Yesterday was a quiet one in Leafland.
Amidst some early reports that swirled around suggesting the Leafs might be looking to make a huge splash, the trade deadline came and went without much for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Chris Johnston just did segment on sn590 and said leafs are in the mix for a big hockey trade involving RHD that might involve Gardiner going other way plus.
— Arsen (@JonArsen24) February 25, 2019
Little leprechaun is gonna be finding a pit of gold in another city me thinks.
— Platinum Seat Ghosts (@3rdPeriodSuits) February 25, 2019
While some online mourned prematurely for players from Connor Brown to Jake Gardiner – and not without reason, based on a few whispers here and there, much of the talk was all for not. Unless you’re a Par Lindholm fan, that is. The Leafs did move the Swedish forward to the Winnipeg Jets in a minor trade for centre Nic Petan, who joined the club for the first time earlier today.
After back-to-back seasons acquiring bigger names in Brian Boyle and Tomas Plekanec, a more understated deadline day from Dubas came as a surprise to many, and a disappointment to some.
Those people, however, may be quick to judge, and quick to criticize. Yesterday’s trade deadline was more of a statement than they may realize, as the negative space of the Leafs’ inactivity actually speaks volumes in several regards.
Addition Through Subtraction
Par Lindholm’s tenure in Toronto has come to an end. Here is the only goal he ever scored as a member of the Maple Leafs. pic.twitter.com/EpnvTIcTx6
— The Leafs IMO (@TheLeafsIMO) February 25, 2019
Let’s be frank for a moment, and admit that Par Lindholm’s tenure in Toronto will likely fade from the memories of many sooner rather than later. With one lowly goal and 11 assists through 61 NHL games, Lindholm wasn’t exactly a difference-maker in the Leafs lineup. Was he a liability? Hardly. He was just invisible – a little too invisible.
And while Nic Petan comes to Toronto with just 5 career goals through 108 NHL seasons, he also arrives with a degree of potential never advertized with Lindholm:
New Maple Leafs forward Nic Petan, 23, was a point per game in the AHL last season. He’s managed just two assists (no goals) in 13 appearances with the Jets this year.
— luke fox (@lukefoxjukebox) February 25, 2019
When you’re measuring degrees of invisibility, the book is still out on Petan as an NHL player. But the potential is there – and we’ll take that “maybe”.
Addition Through Not Subtracting
The thought here is simple: the Leafs are going for it this season, and they absolutely should. And while rumours, as mentioned, began swirling about Jake Gardiner’s impending departure from the Leafs, that departure should now arrive no earlier than July 1st:
Chris Johnston on Jake Gardiner and the burgeoning understanding that he wont be returning to the Leafs next season
Man, I’m really going to miss Jake. pic.twitter.com/662W9W7L2n
— rahef ? (@rahef_issa) February 25, 2019
What does this mean? Several things. It means that Jake Gardiner’s days in Toronto are likely numbered, and that’s too bad. But the Salary Cap – love it or hate it – is what it is.
It also means that Jake Gardiner will remain a Toronto Maple Leaf through what is hopefully a lengthy playoff run.
With Morgan Rielly, Travis Dermott, Jake Muzzin and Jake Gardiner on the back end, the Leafs elected to stay locked and loaded heading into the playoffs, and that’s what contenders do. They cut their losses, and build teams that they believe can make a run for it at all costs. Luckily for the Leafs, “all costs” did not involve losing a single significant roster player, through the Muzzin trade or otherwise, and the rest – such as impending-UFA Jake Gardiner – is house money.
Addition Through Not Trading A Second-Round Pick
— SportsCentre (@SportsCentre) February 27, 2017
The @MapleLeafs announced that the hockey club has acquired forwards Tomas Plekanec and Kyle Baun from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Rinat Valiev, Kerby Rychel and Toronto’s second round draft pick in 2018.
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) February 25, 2018
Without a 1st-round selection in this draft after the Jake Muzzin trade, the Leafs decided not to sacrifice more futures for this run, unlike the past two years. And that’s okay, too.
The novelty of the Jake Muzzin trade has faded, now a month later, and Leafs Nation was antsy as the trade deadline came and went yesterday afternoon. But the Leafs made their splash; they loaded up, and they’ve got their sights set firmly forward with the squad at hand.
What comes next is up to this group – with certainty, now. We’ll see what they can make of it.