NHL Rumors: 4 Recent Leafs Rumors - The True, The False and The Down Right Ridiculous.

It’s about that time of year again. The teams at the bottom know it and the teams at the top want to get better than the next guy. The flood gates have opened and the rumor mill is turning.

At the center of the hockey universe, Toronto always seems caught up in the trade wind talks. This article will fill you in on what is being said around the league regarding the blue and white.

Auston Matthews to Anywhere Other Then Legends Row

First of all, the notion that the Leafs would even consider doing anything with Matthews besides signing him to a max year deal is beyond preposterous. This kid is easily in the top 10 players in the league and in most circles, considered to be the 2nd best player under 25 years of age next to Connor McDavid, a gap which seems to be getting narrower with every passing game. 

This ridiculous rumor was media generated by writer Howard Berger recently as an attempt to do nothing more then draw attention to himself. A normally creditable read, Berger has insinuated that this article from November 16, was written as satire.  I for one, only recommend you read it if someone has a gun to your head.

Anyone who knows anything about hockey, knows Matthews is about as likely to get traded as McDavid or Crosby. Lets just shut this one down right here as it is down right ridiculous. 

William Nylander for Oliver Ekman-Larsson

This rumor has been out there for almost as long as Nylander has been a full time NHLer. Bob McKenzie reported today on TSN’s Leafs Lunch that this trade is basically a fantasy league trade. There is no interest from either squad to move their star players at this time.

To be completely honest, I do not believe OEL is the kind of d-man the Leafs truly need anyway. Ekman-Larsson is fantastic in the offensive zone and one of the leagues best puck handlers, however, in my opinion, he is underwhelming in his own end and not physical enough to fill the void in the Leafs back end.  

A career -60 (+/-) player, he is perennially near the bottom of the barrel in this category year in and year out. While plus/minus is somewhat of a flawed stat, when you are this bad for that long it certainly raises some eyebrows. The most telling stat for me with regard to OEL is his unwillingness to block shots. To give you some perspective on this, Erik Karlsson was second among all NHL defensemen with 201 blocked shots last season, while Ekman-Larsson was near the bottom of the league among top pair d–men with 85 blocked shots. The Leafs sorely need a solid defensive top 4 defender. While more offence would be fun to watch, it is not needed at the moment and for all these reasons, this rumor is false.

James van Riemsdyk to Philadelphia/Carolina

The JVR back to the Flyers rumor appears to be 100% fan generated.  Former Flyer, van Riemsdyk, was a fan favorite and the highest Flyers draft pick since 1975 until the recent selection of Nolan Patrick this past offseason at #2 overall, the same as van Riemsdyk in 2007. Word is, this rumor carries zero weight and is false.

The JVR to Carolina rumor appears slightly deeper in nature, however the Hurricanes willingness to part with young defensemen in their RFA years for the, soon to be, UFA in van Riemsdyk seems unlikely. If a deal were to happen here, there would likely be several moving parts involved to make it work for both teams. I fully expect JVR to be traded before the end of the season so keep an eye on this rumours as it may grow legs very quickly as it appears to be true.

Erik Gubranson or Chris Tanev to the Leafs

Of all the chatter surrounding the buds at the moment, this rumor is the most likely to happen. With the most factual background information from reliable sources, some sort of a deal could come together here sooner then later.

As with every other rumor involving the Leafs, Toronto will be looking to acquire a defensemen. Chris Tanev has well documented ties to Morgan Rielly which helps make it a good fit. Of the available blue line options out of Vancouver, Tanev will likely be the most expensive to acquire if even available. For more info on this potential trade, check out the article “Rumor: Canucks’ Defenseman to Toronto”, written by my colleague Ryan Beliveau at nhltraderumors.me

The other gossip out of Vancouver is that the Leafs have enquired about the cost to acquire Defenseman Erik Gudbranson. While not anywhere near the same skill set as Tanev, it is believed Gudbranson could help on the PK and would bring some much-needed sandpaper to the back end.

The beauty of dealing with the Canucks is that they are very open to acquiring future players/prospects as they are about to embark on a rebuild of their own with the Sedin era drawing to a close. The Leafs cupboard is absolutely stocked with NHL quality prospects and Toronto could feasibly acquire a player to help them now while not having to trade away players currently contributing in a big way on the big club. This rumor has all the makings of the real thing and for that reason we are calling it true.

Its an exciting time of year to be a hockey fan and probably the most exciting time in recent leafs history to be a Maple Leafs fan. This will only serve to fuel more rumours. The True, The False & The Down Right Ridiculous.

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