We know why the Maple Leafs might be interested in Varlamov. Even though Varly's stats aren't exactly glowing this year, they're much better than the numbers put up by both Toronto Maple Leafs' goalies Jack Campbell and Petr Mrazek, at least recently.
New York Islanders: Can Toronto actually pull Varlamov?
In his last 20 games played, Campbell is averaging a 0.885SV% and 3.35GA. Mrazek, who only has 17 games played this year, is averaging a 0.884SV% and 3.48GAA.
That means the Leafs have to score four goals a night, irrespective of who's in the net, to win a game. Thankfully, the Leafs have that type of firepower upfront to pull that off on most nights, but that's just not a sustainable way to win hockey games. Or win a championship.
Varlamov holds a 0.912SV% and 2.85GAA over his 20 games played this year. That's much better than either Campbell and Mrazek over the same sample size. The Leafs can win with that type of goaltending.
So, can a deal be done? Ultimately anything is possible, but the Leafs are right up against the cap.
They're using $1.758 million of a $5.625 million LTIR cushion. They only have $3.719 million on deadline space. With Varlamov holding a $5 million cap hit this year and next, the Leafs have to shed some money to fit him under the ceiling.
There's also the idea that there isn't much of a market for Varlamov. Say what you will about the Oilers, but Varlamov isn't about to waive his 16-team no-trade list to go to Edmonton. Maybe that's the case for Toronto as well; Canada isn't exactly a destination for players these days. But it's possible Varly allows a move to the Ontario capital.
Again, that makes the market for Varlamov quite small. And that's not good for Toronto in terms of the price they might have to pay to get him. Not only are they desperate, but they're the only team in the market too? Lou's ask would be incredible.
I think the Leafs did their due diligence and checked in with Lou on the price for Varlamov and immediately backed out when they heard said price.