The Toronto Maple Leafs' long-anticipated fire sale of their pending unrestricted free agents has begun. On Sunday, the Maple Leafs dealt center Shawn Matthias to the Colorado Avalanche for a fourth-rounder and minor-leaguer Colin Smith. The following day, defenseman Roman Polak and center Nic Spaling were shipped to the San Jose Sharks for two second-round picks in 2017 and 2018 along with winger Raffi Torres, who will remain with the Sharks' AHL farm team.
TSN's Frank Seravalli believes the returns for Polak and Spaling set the trade market value for teams with comparable players to move by the deadline. He believes it will help Canadian clubs like the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks in their efforts to move their own rental players.
The Leafs, meanwhile, likely aren't done shedding UFAs before deadline day. Prior to the deal with the Sharks, the Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons speculated on the potential returns for goaltender James Reimer and forwards P.A. Parenteau, Brad Boyes, Michael Grabner and Mark Arcobello.
Using input from four NHL scouts and executives, Simmons suggests they'll fetch draft picks in the third and fourth rounds, some perhaps lower. Similar returns are also expected for players under contract beyond this season (centers Tyler Bozak and Daniel Winnik) or restricted free agents like Peter Holland.
Leafs followers will likely disagree with some of Simmons' speculated returns. A late second rounder for Bozak and a fourth for Reimer seems unusually low. However, there's no doubt most of the players on his list could be used by the Leafs to stockpile draft picks for this year and beyond.
SHARKS NEED GOALTENDING HELP
San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson addressed his club's need for forward and blueline depth by adding Spaling and Polak. However, he could have another move in store before deadline day.
Backup goaltender Alex Stalock is struggling this season. With a record of 3-5-2, a 2.94 goals-against average and .884 save percentage, the 28-year-old isn't providing the type of reliable relief for starter Martin Jones. With the Sharks jockeying for a playoff berth, they'll need some insurance between the pipes.
Wilson could find the trade market thin for backups. Earlier this season, there was talk the Anaheim Ducks could shop Frederik Andersen. It's now believed they'll retain him. If the Ducks were inclined to move Andersen, it won't be to a division rival jockeying with them for playoff positioning down the stretch.
CSN Bay Area listed Toronto's James Reimer and Montreal's Ben Scrivens as trade options. There's speculation the Leafs could move the 27-year-old Reimer if unable to re-sign him before the deadline. Maybe the two clubs will deal with each other again before Feb. 29.
SURGING DUCKS NOT DONE DEALING
Since Christmas, the Ducks have one of the best records in the league. Having gone 19-4-2 in their last 25 games, the Ducks surged from near the bottom of the Western Conference standings to within two points of the Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles Kings. With the Ducks looking like a Stanley Cup contender again, there's speculation GM Bob Murray could try to bolster his lineup before the trade deadline.
Murray's already been busy in this season's trade market. On Jan. 16, he shipped left winger Carl Hagelin to the New York Rangers for left winger David Perron. Five days later, Murray dealt left winger Jiri Sekac to the Chicago Blackhawks for rugged center Ryan Garbutt.
While Perron and Garbutt were positive additions, Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register suggests Murray might not be done dealing. With right winger Chris Stewart sidelined by a broken jaw, he could be in the market for a rental forward.
Stephens notes wingers like Winnipeg's Andrew Ladd, Boston's Loui Eriksson and Arizona's Mikkel Boedker are believed available. Given Murray's need to re-sign restricted free agents like Sami Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm this summer, the Ducks GM could consider cheaper options like Montreal's Dale Weise and Buffalo's Jamie McGinn.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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