a broken thumb in four weeks. They must also free up some long-term space to re-sign goaltender Jack Campbell before he becomes an unrestricted free agent next July.
Finding a suitor for Holl or Dermott could prove difficult. “Why would I have any interest in a defenseman the Leafs don't want?”, one NHL general manager told the Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons.
Perhaps the Pittsburgh Penguins could become a trade partner. Pittsburgh Hockey Now's Dan Kingerski suggested Holl would be a good fit on a Penguins blueline depleted by injuries and COVID-19 this season. Whether Penguins general manager Ron Hextall shares that view remains to be seen. Like the Leafs, the Penguins don't have much cap space to work with this season.