Maple Leafs shift into high gear with Matthias trade as deadline looms
The Toronto Maple Leafs are just getting started.
Following Sunday's trade that saw general manager Lou Lamoriello send forward Shawn Matthias and the balance of his $2.3-million cap hit to the Colorado Avalanche, the Maple Leafs still possess a bevy of impending unrestricted free agents who can be used as bait in advance of the NHL's Feb. 29 trade deadline.
(Contract information courtesy: General Fanager)
The Maple Leafs are well positioned to further stock the cupboard through the draft, as the players above are capable of fetching more picks and prospects.
On top of that, the Maple Leafs have prominent restricted free agents Nazem Kadri and Morgan Rielly to take care of. Reimer could also be retained, which would make Jonathan Bernier the odd man out in net.
It remains to be seen whether players like Joffrey Lupul, James van Riemsdyk, and Tyler Bozak - all currently on injured reserve - are part of Brendan Shanahan's long-term plan, or if they'll meet the same fate as Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel in being shipped out of town.
What's clear is the Maple Leafs are trying to wipe the slate as clean as possible in hopes of building a winning product from the ground up, and the deconstruction process could go into overdrive over the next eight days.
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