As per a story from James Mirtle of The Athletic, the Maple Leafs might have their sights set on Mikael Granlund of the Nashville Predators. While Friedman didn’t mention any players by name, Mirtle notes the consensus around the NHL is that Granlund is the player the Leafs might want and they could be waiting for the winger to shake loose from a struggling Predators team.
If so, Mirtle projects the Leafs see Granlund as a forward who could play in the top six with either the Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner pairing or with John Tavares and William Nylander.
Mirtle writes the team was interested in Granlund in the past. He said:
One of the teams that showed plenty of interest along the way was the Leafs, but Dubas simply didn’t have enough cap space to make it happen. Toronto instead turned to cheaper depth options on the wing, bringing in the likes of Wayne Simmonds, Joe Thornton, Jimmy Vesey and Travis Boyd.
This is interesting news considering the timing of the story and the fact the Maple Leafs just added Alex Galchenyuk via trade.
The issue for the Leafs is obviously cap space. Granlund signed a one-year, $3.75 million contract with the Predators this offseason and that’s too rich for the Leafs. Mirtle notes that, given all of the Leafs’ injuries, they should have around $2 million in space.
If accurate, it means the Predators would need to retain salary on a trade or send salary back.