Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas is bound to be a busy man this offseason.
Following recent news that defenseman Nikita Zaitsev is on the trade block and rumors of trade talks between the Leafs and Los Angeles Kings involving winger Patrick Marleau, TSN's Bob McKenzie reports Toronto has more players potentially available this summer, some of whom are garnering significant interest.
"The guys the Toronto Maple Leafs are getting the most action on right now: Kasperi Kapanen, Nazem Kadri, and Connor Brown. Anything and everything outside of (the) untouchables will be considered," McKenzie said Friday on "Insider Trading."
"There are really only four untouchables on the Toronto Maple Leafs: John Tavares, Auston Matthews, Morgan Rielly, and as long as he signs, Mitch Marner," McKenzie explained. "The two that fall into the 'highly not likely to be traded' category: that would be William Nylander and goaltender Freddie Andersen. After that, it is wide open."
Dubas and the Maple Leafs are up tight against the salary cap this summer and need new contracts for Marner, Kapanen, and Andreas Johnsson - all of whom are restricted free agents.
The club also has just five NHL defenseman, including Zaitsev, under contract for 2019-20. One of those defensemen, 22-year-old Travis Dermott, underwent shoulder surgery in early May and is expected to miss six months while recovering.
Kadri, Kapanen, and Brown would all fetch solid returns on the trade market, and a deal involving any of them could help ease the Leafs' cap constraints heading into next season.
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Toronto is currently projected to have $8.79 million in cap space for next season, according to CapFriendly. The team can gain additional breathing room, if necessary, by stashing Nathan Horton and his $5.3-million cap hit on LTIR.