Archive for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Jul
12

Exploring the trade market for centers

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Over the last four seasons Tyler Bozak averaged .68 points per game. During that time, Derek Stepan averaged .73.

Tyler Bozak

The Leafs backed themselves into a corner with the signing of Patrick Marleau and now exceed the summer salary cap threshold, leading to speculation they may have to trade a veteran for some relief. But with both Joffrey Lupul and Nathan Horton on the roster in name only and headed straight for LTIR, Toronto isn’t in nearly as bad of shape as it might seem. Still, the Leafs have a glut of forwards so pending UFAs James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak continue to circulate through the rumor mill. With the players carrying nearly identical $4.2 million cap hits and not part of the Leafs’ future plans, there’s reason to believe Toronto might move one of them before the season.

New York would likely be interested in acquiring either player. A move for JVR would cement J.T. Miller’s move back to the middle, but give the Blueshirts impressive depth down the wings. Bozak, 31, would slot in as the second center behind Mika Zibanejad and be capable of matching Derek Stepan’s offensive production while also representing a huge upgrade at the faceoff dots. The Rangers would surely try to build a trade package for either player around Nick Holden, an expiring contract himself. But while Toronto might view Holden as a useful addition to a patchwork defense, Holden’s own $1.65 million cap hit reduces the allure somewhat.

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