NHL Rumors: 3 Maple Leafs Assets That Could Head To Canucks In Horvat Trade

As the Toronto Maple Leafs have their name in the hat of many of the top available stars this season with money to spend, they will likely have to give up one of their good prospects or even a young roster player. Among the three names brought up by Joshua Kloke and Harman Dayal of The Athletic are Timothy Liljegren, Topi Niemela, and Matthew Knies.

It may only take one of those players and likely a pick to acquire Bo Horvat from the Vancouver Canucks, but the wonder is who the Maple Leafs think most highly of and what they are willing to sacrifice for a rental to make it out of the first round and possibly more.

The Maple Leafs could certainly use a player like Horvat who is tied for second in the NHL in goals with 26. The Canucks are five points back of a playoff spot, but have a few teams to jump. They are by no means in any position to do anything if they manage to earn a spot in the postseason and need to get what they can for their captain who will not be re-signing.

Liljegren has broken out this season with a better opportunity as a number of the Maple Leafs' defencemen have been sidelined with injuries throughout the season. He is a former first round pick in 2017 and has played very solid and consistent hockey this season. He leads all defencemen of the Maple Leafs in plus/minus and ranks third on the team.

Niemela, drafted in the third round of 2020, and Knies, drafted at the end of the second round in 2021, have both been steals in their respective drafts. Niemela is in his fourth season in Finland's SM-liiga while Knies is in his second season playing Division 1. Knies appears to be a little closer to possibly earning a spot on the Maple Leafs, but the defensive depth of the organization is a little weaker. It all depends what the Canucks want the most and who it will take to get Horvat if Toronto is set on adding him by the trade deadline.

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