Report: Leafs front office ‘confident that they’re at least going to get a draft pick’ for Olli Jokinen

With the NHL trade deadline rapidly approaching the Toronto Maple Leafs have already successfully moved out a trio of rental assets – Daniel Winnik, Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli – for a bounty of draft picks, and a decent prospect. Winnik, Franson and Santorelli generated a good deal of interest on the trade market, but as the deadline approaches, the Maple Leafs still have much smaller fish to fry.

Can Brendan Shanahan, Dave Nonis and company interest anyone around the league in a gently used Olli Jokinen? How about a plodding depth defender in Korbinian Holzer? An oft-injured winger in David Booth?

Apparently Maple Leafs brass believes it’s possible, and there is reportedly some interest around the league.

On Saturday night during a headlines segment from Sportsnet’s broadcast of Hockey Night in Canada, Damien Cox listed Holzer, Jokinen and Booth as three Leafs that are “likely to move.” It makes sense that the Maple Leafs would like to move the three pending unrestricted free agents, none of whom are all that useful anyway, but can they find a dance partner?

That remains to be seen, though the club is reportedly convinced that Jokinen can net something in a deadline day deal.

“They’re confident that they’re at least going to get a draft pick for Olli Jokinen,” TSN’s Darren Dreger said during an appearance on TSN 1050 this week.

Jokinen, 36, has managed only seven points in 53 games this season, but at least some of his lack of production in related to bad-luck percentages. He hasn’t really been an above average middle-six forward in a couple of years now, but Jokinen has the versatility – he can play centre or on the wing – the size and the veteran experience that clubs usually value at the trade deadline.

Surely the Leafs can recoup at least a late-round pick from a team eyeing Jokinen as a possible consolation prize…

As for Holzer and Booth, it’s tough to imagine that NHL teams will part with even late-round draft picks for either player. Desperation is a hell of a drug though.

The Maple Leafs are squarely into a relatively new phase in their rebuilding cycle – the accumulate future assets and shed salary phase – and so far it’s gone very well. Moving David Clarkson’s leaden contract and getting decent value for Santorelli, Franson and Winnik is a nice start. In comparison, moving the likes of Jokinen, Holzer and Booth is small potatoes.

It matters at the margins though, and in the salary cap era where efficient asset management is everything, the margins matter.

  • Poluza

    I wonder if management will do the same thing again this summer, by signing a bunch of one year deals in hopes of turning them into assets at the deadline. I don’t imagine that they think that they’ll be a playoff team.

    • Jeremy Ian

      I have a feeling a lot of teams will do this; not just because it gives managements more chips to deal with at trade deadline seasons.

      But there will also be an excess supply of remaindered players given the cap situation since teams are lavishing expensive contracts on a handful of players.

      If I were in the NHLPA, I’d be a little worried about a rift in my ranks between the minority with security and money, and the rest. It will really play into management’s hands when the CBA expires.

      But then management is their own worst enemy…