After crossing off a couple of items on his trade deadline list, Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas is expected to wait before addressing the team’s biggest need on defence.
The Leafs have made it known that they are looking to make a trade for a defenceman but want to know the status of Morgan Rielly and Cody Ceci before pulling the trigger, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported on Saturday’s Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada.
“Toronto is going to wait,” said Friedman. “Morgan Rielly has a doctor’s appointment next week, they still want to see what his future is, also the health of Cody Ceci which they’ll know more about in probably a couple of weeks.”
Rielly has been out of the lineup since Jan. 12 with a broken foot which would keep him out of the lineup for a minimum of eight weeks. Ceci injured his ankle on Feb. 5 against the New York Rangers and will be re-evaluated in a month.
Dubas told reporters that he is still looking for some help on the blue line but isn’t willing to make a move unless the player moves the needle for them. The team has looked into Minnesota Wild defenceman Matt Dumba, who fits the team’s desire for a player with some term on his deal.
With Rielly and Ceci on injured reserve, the Leafs have $6.5 million in available cap space to add a defenceman but if either player returns before the playoffs, they would have to have enough space to bring back either of them.
“You presumably have their space to use, but you don’t know whether you can use it because you’re going to need that space to bring them back if and when they’re healthy,” Dubas said on Tim and Sid. “It is going to probably be pretty touch and go, I would project, up until the deadline. Teams are going to try to get reports on their guys and when they may be back – if at all – before they can determine if they can use that salary-cap space.”