Speculation flies as rumours have Vegas selecting Fehr in expansion draft

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Source: Aaron Doster via USA TODAY

Yesterday, a piece was released on Sinbin.Vegas, the newly released blog following the newly introduced Vegas Golden Knights. The piece discussed the possibility of a back room deal between Lou Lamiorello, Maple Leafs General Manager, and George McPhee, his counterpart in Las Vegas. 

The piece by Ken Boehlke took a segment of conjecture on Hockey Central and ran with it, proposing some very good insight on why the Golden Knights might have a deal in place to take Eric Fehr in the expansion draft from the Maple Leafs. The deal would send some sort of future value to Vegas to protect the other assets the Leafs will have to expose in the expansion draft. Example names might include Marchenko, Marincin, Komarov, Martin, Leivo, or Rychel, depending on how the Leafs decide to set up their protections.

The actual quote from Doug Maclean on Hockey Central at noon (which picks up around 10:00 here) on March 2nd was during a discussion regarding the trade deadline that the Maple Leafs had. Specifically, he had this quote regarding the acquisition of Eric Fehr: “So the rationale for doing him would be, number 1, he’s a guy you can expose. He’s a guy that George [McPhee] might take because he’s 31, he’s $2 million, he’s won a Cup, they were together. And you don’t know if was already a pre-arranged deal with Lou and…” 

Doug paused as Kypreos took over, “That’s one of those side deals that we might be talking about.” Doug continued later, “That may not be a deal done with Lou, but… it might be.”

Let’s be absolutely, 100 percent clear: there are no sources that back up Lou making a deal with George McPhee. 

That doesn’t mean we can’t dream about it though, right? It certainly doesn’t mean that Sinbin can’t dream about it. It’s seems like a deal that makes sense for the Leafs. And if the future value is high enough, it’s a deal that makes sense for the Golden Knights as well. 

One of the biggest positives coming out of the Corrado deal is that Fehr is already signed through next year. He has played the requisite 40 games this season or 70 games in the past two seasons to be one of the minimum two forwards that the Leafs must expose that in the expansion draft. Matt Martin will likely be the other of the two forwards to expose that meet this games-played requirement. The Leafs would also need to expose 1 defenseman meeting the 70/40 rule, but both Marincin and Marchenko (the likely exposees) will cover them there.

Prior to acquiring Fehr, it was looking like one of Bozak or Komarov would have to be exposed, or the Leafs would have to give an extension to someone on the roster who would meet those requirements (Ben Smith if he were to play just 5 more games). Given the links that Maclean and Boehlke identified between McPhee and Fehr, I like exposing Fehr a lot better even without the possibility of a side deal.

Now let’s say that a side deal does exist: what are the Leafs going to have to pay?

I wanted to take a look at the deals Maclean himself made as side deals with the Columbus Blue Jackets before the expansion draft. You can find them here at nhltradetracker.com (date June 23, 2000). However, there were a lot of moving parts there, probably too many to break down accurately. And to combine that with the age of the deals not likely being applicable to today’s NHL, it seems a valueless exercise.

As such, we’ll continue the conjecture. The price might be a pick in order to protect all of the Leafs assets they will look at exposing. What round would be sufficient? A 3rd rounder might be reasonable, given the relative value of Fehr versus some of the other assets the Leafs are protecting. If you had to trade Marincin or Rychel for Fehr, what would be the pick you would want back? That’s the sort of approach McPhee will have here.

Or maybe it’s another prospect that the Leafs send back? A B minus sort of prospect like JD Greenway or Martins Dzierkals. Possibly Vegas is more interested in players that have a year or two of development already, as opposed to a draft pick.

Of course, it is also possible that the Leafs will choose not to make this kind of deal. Perhaps they are fine with the risk of losing Marincin or Rychel to save paying future value to ensure they stay. Given that the Leafs aren’t exactly a perfectly built depth chart, it may not be prudent to give up future value to keep it together. Ultimately, we’ll just have to see what happens on expansion draft day. Perhaps we’ll see a draft pick go to Vegas, along with their selection of Eric Fehr. Only then will we know that a back room deal truly occured. 

  • LukeDaDrifter

    Yes the Leafs can use him to meet our exposure requirements. Vegas is not required to pick one of our two forwards that must be exposed. They will have a choice of guys like Rychel, Bebeau, Sparks, Boyle, Brown, Griffin, Leivo, Marchenko, Marincin, Polak and Leipsic.
    Do you honestly think Vegas would have any interest in 32 year old Eric Fehr unless we include a top prospect. Last season he scored 8 goals. This year he has scored 6 goals. It is highly unlikely Fehr could make their team. They can sign tons of players like Colin Greening as a free agents. Some of the players I named will be protected. Not all of them.

    • tealeaves

      That’s the question.

      Let’ say in jeffler’s worst nightmare we protect JVR, Bozak, Kadri, Komarov, Martin, Brown and Leipsic. Then Leivo and Rychel are unprotected.

      Why wouldn’t Vegas prefer a choice of Leivo or Rychel or analytic superstar marincin over Fehr + something? That something would have to be just as good and probably more then the 4th we acquired Fehr for. time will tell

      • Josh Lewis

        If it were me, Rychel and Martin would be unprotected. I agree Vegas would probably prefer an NHL-ready young forward to a 32-year-old grinder and a mid-round pick that will take years to develop.

        • tealeaves

          It could be and I think it is unlikely Babcock leaves Martin (who he plays every game) unprotected and protects Leivo who does not have enough of complete game (PK particularly) to crack the line up.

          Babcock might lose the request to protect Martin but that is the who he pushes Lou to keep. ANd based on Leivo’s scratch he is gone one way or the other.

          • Brandon

            Really? I thought Leivo’s brief stint showed that he was a good all around player who managed the grinding style of game that Babcock seems to prize. He also seemed very mobile for a big guy. And he’s obviously got offensive upside. I feel like the Leafs have sacrificed the “Develop” side of “Draft and Develop” a bit this year with some of their projects. But that’s just how I see it and I know there are lots of debates on here about it. But I’d like to see a bigger sample of Leivo myself.

  • tealeaves

    We didn’t trade corrado to get Fehr. Stop trying to defend the trade like trading Corrado is a bad thing. There is nothing to defend, Lou was doing Corrado a favour. Corrado is garbage and an after thought of getting the 4th rd pick.

    We got Fehr and 4th for renting the penguins our cap space. That’s it.
    Enough with the Corrado this or that.

    • LukeDaDrifter

      Here is the story on Frank Corrado. He is a nice guy who Vancouver gave up on and waived. For a defenceman it is unusual to be waived so young. Some here say he was not given a chance in Toronto. Well in the year and a half he spent here he dressed for 41 games. He had two conditioning stints with the Marlies, He had the use of the best training staff and facilities money can buy. Eventually this year he was waived by us. Nobody wanted him for free. He played 18 games with the Marlies then as you say the Leafs did him a favour by moving him to another team. He is still only 23 years old. In a few years he may yet become a regular NHL player. We all hoped and wished Frankie would succeed here. Hell we need D. Unfortunately he was just not ready for the NHL and some top management on the Canucks and the Leafs are not sure if he will ever be.

      • HockeyKeeperKit

        Again, he didn’t fit a bottom 2 penalty killing role and there was no room on the top-2 behind Carrick or Zaitsev. Simple as that. Once again, that does not diminish his ability to play. If the Leafs weren’t so damn healthy, I would bet he would have played and changed many of your tunes…

    • HockeyKeeperKit

      Corrado is mentioned once in the article and in that instance he was simply mentioned as a component of the deal. Where was he being “defended”? The hate-on for the guy is palpable. I’m glad I don’t have to keep hearing it…

  • LukeWarmWater

    On a side note it was good to see the Islanders lose tonight as they had been on that hot streak. A must win for the leafs on Tuesday against Detroit.

  • Brandon

    Total sidebar here, but leafsnation.com doesn’t have a way to contact by email, just twitter. How about an article comparing Leivo and Sochnikov’s play. I admit I’ve been disappointed to see Leivo sit lately in favour of Sochnikov, but maybe a good comparison will convince me. I was pretty high on Sochnikov at the start of this year but I’ve been underwhelmed. Thanks.

  • Mark

    Love how the fans always want Martin unprotected. How many times has he been scratched? Never. How many times will he be scratched in the future? Never (Babcock confirmed that this weekend). He’s not going anywhere despite your fantasy GM ideas.

    • RadioAlex

      I think the idea is that -if exposed- he likely won’t be taken. He’s a solid bottom-3 forward and a relentless forechecker, but doesn’t have the highest upside.