Acquiring Chris Kreider makes Leafs a ridiculous offensive juggernaut

With the deadline looming, Kyle Dubas and the Toronto Maple Leafs are buyers. Links to Chris Kreider would seriously beef up the Leaf’s offensive assault.

John Tortorella’s favourite New York media member, Larry “Brooksy” Brooks broke the news that the Rangers are fielding calls on former first-round draft pick Chris Kreider, and the Leafs are one of the teams calling.

Brooks states that they aren’t shopping him, but if an offer came across his desk that he couldn’t turn down then a deal could happen.

What does Kreider bring? What could the Leaf’s offer? And what is the likelihood Dubas bashes in the door on trade deadline day to bolster the Buds’s offense? Let’s break it down.

What does Kreider offer?

Intangibles: Kreider is a seven-season NHL veteran with 440 regular season games under his belt. Beyond that, Kreider has been in the playoffs six out of seven seasons (77 games) he’s been in the league. If the Leafs want to acquire playoff experience, he’s a solid addition.

Production: Statistically speaking, Kreider is on pace to break his best offensive season ever. Currently sitting at 44 points (24 goals, 20 assists), he sits second in team scoring this season. He’s added 11 powerplay points, and also averaged just 17:33 minutes of ice time a night (perfect for 2nd or 3rd line minutes!).

Contractually speaking: The Leafs are up against the salary cap going into next season, so any move for Kreider would likely have to include some financial finagling by Dubas. His cap hit is $4.625 million for this season and next. His contract extending into next season does fit Dubas’ narrative of not wanting rental players.

What would he cost the Leafs?

The offer would need to be one GM Jeff Gorton “couldn’t refuse” so it would need to be a package coming from the Leafs. Currently, the Leafs have two fourth-round picks in 2019, two seventh-round picks in 2019, three seventh-round picks in 2020.

While not impressive, they are solid add-ins to what could be a pretty big “hockey trade.”

Let’s cut to the chase. My proposed deal is:

To Toronto: Chris Kreider.
To New York: Connor Brown, Nikita Zaitsev, 2019 4th rd. pick, 2020 2nd rd. pick, 2020 7th rd. pick, C Adam Brooks.

Toronto gets their veteran, playoff-hardened, left winger who can play in their top three lines with ease. They also drop $6.1m in cap space, free up a defensive spot for Rosen, Holl, Ozhiganov, or whoever else they want to bring in, and with Brown going the other way open a roster spot for Kreider.

The Rangers get a second pair defenseman, a winger who is young, cheap(er), versatile winger, a center prospect, and add three picks to their repertoire for their rebuild.

The deal would push Toronto over the top and also allow them to get out from under Nikita Zaitsev’s massively looming contract for the next five years. They lose out on picks, a prospect, and a solid NHLer in Brown in this deal, but would gain offensive depth and cap flexibility moving forward.

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