TORONTO — The only real question now is whether Frederik Andersen will be healthy enough to play another game for the Toronto Maple Leafs before the end of the regular season.
If he’s sidelined until the playoffs, Friday’s creative cap-bending maneuver to acquire depth forward Riley Nash while triggering the long-term injury provision signalled that Kyle Dubas has roughly $5-million in space to play with heading into the trade deadline.
However, should Andersen return from a lower-body injury the team has declined to place a timeline on before May 11, what they accomplished in the trade with Columbus was adding a veteran centre without any impact on their cap position because Nash is out four to six weeks with a knee sprain.
Either way it’s an outside-the-box approach to acquiring an asset while balancing a challenging cap situation — something Toronto has become known for under assistant general manager Brandon Pridham.
What this deal ultimately tells us about the Leafs hinges entirely on Andersen’s health. He hasn’t been on the ice since a loss to Calgary on March 19 and isn’t expected to join the team for practice before Monday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline passes.
They hadn’t triggered LTI since Andersen’s injury until the series of roster moves that accompanied Friday’s trade. Sequentially, they got as close to the $81.5-million cap ceiling as they could in order to maximize what’s known as their accruable cap space limit. Then they placed…