Today is the day! At 3:00 PM EST, the NHL will officially close the doors on any trades that involve players looking to play hockey for their new teams this year. The Toronto Maple Leafs have given up on winning hockey games, and are expected to be big sellers; a process they’ve already started. Here’s a round-up of some of the things that might go down.
Of course, the team has already done a few things ahead of this morning.
- February 6th: Carter Ashton and David Broll are traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning for a conditional 7th round draft pick. Neither were getting opportunities in Toronto, and the move freed up some roster spots. Ashton has six points in ten games with Syracuse since the trade; Broll has two assists in six.
- February 15th: Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli are traded to Nashville for a 1st round pick, Brendan Leipsic, and Olli Jokinen. People are criticizing the Leafs for not holding out further before making this deal, but it looks like they set the tone for this to be a sellers market. When the other teams are out of things to sell by 10 AM and the Leafs still have half a hockey team up for auction, it’ll make much more sense. The trade has looked pretty good to start, though; Leipsic has been a point-per-game player for the Toronto Marlies since coming over.
- February 19th: Carson McMillan is traded to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers for Peter Sivak. This was an ECHL-level trade technically made by the AHL Marlies, but it showed that the Leafs were looking to improve their affiliates as well. After all, the more games for prospects, the better. Sivak has four assists in his first five games with Orlando.
- February 25th: Daniel Winnik is traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a 2nd round pick (in 2016), a 4th round pick, and Zach Sill. The Leafs flex their financial muscles on this one, retaining half of Winnik’s salary and taking on Sill’s contract, giving the Penguins further incentive to make a solid offer for the soon-to-be UFA winger. Sill has no points in his first three games with the Leafs.
- February 26th: Spencer Abbott is traded to the Chicago Blackhawks for TJ Brennan. The Leafs confirm their interest in seeing prospects in the playoffs by re-acquiring their best AHL player of last season. Brennan picked up an assist in his first game back with the Marlies and is back to generating a ton of shots, something the blue line missed. Injected with talent in the past few weeks, the Marlies are back in the playoff picture with twenty games to go.
- February 26th: David Clarkson is traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Nathan Horton. Admitting defeat, the Leafs manage to ship out what many thought was one of the most untradable (for the wrong reasons) contracts in professional sports. In return, the Leafs will get either a top six forward (unlikely) or $25 million to stash on Long-Term Injured Reserve. Either way, they came out on top in what will likely be the most talked about move in the NHL this season.
- March 1st: Tim Erixon is claimed off of waivers from the Chicago Blackhawks. Erixon will report to the Leafs and wear #33, hopefully doing a better job in it than Luca Caputi and Bates Battaglia.
More To Come?
- Jonathan Bernier is on the block, as is James Reimer. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that one of them gets traded today, though both would be a massive stretch. Renauld Lavoie sees the Oilers as being potential trade partners, and Damien Cox hasn’t ruled out San Jose or Dallas for Bernier. St. Louis might have a goaltending controversy on their hands after Brian Elliott’s entry and exit from last night’s game. The Leafs have three goaltending solid prospects under the age of 22, which may give them comfort in taking the risk of making a move at the right price.
- Tyler Bozak seems to be on his way out, though the debate rages as to whether it’s tomorrow or in the offseason. Bozak has been mostly tied to the New York Rangers as of late, but the acquisition of Keith Yandle and extension of Mats Zuccarello yesterday may imply that they’re out of the race. On the other hand, with Antoine Vermette off the market, the centre pool has taken a huge blow, which may put a premium on him.
- Lots of teams have been linked to Joffrey Lupul, including the Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, and Pittsburgh Penguins. None of these teams have made big splashes since the rumours started to circulate, so you can’t rule any of them out. The Washington Capitals were also tied to Lupul, but acquired Curtis Glencross today.
- Olli Jokinen really doesn’t want to be here, though he’s handling the process like an adult. You can’t blame him; he’s only played six playoff games in his 1200+ game career, and he’s not getting any younger at 36 years old. The Leafs are expected to flip him tomorrow, and expect to get at least a draft pick, according to Darren Dreger. Damien Cox also sees Jokinen as likely to move, along with David Booth and Korbinian Holzer, though it’s worth noting that this statement was made before Holzer suffered a concussion last night against Washington.
- Nick Kypreos has claimed that the Leafs are trying “real hard” to trade captain Dion Phaneuf by the end of today. The draft has been seen as the most likely time for his departure, if it happens at all, but it’s interesting to see the alleged second push.
- Darren Dreger mentioned that six teams were interested in Roman Polak a few weeks ago, but not much has materialized out of that. Speculation that Los Angeles was one of those teams circulated for some time, but they invested in Andrej Sekera. Polak’s surprisingly good year and not-awful contract will probably lead to some interest tomorrow.
- As for the buying side of things, the Leafs were connected to Winnipeg Jets asset Alexander Burmistrov at one point. The catch with this one? He was supposed to be part of the return if the Jets acquired Daniel Winnik, who is distinctly not a Maple Leaf anymore. With that said, something can still happen here, though there’s no need for it to be done today – his inability to sign with an NHL team until the summer means the Leafs can focus on selling and bug the Jets whenever they want, if they decide that the Winnik-less offer will be one of draft picks.
Further Deadline Reading
- Maple Leafs Trade Deadline 2015: TLN’s Big Salacious Trade Board
- Maple Leafs Trade Deadline 2015: Remembering Obscure Trade Deadline-Acquired Leafs
- Maple Leafs Trade Deadline 2015: TLN Trade Deadline Roundtable
- Maple Leafs Trade Deadline 2015: 3 Prospects/Picks to Target
- Maple Leafs Trade Deadline 2015: 3 Players To Target
- Maple Leafs Trade Deadline 2015: What Leafs Are On the Block?
- Maple Leafs Trade Deadline 2015: Inventory