Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf might be the biggest trade chips the Maple Leafs have to offer, but according to the Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle, there might be another Toronto blueliner that other teams could call on…
One veteran whose name is out there, however, is defenceman Roman Polak, who has one year remaining on a deal with a $2.75-million cap hit. After adding Marincin and re-signing Tim Erixon, T.J. Brennan and Petter Granberg, the Leafs have a lot of young defencemen to find minutes for, and Polak will be easy to move.
It’s actually a little bit insane how much depth the Leafs suddenly have on the blueline, though let’s not pretend that outside of Dion Phaneuf, Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner any of them are dependable NHL defenders. Marincin, Erixon and Granberg are young and have varying amounts of upside, but aren’t quite established just yet, while T.J. Brennan is an accomplished AHL blueliner that just can’t seem to find a good opportunity to stick at the next level. Stephane Robidas is well past his prime – the injury prone 38-year old will likely hobble his way to retirement when his contract is up in another two years.
A little further down the pecking order, Stuart Percy and Viktor Loov could both push for ice time at some point this season as well.
On one hand, I think keeping Polak around to shelter some of the younger players from what’s expected to be a miserable year in Toronto isn’t a half bad idea. On the other, I’m not all the worried if Brennan, Erixon or Granberg gets shell shocked, and Marincin played in friggin’ Edmonton, so he’s used to being outclassed on a nightly basis.
So maybe Polak is expendable. And if the Marincin trade, in which Toronto gave up Germany-bound Brad Ross and a fourth round pick, means that the Leafs have enough depth to ship Polak off, then that deal just keeps on giving.
I can’t imagine the asking price could be too high for one year of Polak, but that’s not to say you should give him away either. Relatively inexpensive, I could see a number of teams with playoff ambitions come calling. If they do, ask for a 2nd round pick or a B-level prospect… or both! If you don’t get it, no big deal. Just sit on Polak until the trade deadline and flip him then; he’s exactly the kind of player that teams just love to overpay for in February.