Yesterday on The Athletic, James Mirtle confirmed what all of us had been assuming, that the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Rangers were indeed discussing an Alex Georgiev trade. This shouldn’t be a surprise. The Leafs have had goalie issues lately and a 23-year-old potential franchise goaltender is something they’d be interested in. Michael Hutchinson is their current backup, and Frederik Andersen is their starter.
Georgiev is an upgrade on Hutchinson as the backup, that’s a given. But the Leafs aren’t looking at Georgiev as a backup. He’d be the next starter once Andersen’s contract expires after next season. That’s an important detail when looking at any Georgiev trade. Any acquiring team is viewing him as a 23-year-old starting goalie who has good numbers on a bad Rangers team.
The price for Georgiev is where things get really interesting. The Rangers are reported to want an NHL ready forward, which is something we took to mean Jeremy Bracco. Apparently that is nowhere near enough for the Rangers. Apparently, according to Mirtle, neither is Andreas Johansson. And according to Darren Dreger, who chimed in on Twitter, neither is Kasperi Kapanen.
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) January 17, 2020
Not even sure Kapanen gets it done.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) January 17, 2020
Let’s just level set what these guys are saying. Johnsson, a 25 year old LW, is a middle-six forward who put up 20-23-43 last season. This year he has 6-10-16 in 33 games, on pace for 15-25-40 over 82 games. Let’s just call him a 15 goal, 40 point middle six winger. Kapanen is a 23 year old RW who has similar, but better, numbers to Johnsson. He has more offensive upside, but Johnsson is the more well-rounded player.
What this doesn’t tell us is how much more the Rangers are looking for in a trade. For all we know, it’s a sweetener like a late draft pick. It could also be something much more. It could just be them posturing. It makes sense to see what other offers are out there. The goalie market is weird, but the last goalie to be traded in this kind of situation was, if I remember correctly, Cory Schneider. He fetched the 7th overall pick way back when. Trades like this don’t come up that often.
All this leads me to believe that a deal with Georgiev is not done at the trade deadline. Very few playoff teams are willing to subtract a good off their current roster to add in any situation. Add in that the non-playoff teams that fancy themselves contenders are unlikely to do so either, thus the market runs a little dry. A move like this is more likely to happen at the draft, when teams aren’t disrupting chemistry or the locker room. Of course we know nothing of the current trade market status, so take that with a grain of salt. It’s going to be a fun six weeks heading into the trade deadline (Feb 24).