The Toronto Maple Leafs have opened up the trade market today, sending forward Shawn Matthias to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for forward Colin Smith and a fourth round draft pick in 2016.
Matthias, who grew up in nearby Mississauga, was in the midst of his first season with his childhood team. Now, it looks like it will be his only one. The 28-year-old signed a one-year, $2.3 million contract in July and played in 51 of Toronto’s 57 games. Most of his play came in offensively sheltered situations, and his minutes were rather infrequent, averaging 13:01 of ice time a night. His 50.1 CF% puts him directly on the even line compared to his teammates, which might be beneficial to the Avalanche, who struggle at moving the puck to the net.
After scoring 5 goals and 11 assists in his first 50 games, Matthias missed two weeks with whiplash suffered after being bumped into by teammate Leo Komarov against the Ottawa Senators on February 6th. He also missed time in October with a shoulder injury. He made his return to the lineup last night against the Philadelphia Flyers, and scored his sixth goal of the season just 1:29 into the first period.
Garth Joy, who is Colorado’s Assistant Director of Player Personnel, was among the representatives of thirteen teams in attendance at the Air Canada Centre last night.
Colin Smith comes back the other way, and presumably fills the gap if the Leafs were to call somebody up from the Toronto Marlies. The 22-year-old is a native of Edmonton and is considered a capable two-way forward with good foot speed and an edge to his game when need be.
In 54 games played with the San Antonio Rampage this year, Smith has a career-high 13 goals and 34 points. Only six of his 21 assists are secondary, leaving him with 28 primary points, which ranks him only behind teenaged star Mikko Rantanen in his team’s scoring race. As well, 19 of his points come at even strength. Smith is also averaging approximately two shots per game, a decent number for a player his age.
The Leafs also get a fourth-round pick in 2016, meaning they now have twelve picks heading into June with plenty of time to add more.