Yesterday was a day where the Leafs weren’t playing any hockey games, but they were still competing against other hockey teams, in a race to see who could make the
least stupid panic move most intelligent final adjustments to their roster. After about seventeen hours, silence was finally confirmed, as the Leafs completed two trades.
People will incorrectly state that the deadline consisted of two trades yesterday, but a race is about more than the finish line. In this case, the Leafs ran a marathon all the way to 3PM on March 2nd.
The bells of change first rang on February 6th, when the Blue and White traded Carter Ashton and David Broll to the other Blue and White, Tampa Bay, for a conditional seventh round pick. This gave the team a few roster spots to work with for the coming weeks. Nine days later, they made their first big splash, and arguably the league’s first splash of the deadline season, sending Mike Santorelli and Cody Franson to the Nashville Predators for Olli Jokinen, Brendan Leipsic, and a first round Pick. To close out the first two weeks, the Toronto Marlies got in on the fever, trading Carson McMillan to Bridgeport for Peter Sivak, a deal that really only matters at the ECHL level.
In came the second wind. On the 25th, Daniel Winnik made his way to Pittsburgh, in return for a second round pick, a fourth round pick, and grinder Zach Sill. The next day, they worked on the minor leagues once again, sending Spencer Abbott to Chicago for TJ Brennan. It seemed like it would be calm from there, but then the big one. David Clarkson. Most of us still can’t believe it, but he’s a Columbus Blue Jacket now, after being sent to the Buckeye State for Nathan Horton.
Finally, we hit deadline weekend. With all of the prior transactions evening out in terms of total players, the Leafs took the opportunity to pick up 24 year old Chicago defenceman Tim Erixon off of waivers. On the big day, they flipped Olli Jokinen to St. Louis for Joakim Lindstrom and a conditional sixth round pick, and sent Korbinian Holzer to Anaheim for Eric Brewer and a fifth rounder.
In the end, the chart looks like this:
|Carson McMillan||Brandon Leipsic|
|Carter Ashton||Eric Brewer|
|Cody Franson||Joakim Lindstrom|
|Daniel Winnik||Nathan Horton|
|David Broll||Peter Sivak|
|David Clarkson||Tim Erixon|
|Korbinian Holzer||TJ Brennan|
|Mike Santorelli||Zach Sill|
|Spencer Abbott||1st Round 2015 (NSH)|
|2nd Round 2016 (PIT)|
|4-6th Round 2015 (STL, conditional)|
|4th Round 2015 (PIT)|
|5th Round 2015 (ANA)|
|7th Round 2016 (TB, conditional)|
Yesterday’s patience. If there’s one trope in David Nonis’ career that tends to work to his advantage, it’s the fact that he is patient to nearly a fault, and yesterday was a good example of that.
A lot of us wanted to see the Leafs shed contracts with term on them, and really get this fire sale going. But the reality is, the deadline is a horrible place to do anything if you’re known to be in the position of weakness. Everybody and their dog knew that the Leafs had a for sale sign in front of the door yesterday, and that’s no way of getting fair value. The draft will likely be the proper place to make some of this stuff happen.
- The Leafs did a fantastic job flexing their financial muscle. They used salary retention to make the Winnik trade happen and increase value, and several of these trades involved some sort of salary scooping. Taking on Jokinen in the Predators trade, taking on Lindstrom to trade Jokinen, taking on Brewer in the Holzer deal, and I mean, the Clarkson trade speaks for itself.
- It’s really weird seeing Dave Nonis acquiring draft picks, but hey, there’s six more! One of the being a first rounder, no less. I guess we’re all hoping for the LA Kings to squeak into the playoffs and upset the Predators, then.
- I’m really happy the Leafs didn’t retain any salary on longer-term deals. That’s going to come back to haunt them if they do, and hopefully we see none of it in the future. At the end of this year, they’ll return to one retention of three, at just $200,000 for one more year. If only Tim Gleason wasn’t on the books, Toronto could have been close to a clean(ish) cap chart!
The Leafs will resume trading… well, technically, whenever they want, because the deadline only stops players from playing in the playoffs after being traded, but realistically, some time in May or June.