Insider believes that Brandon Hagel to the Leafs could happen

Mike Armenti
February 20, 2022  (5:59 PM)

Well, Hawks fans - Brandon Hagel's name has come up once again. As we inch closer to the trade deadline, the rumours are going to be coming in hot and heavy, and Hagel, given his play this season and his beauty of a contract, should be a hot commodity.

Earlier this week, it was rumored that the Toronto Maple Leafs were one of several teams who have contacted the Hawks about Hagel's availability. Despite the Leafs' primary focus being on defense at the trade deadline, Hagel was certainly a player of interest that they wanted to inquire about just in case their needs changed. Well, now it has.
Late Saturday, the Leafs pulled off a deal with the Coyotes, sending Nick Ritchie and a conditional draft pick to Arizona for forward Ryan Dzingel and defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin.
With Lyubushkin in the fold, the Leafs checked a lot of boxes for themselves. He's a big, nasty, defensive defenseman who will help clear the front of the net and provide some stability in front of Jack Campbell and Petr Mrazek. Now that the Leafs appear to have plugged that hole, could a trade for Hagel be next?
DFO's Frank Seravalli was asked on Sunday if the Leafs could be interested in turning their attention to Hagel now that they've addressed their biggest need. Here's what Seravalli had to say:
I think if they like what they see from Lyubushkin, then this trade certainly gives them the flexibility to take a swing at a forward like Hagel, yes. Best part is by moving Ritchie contract, it's really of no cost to try Lyubushkin.

Basically, what he's getting at here is that the Leafs will want to see Lyubushkin in a few practices and games before they determine whether or not he'll fit the role they need him to. If he does, Seravalli believes that the Leafs could take a run at Hagel or a player like him.
Given the fact that the Leafs already have predetermined interest in Hagel, I'd say the chances are likely that talks continue between the Hawks and the Buds.
With the Hawks looking for a 1st round pick and a top prospect in exchange for Hagel's services, the Leafs -- who are in win now mode -- certainly wouldn't mind parting with futures for a chance to add a player like Hagel. And that would serve the Hawks well.
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