The Draft Day trade that most impacts the Toronto Maple Leafs might not have directly involved them. Despite many expecting the Detroit Red Wings to have difficulty in trading Pavel Datsyuk’s contract, but on the floor, Ken Holland managed to pull a fast one on the rest of the league.
There’s your Datsyuk trade. Goes to ARIZ with this pick.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) June 25, 2016
The Red Wings sent Datsyuk and the 16th overall pick to Arizona in exchange for Joe Vitale, the 20th overall pick, and 53rd overall pick.
Many felt that the Coyotes could have received much more; heck, many feel that 53rd overall is an overpayment for a four-spot jump in the mid-first round. The reality, though, was that the Coyotes found themselves in a perfect position to draft Jakub Chychrun, who had been free-falling down the rankings throughout the night.
In making the trade, the Coyotes take on a $7.5 million cap hit, but a mutual termination of Datsyuk’s contract will mean that they won’t pay an actual salary. The Red Wings then used the 20th pick on Dennis Cholowski, will pick again tomorrow, and more importantly for them, drop over $6 million in cap space.
With the move, the Red Wings now have $19 million to spend this offseason. Of course, they still have a lot of holes to fill; replacing Brad Richards, Drew Miller, Darren Helm, and Kyle Quincey are just the tip of the iceberg. They also have to renew their deals with Danny DeKeyser, Petr Mrazek, and Alexey Marchenko, who are all due rather significant raises.
But do they really care about replacing some UFA’s if they can get the crown jewel? Detroit would love to get Steven Stamkos as Datsyuk’s replacement, and will no doubt flex their “history of winning” paired with a hefty sum of money in order to get their man.
Certainly, it’s an option for the 26-year-old UFA, who idolized Steve Yzerman as a player even if their interpersonal relationship might fully separate in the coming hours. I’d suspect now that the Wings become Toronto’s biggest threat over the past week, with the Sabres following behind with a dump truck filled with Pegulabucks. We all know how this played out with Mike Babcock; can Toronto come out on top in the thrilling sequel?