If the market for a steady defenceman is bad, don’t play it

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Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY SPORTS

As the Toronto Maple Leafs prove to the mass of skeptics that they are, indeed, actually good, that same group has desperately searched for what the next step will be. Many in the mainstream media have agreed that acquiring a big-minute defenceman is important, and that the cost is likely going to be very steep.

Mark Spector of Sportsnet was the latest to weigh in yesterday.

From his article, “How the Hall-Larsson swap has impacted the NHL trade market”

Today, when the Toronto Maple Leafs consider trading a winger like James van Riemsdyk for a much-needed defenceman, they won’t be looking at the Subban for Weber deal as a comparable.

The deal that set the bar for the Leafs — and any other team that is rich in forwards but desperate to shore up an Achilles heel blue-line — was the Taylor Hall-for-Adam Larsson trade between the New Jersey Devils and Edmonton Oilers.

It’s worth noting that Spector is an Oilers-focused writer and has a history of not being overly fond with the Leafs. He’s often quick to the chirp on the subject of local players signing here (covering Connor McDavid might influence this), jokes about watching the team being a form of abuse, believes we’re about 5-7 years away from knowing what the Leafs are, and believed that the Leafs, who were predicted to finish 29th by USA Today, 8th in the Atlantic by Yahoo, 28th by Bleacher Report, 28th by our own NHLNumbers, 30th by ESPN, and considered to be a basement team with next to no immediate hope by every major outlet, would be the be the team “most likely to disappoint” in the National Hockey League this season.

Carrying that over, he’s got a bit of an old school slant to his approach as well. He believes that platforms like this one ruined Randy Carlyle by forcing him to play Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin more, openly celebrated Martin Marincin being scratched in November, and continues to be an advocate of the idea that Kris Russell isn’t getting a bit of extra luck this year, but is defying the numbers because of how good he is. That he’d pump Larsson up so high right now isn’t shocking; he has the Oilers as a contender like team, paving their way through “size, battle, edge, grit, fight, nastiness..“, and believes them, after years of failure to be a model for other teams.

There’s more I can dig through, I’m sure. At the same time, Spector obviously puts in the hours and also has his fair share of solid and respectable reporting, as any veteran in the industry does. But it’s pretty clear that there’s a slant, potentially subconscious, that drives him away from the Leafs’ blueprint and towards the specific things he likes about the team he covers most. He has full right to that perspective, but this is the context of it. Anyway, this article isn’t about Mark, so back to the meat.

If Leafs fans thought Chiarelli got fleeced in the Hall deal, at least one scout we spoke with said Toronto won’t get a player as good as Larsson in return for the older van Riemsdyk, who has a modified no-trade clause and is one season away from becoming an unrestricted free agent.

“There’s no comparison between Hall and JVR,” said the scout, who thinks the Leafs will have to sweeten the pot. “You’re not trading (Mitch) Marner, so (William) Nylander has got to be the guy. He’s skilled, but how good?”

The Leafs are exactly where Edmonton was a year ago: Stocked with young talent up front, but with a blue-line corps that needs at least two quality NHL defencemen. Chiarelli knew he could deal from strength, though even he must have been surprised when he found himself trading a 70-point winger for a 15-point defenceman.

So, to summarize: once again, the Leafs desperately need a defenceman, because they are not good defensively. The Edmonton Oilers traded one of the five best left-wingers on earth (arguments to be made as high as #2) for the fifth-best defenceman on their roster (6th in offensive metrics, 7th in play dirving metrics) in one of the most lopsided 1-for-1 trades in the history of the game. 

But because they have one of the best prospects in the history of hockey chasing an Art Ross Trophy and managed to replace Hall with a worse winger on a worse deal through free agency, they are good, and that makes the trade good. They also clearly won the trade because the New Jersey Devils are bad, despite the fact that they were already bad and play in a division that has four of the top six teams in the NHL standings.

Because the Oilers are good, which makes the Larsson trade good, the price is now set for a defenceman who doesn’t score and gives up a lot of shots at a superstar forward on a sweetheart contract. As such, James van Riemsdyk and William Nylander would be lucky to draw somebody as good as Adam Larsson, who is good because we thought he would be really good years ago and, now that he’s been traded to a team that has started winning in spite of him, we are right.

Here’s the situation, when you give it more than a “they did it, so we should too” level of thought:

  • William Nylander and James van Riemsdyk, in this season, have been more likely to positively influence the flow of play than their teammates. This is true of shot attempts, it’s true of shots on goal, it’s true of expected goals. In Nylander’s case, it’s also true of unblocked attempts and scoring chances as well. At the day, when you’re trying to outscore the other team, it’s not necessarily about limiting opportunities, so much as it is about having more opportunities than the other team; especially if your team is the more lethal one.
  • Even if you buy into them having to be better defensively, Nylander has above-the-curve (or teetering on the edge) “against” numbers in almost all of these metrics; statistically speaking, he hasn’t been a defensive detriment to the team. Van Riemsdyk doesn’t fare quite as well, but we know this, and we know the same of his centre in Tyler Bozak. Their line with Mitch Marner is designed with that in mind, with the hope that their raw offensive talent will lead to a better rate of conversion. 
  • William Nylander is a 20-year-old, playing a non-natural position, bouncing across four different lines, and still on pace to put up 55 points (clear top six) as a rookie. On almost every team in the league, he’d be their best prospect and identified as an untouchable. Toronto having a Big Three instead of having a Big One or Two, which gives them a gigantic head start on 90% of rebuilds in this era, doesn’t mean they have to get rid of an already great player just because. 
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs thrive on a high-octane offensive game. Getting a guy who is good at “staying home” would slow down the pace of this game and stifle them when they’re in the offensive zone. The team’s biggest concern right now is coughing up leads, when, in most cases, Toronto’s daggering against goals have come when they’ve collapsed into their own zone late in the third period, which is exactly what you’d be bringing in this mystery player in to do. 

It’s baffling that we’re talking about this in the manner that we are. I have no qualms of the idea of moving on from van Riemsdyk (eventually); he’ll need a long-term raise at a prime-closing age that probably won’t be worth discussing in July of 2018. I don’t think any player is untradable, so I’m not wholly against the idea of Nylander moving if Toronto were to be blown away with an offer, but for an elite rookie to be consistently brought up as a trade chip (and not to mention, repeatedly mentioned as being a tier below Mitch Marner despite them being on very similar trajectories) is absurd.

Especially when you consider that we’re talking about overpaying in player value, using players who are underpaid in contract value, to fill a hole in a position that the market is currently overvaluing. In a cut-throat, 30 (soon to be 31) team, salary cap environment, building your roster is about more than the types of players you have; it’s consistently undercutting what the rest of the league believes to be market value. Any form of intentional overpayment, in assets or finances, is an open acknowledgment that you’re not maximizing the potential of your afforded opportunity. A team that treads the average will forever be stuck in the middle. A team that consistently overpays will find a way to crash to the bottom. 

So why jump in? If you know you’re going to get stiffed, doesn’t it make more sense to try to find cost-efficient ways to work around the hole than it does to try to address it in the same way that everybody else has? If hockey is fluid, inconsistent, and unpredictable, why sacrifice to take the same traditional approach to filling the spot?

Hell, maybe go the opposite way. If middling stay at home defencemen are worth a premium right now, maybe trade Roman Polak and Matt Hunwick for skilled forwards or a top backup goaltender or draft picks. They might not be Adam Larsson, but hey, teams gotta pay the price, right?

Of course, the same people who are so invested in trading Toronto’s top forwards for minute eating defencemen will scoff at this and remind you that they believe that the aforementioned pair are the ones doing the right things for the Leafs, and shouldn’t be messed with, as they have for months. Which probably means their end game here is to actually replace Connor Carrick, who is one-half of a pair that has been Top-5 in the league in relative shot differential this season.

What I’m basically saying here, is don’t buy into this hype. The narrative that Toronto should get a “Top-4 steady defenceman” at all costs is going to remain for a while, but it probably shouldn’t, and it definitely shouldn’t always involve the same prime assets. Just because one team made an indefensively bad trade doesn’t mean that others should follow, doesn’t mean that you have to follow their lead. 

Improving the defence would be awesome, but we’re probably looking at the wrong spot, the wrong type of player to put there, and overestimating the necessity of investment. If the Leafs the trade route, it should only happen when the Leafs are capable of winning one; not when they’re merely capable of making one.

PS: If you’re looking for a game to watch on the last day of this bye week, the Devils face the Oilers tonight. I hope Taylor Hall scores a hat trick.

  • tealeaves

    A comment on journalism that confuses readers

    Earlier blog – Polak is garbage that needs to be off this team.
    Today – Polak is a “middling stay at home defencemen” that we can trade for a haul.

    It would be great if you can stick to one and the same story, unlike the MSM writers who flip flop their narrative to support their thought of the day.

    • Jeff Veillette

      I’m saying that if their perception is that he’s in that category, then clearly he must be capable of being traded for a similar haul in their eyes.

      I’m sure there’s a team that’d give something for him but I’ms till not sure he’s doing much good for the team away from maybe the PK right now.

      • Slater

        No wonder you get downvoted on Reddit; your readers are dumbasses.

        Great article! Been telling everyone too chill out on this WE NEED A DEFENSEMAN NOW train of thought.

  • Capt.jay

    I agree Jeff. You don’t go and get a lumbering stay at home defenseman when you are a high octane team. If you’re high octane, stay high octane. A stay at home defenseman is good when he plays at the same speed as the rest of the team, but not if he slows them down or is late to enter the offensive zone.

    If stay at home defenceman are a premium then we should be able to trade a slow stay at home guy like Polak for a higher energy Dman, no? I’d rather have 3 more zeitsevs than 3 more Russell’s.

  • MST

    I have no issue with your overall premise but you’re not seeing your own blind spot bias for Nylander. He is very good but is very much a teir below Marner. Despite being a year younger Marner’s stats are way better and the eye test isn’t even close. In fact Nylander at the moment is just a power play specialist with only 9 5 on 5 points all year. That’s not just a teir below Marner but it also ranks below Brown and Hyman. Someday Nylander will be an elite top six. Never in his career will anyone think he’s as good as Marner.

    That being said I wouldn’t trade Nylander for Adam Larsson.

    • Harte of a Lion

      Nylander is learning to play on both sides of the puck under Babcock’s tutelage and once he learns, he will become the Leafs second best centre at driving possession.

    • rush89

      Nylander has bounced around on different lines. He is a centre who needs to learn D. Marner is a winger who has consistently been on a line with a good, vet C and a top winger. It’s not a fair comparison. With that being said, they have both been very impressive.

  • Greg Fenton

    You seem to painting a picture that fits your desires very well, but that doesn’t mean its the reality.

    Who in the right mind things the Leaf would trade for D-man who is much worse then the player they are giving up and who would hurt how they play? The very idea is a non-starter and the idea that Babcock, Lou, Shanahan, Hunter and Dubis would do that is ridiculous. But saying they don’t need to add to the defense or they can’t risk hurting their offense a little to add defense or ignoring the wealth of scoring wingers that could replace JVR is also ridiculous (Nylander should a non-starter).

    The Leafs need help on the Blue Line. They have a surplus of good, scoring wingers both on the roster in the system. They need to be working at looking at hurting that surplus into a player that could/would address their defensive issues.

    • Capt.jay

      I think jeffs point was it should be a defenseman that fits our style more than one that doesn’t. We need a couple Dman, just the right ones.

      Trading JVR could have bigger effects than just losing one forward. It could make it so that line become’s ineffective without him, hence making us a 2 line offensive threat instead of 3. That would change the way teams are able to play us as we lost what once made us so strong.

      • Greg Fenton

        In case, the whole article was – remember common sense?

        As for effects of losing JVR. First, you can’t be so scared of what might happen that you never change or try to improve. With the amount of talented wingers the Leafs have in the system you have some faith/confidence in your system and coaches. Leipsic, Kapanen, Leivo, Bracco, Rychel, Johnson, Timashov, Lindberg, – I think its resonable to assume ONE of these guys will be an NHL player. Second, as the article points out, JVR is heading toward a very big pay day. The leafs should not pay him what he will get. Period. They are going to have to pay Matthews, Marner and Nylander in the next few years. That would be too much money up front when the defense needs addressing.

        • Capt.jay

          We are short on guys with net presence and not one of the young guys you mentioned brings that to the table. They all small except Leivo who doesn’t play that style.

          • Kanuunankuula

            Whether that is true or not, I’m not keen on paying 6/7 mil to JVR.

            His trade value will never be higher. Every passing day he gets older and his excellent contract is a day shorter.

          • Harte of a Lion

            I disagree, Hyman is a beast in front of the net. Uncle Leo is hard to move as well. Neither have JVR’s hands however what’s the point of scoring 30 if your defensively inept and your on the ice for 40 against?

          • Greg Fenton

            Rychel is 6’1, Lindberg is 6’3. Grundstrom is 6’0 but plays like JVR.

            So your’e wrong about them not having any size and/or players who can/will drive the net aggressively.

          • Greg Fenton

            You said they were small which they aren’t, and at least one does bring net presence. You’re wrong.

            Your’e right, we don’t know if any of them can bring that in the NHL level, but you made it seem like every prospect is a small player who won’t go to the net.

        • Capt.jay

          While agree I don’t want to pay JVR the big money he is going to make, it doesn’t make sense to trade him in hasten when he has another year and a half left on contract.

          As for not being scared to make a trade for the sake of change… Yes you can! Leafs did it for years and look where it them. If we are indeed staying the course with the rebuild as Lou and Shanahan has said we are doing, then time is on our side to do what’s right instead of what’s reactionary for once.

          I want a defenseman too, just want to make sure it doesn’t hinder our strengths today instead of hoping for a better tomorrow

          • Greg Fenton

            Its not change for the sake of change when 1) You need to address an area of weakness and 2) You don’t want to pay the player when is contract comes due next year. And they don’t need to move JVR tomorrow, but you can’t wait and wait and wait or you find your window closed. There is a time limit. And do you get more for JVR this year, when he was another year on his contract, or next year when he’s a rental?

            And when you have the strength and depth on the wing in the system that the Leafs do, you can make this kind of move. They can’t play everyone on the roster today and their prospects in 2-3 years, there isn’t enough roster spots. If yo uwant tsee players like Kapanen, Lespic, Grundstrom, Bracco etc…. get a chance and play in their earn a spot other players will need to go to make room.

      • Harte of a Lion

        Capt.jay, the Leafs have a couple of players who could step in and fill that role. I believe Kapanen has the talent to step in to that spot and contribute just as well. He is slowly leaning the defensive side of the game and although he still plays with inconsistency in his own end at time (as if JVR is defensively responsible) he is learning to play the penalty kill with the Marlies while developing his defensive game. After watching him with the Marlies this year he might be the fastest player in the AHL. Another option is Leipsic, who not only scores, but drives the other team to distraction.

  • Harte of a Lion

    Well said Jeff, another ball out of the park! One final thought, Jesper Lindgren is that play driving high octane right shot d-man that the team needs. Everyone wants it “now” but there will still be pain, even if the team is ahead of schedule with their build.

    • Greg Fenton

      I think getting someone like Shattenkirk, and being able to lock him up for 4-5 years would be the best case.

      They get a good, veteran D-man who will improve the team on the ice-right away and it gives them someone with experience, which a young inexperience team can benefit from. Ideally, as guys like Nielsen and Lindgren and Dermott start to challenge for NHL roster spots, that veterans contract will be shorter and easier for another team to take on and/or simply off the books.

      • Harte of a Lion

        Greg, I believe Shattenkirk is going to get 50 + Million on his next contract and has stated he prefers to play in the US, for an eastern conference team. Whether it’s on a 5, 6 or 7 year contract, he is going to sign for big $$$.. The Leafs shouldn’t be interested in getting an older defenceman “Phaneuf” who will screw up the team’s salary cap after they worked so hard to get in a great position by trading “unmovable contracts”.
        When he hits 32 and has 3-4 years left at 7 million per as he declines is a move I doubt the team makes. I would rather see them try and acquire a McAvoy from Boston or a Schmaltz from St. Louis or even a Vatanen from the Ducks for JVR. All three fit in the age group of the core and have potential to develop into top defencemen. Also, The Ducks, Blues and Bruins have their windows closing and might overpay for a winger of JVR’s abilities and pedigree. Imagine Getzlaf centering Perry and JVR… on paper that’s a dominant line that matches well against any line in the league, though I’m not sure of JVR would want to play for Carlyle again, I wouldn’t. Both The Blues and Bruins need more scoring and I bet the Leafs jump at any of those deals although there would need to be more moving parts due to salary cap implications.

        • Greg Fenton

          I don’t mean Shattenkirk specifically thats why I said a player like him.

          Also, if you could get him for 5 years he is gone by the time he is 33 years old, you aren’t dealing with him for another 3-4 years.

          The Bruins aren’t going to move McAvoy, the Leafs would need to salary back, and the Leafs don’t need more prospects at this point. They have a few good defensive prospects and lots of picks to get them. They need help now while those picks develop. Same with Schmaltz. All reprots are the Ducks will move Fowler but not their other D-men.

          • Harte of a Lion

            The cost will probably Kapanen, Dermott and a first or something comparable would be my best guess since the Leafs top 3, Matthews, Nylander and Matthews will not be moved. I doubt that Brown, Hyman or any of the other rookies will be offered up either as chemistry on the roster is undeniable. I like Barrie but believe Sam Carrick will be a better defenceman when he is 25. I think his talent (Barrie) has been overestimated and blown out of proportion by MSM.
            The problem as I see it is now that the Leafs have experienced some success, everyone wants more immediately. I doubt Shanahan or Lamoriello will panic and undercut the work and accomplishments they have achieved in such a short time by making a deal for the sake of making a deal.

          • Greg Fenton

            Its not that people are jumping gun because they’ve won a few games.

            Look at what Shanahan and Lamoriello did in the off-season, they signed a goalie for 5 years. You don’t go sign a new goalie for 5 years if your short term goal isn’t to be competitive. They are competiting for a playoff spot, and given what the people in charge did in the off-season, I think its right where they want/hope to be. How would trading a winger who is probably at the height of value, while they have a wealth of wingers in the system, to address their weakness on defense be making a deal for the sake of making one? How would it undercut what they’ve been doing the last 2-3 seasons?

            Its just the next logical move for the Leafs

    • LukeDaDrifter

      You are the most right here. This year’s trade opportunities will be far different than a normal year. There are teams out there that need a defenceman just a badly as us. Unfortunately because of the expansion draft exposure requirements they will not be able to make a move.I don’t see much reason to trade one of our top forwards or prospects if the return is only going to be a slight improvement on defence. One could speculate both Polak and Hunwick will not be resigned. In that case who will be our bottom pairing? That penalty killing role is extremely important for a team that expects to contend. I keep reading Nylander only has a few points playing 5 on 5 but is great on the powerplay. What the hell is wrong with having a player that is great on the powerplay? Having a deadly powerplay is what other teams are really afraid of.

      • AussieBoy

        Your point about trading for something that ultimately is not worth losing JVR for,is as always spot on.

        “I don’t see much reason to trade one of our top forwards or prospects if the return is only going to be a slight improvement on defence.”

        Exactly,why on earth rush for the sake of rushing?…..Indeed.

      • Brandon

        I can’t see they trading Nylander at this point. It would have to be for something incredible in return. He has amazing potential. He takes the same kind of flack as Gardiner. Both of them look casual in their work, but if you look at their numbers, they do a good job suppressing shots and tilting the ice for their team. And Nylander is doing that at 20!

  • Stan Smith

    I think the expansion draft is going to be the catalyst that is going to free up a number of decent dmen. A situation could also arise where a team, heavy on defence, with a player who is nearing a new contract, might swap for a player like JVR, in a similar contract situation. Having said that there is always a premium on top 4 dmen. The other option is to take the pain a bit longer and develop from within.

  • old hockey fan

    All this talk about trading for a defenseman, how good or close to being ready are prospects on the Marlies like Andrew Nielson, Rinat Valiev or Travis Dermott?

      • LukeDaDrifter

        We will not be getting a #1 stud D-man, unless we trade a #1 stud forward. We only really have one of those. We will not be trading him. Where we are likely to look to improve is the bottom 3 defense positions. We will likely have to wait to see the first trade of this type to see where the bar is set.

        • Brandon

          I think people are in too much of a hurry here. The window for these young leafs is just starting to open. It’s not the time to rush. Nielson, Valiev and Dermott aren’t going to be top defenders next year, but the leafs don’t need them to be top defenders next year. They just need to keep getting better. I’d be thrilled if one of those three could take a 3rd D group spot next year to help them keep growing.

    • Harte of a Lion

      They aren’t close. Out of the defencemen on the Marlies I think Valiev and Löov are the closest to being NHL ready. Dermott just turned 20 less than a month ago and Nielsen Turned 20 last November… Each has strengths and weaknesses. IMO, Dermott is the better skater and passer who’s game is more complete while Nielsen has a better offensive upside. These kids need another year or two. Jesper Lindgren is the youngest who won’t turn 20 until May although as far as looking up “high octane” in the dictionary you will probably find his picture.

        • Brandon

          I saw that Keefe was quoted as saying that Corrado looks a lot better this year than he did last. That’s good to hear. Maybe he still has a short at the 3rd pairing for next year if he doesn’t get claimed. He’s still pretty young and seems to have potential for development.

  • DukesRocks

    Jeff, one your best articles to date, a little winded but totally agree with the point the Leafs should be in no rush to force a trade. This is no different from what Lou and most Leaf fans with common sense are stating. Lou mentioned the evaluation of the core players and adding to that group. This would mean there’re players that will be traded at the deadline and in June. Base on the actions of the Leaf brass during this rebuild, we have predictions on who those players will be. However the timetable for these moves may not be to Leaf fans/writers liking. For example, I would like to see Nylander move to centre with Marner and JVR. For this to happen Bozak needs to be traded. I would like this to happen by the trade deadline. However, the variables have to fall into to place for the Leafs to make such moves without forcing the issue. JVR, Bozak, Polak, Hunwick will be moved, its just a matter time.

    Before the start of the season, many Leaf fans/writers evaluated the Leafs system and predicted the team would be better based on unknowns. Today the picture is more focused with Marner, Nylander and Mathews. We also have seen how Babs will utilize players like Hyman and Brown. We’ve seen growth and production in Kadri’s game. Today we also have a strong farm system teeming with possible blue chippers. All these player may or may not be Leafs but are assets that will grow the franchise. Come June, Leaf fans/writers will see a more focused picture of what the Leafs will look like and come next season the picture will be more clear. Some players we expected to get trade may still be here. We may or may not have that stud D we’re looking for. Who knows that stud D could be prospects like Lindgren, Nielson or Dermott. What is a well known fact during this rebuild is, the Leafs have more resources managed by the greatest minds in the industry and their progression is undeniable.

  • Mohamed Mike Slack Fahmy

    Exactly why lose JVR or Nylander to bring in an average d-man that eats minutes, The Leafs are actually going to create another hole in their lineup trading 1 or both to get that D-man. Why not address it in free agency with a ShattenKirk type

  • Bob Canuck

    For argument sake, let’s assume that none of the current Leafs or Marlies will become an elite shutdown D-man. Let’s also assume that the Leafs at some point will have to add two defensemen: preferably an elite D-man and also a quality bottom-pairing D-man. Given the scarcity of elite defensemen, an option to consider would be the acquisition of two #2 or #3 D-men. In other words, instead of acquiring a Duncan Keith / Drew Doughty caliber D-man and a good bottom-pairing D-man, perhaps a sound approach would be to acquire two Niklas Hjalmarsson / Jake Muzzin caliber D-men. In terms of salaries, the total cost of Hjalmarsson and Muzzin-types would approximate the cost of an elite D-man and a quality bottom-pairing D-man. It would differ from the model of recent Stanley Cup champions (Pittsburgh, Chicago, et al), who had legitimate top-pairing D-men playing 30 minutes a game. However, with this alternative, the Leafs would have six quality D-men that would arguably be better than the Penguins top-six of last season; one of the reasons why Letang played so much during last season’s playoff was that Pittsburgh had to shelter their bottom-pairing D-men so much.

    To be clear, I’m not arguing that the Leafs should acquire any of the D-men I have named; I am merely suggesting that the caliber of players noted may be a viable alternative if the Leafs are unable to acquire an elite shutdown D-man or have one emerge from within.

    • LukeDaDrifter

      What you are suggesting is the most likely scenario we will see. Maybe not 2 guys though. It I had to guess GM’s with good defencemen that need to be moved before expansion are still looking for top value coming back their way. Time is not on their side.So far GM’s like Lou are waiting it out. Things could change quickly if one of the few top D-men get moved.

  • espo

    any trade that simultaneously brings in a Dman and improves the team will end up costing us Carrick in the expansion draft anyway, (big Carrick fan btw, have been since he was with Hershey)

    but if that’s the case and the Leafs are serious about bringing in a Dman, why not swing for the fences. JVR, Carrick + + and go for a big fish. I know it’s not customary to trade 1st rnd picks during a rebuild, but if that’s what it takes to pick up a Lindholm or to a lesser extent Trouba maybe Tanev…? maybe i’m not dreaming big enough here, but JVR (cheap) + Carrick (super cheap) + pick(s?) is starting to sound like pretty decent trade bait….

    finding the right partner might be another matter.

  • STAN

    I’d submit this is THEE best Leafs-related article you’ve written. Spector has not only been an Oilers apologist going back to the Lowe / Tambellini era, he’s doing the same with the new, middling team of Chiarelli / McLelland. Larsson for Hall, straight up, was madness. This is the same GM who saw fit to jettison Seguin and Hamilton. The Leafs need to stay the course, at least for the rest of this season, to just see what they’ve got. No rash trades for the sake of trades, LL. PLEASE !

    • Bob Canuck

      I don’t put much value in Mark Spector’s comments/analysis. The link below is to a clip of a post-game exchange between Dallas Eakins and Spector. The exchange occurs between the 0:07 and 2:04 mark. Dallas did not succeed in Edmonton but I think he won this battle.

      https://www.youtube.com/wat

  • azzlicker420

    A lot of words for such a shortsighted view.

    Trading JVR for any kind of asset puts the Leafs in a better place. His value is incredibly high at the moment. So instead of soapboxing about how you are smarter than Mark Spector (way to set the bar low), maybe think before you start writing.