Joffrey Douglas Sheldon Lupul of your Toronto Maple Leafs: the king of the pre-game hair skate, the master of twitter chirps at Buffalo, and the co-captain of everything fashion related in the Toronto dressing room. But what does the long term future hold for him as a Maple Leaf?
Drafted 7th overall in 2002 by the Might Ducks of Anaheim, this 6’ 1” 205 pounder from Moose Jaw (not really…I just like Slapshot references) Saskatchewan has constantly shown he is a top 6 player for his respective teams during his career in the NHL. Lupul was acquired by the Leafs in 2011 along with Jake Gardiner and a draft pick for Frankie Beauchemin. I still believe this was an impressive trade for the Leafs as Beauchemin never could win over the fickle fan base here in Toronto (I personally love Francois).
Joffrey brings a talent level to the ice that is not readily available via trade or the draft and must be considered a sizeable commodity in the NHL. Currently, Lupul has 11 pts in 17 games and is an impressive plus 5. Being on the plus side of the goal scoring ledger is a big deal, as many observant fans will tell you that often Lupul is awful in his own end. Several teams around the NHL could be interested in his offensive production and skill, but at what cost?
Would Pittsburgh be interested to replace Pascal Dupuis (sidelined with blood clot in lung)? Could a team like San Jose make a call to help them further improve their roster(winners of three straight but in a TOUGH Western Conference)? When discussing a destination we must also consider that Lupul has a LIMITED no-trade clause in his current contract, he would have to submit a 14 team trade list to the Leafs that he would be willing to be traded to (as per tsn.ca).
If we keep Lupul (who is now 31 years old) what does that get us? Well, Lupul brings a form of leadership to this team and I believe he brings accountability when some guys are just happy to go through the motions. Lupul also brings you 40 plus points in a 65-70 game schedule. Lets be honest here, I think if Lupul can play that many games in a year at his age and with his health issues it’s considered a bonus. Lupul is also a strong personality on a team that is lacking in this regard, and this is directly related to merchandise sales (i.e. he is a a fan favourite among a certain section of this fan base).
Lupul has a $5.25 million cap hit through the 2017-2018 season. Does he fit into the long term plans with that money? So many questions surround cap space and the Leafs at this point, making 5.25 per season disappear would be MASSIVE, and yes Clarkson’s deal is also a major factor in this issue. Is the money better used elsewhere on a guy like Kadri or Franson? Does moving him to the highest west coast yoga-mat-having team at the deadline allow the Leafs to maximize on his value? Space will be required for William Nylander next season and a shuffling may be required in our top 6.
Dear Leafs fans, what would YOU do with Joffrey Lupul moving forward? And what do you believe is fair value coming back to the Leafs, in the event of a Lupul trade?
YOUR CALL ON THIS ONE!