A lot has happened in the trade market over the past few days. None of it involved the Leafs. That doesn’t mean that it’s greatest impact wasn’t on the Leafs and it’s important we dissect these moves to determine how they impacted Toronto.
Let’s go through these four trades in the order in which they occurred to determine how impacted the Leafs may have been.
Andy Greene for a 2021 2nd Round Pick and David Quenneville
We’ll start off by looking at Andy Greene. There is no way the Leafs should have ever wanted Andy Greene on their team, so on the surface this doesn’t look like it impacts the Leafs a whole lot. Where it gets interesting is twofold.
First, the return for Andy Greene is absolutely bonkers. Giving up a 2nd round pick for ancient defenseman making $5M a year is pretty crazy, and serves to remind Leafs fans of what the potential return could be if they were to shop some of their players as sellers at the deadline. In particular, a healthy Cody Ceci might have value, but alas, he’s not going to be healthy, so we will just have to take comfort in the fact that he’s potentially cap relief for the rest of the year, and he’s not Nikita Zaitsev’s contract.
Secondly, this trade gives us a glimpse into that alternate world where Lou Lamoriello is still running the Leafs. For all the bizarre praise from some on what Lou could be doing better than what Dubas has done, this is a pretty strong argument that people just like criticizing Dubas, which is fair in some instances, but the argument that Lou would have a good handle on the Leafs right now doesn’t seem to be the case either.
Blake Coleman for a 2020 1st Round Pick and Nolan Foote
This one hits a bit more closely to home, as Blake Coleman is a good player, who to some degree could have made sense for the Leafs. He’s cost controlled, skilled, but given the amount of winger depth on the Leafs, probably didn’t make a lot of sense, especially if that’s the return on him.
Now let’s look at that return a bit more and decide whether that is something you could be comfortable with for someone like Kasperi Kapanen or slightly reduced version of that for Alex Kerfoot. Is that something you could live with? I know I sure could.
The probably with that is the return is for futures, and the Leafs should be living in the now, and I hear your argument on that, and perhaps deals like this serve to remind other GMs that skilled wingers aren’t free and sometimes you need to trade good defensemen in order to get them.
It also could serve to show the Leafs that flipping out their wingers for futures and dealing those futures to another club for a defenseman might be a reasonable approach.
Tyler Toffoli for a 2020 2nd Round Pick, Tyler Madden, someone named Tim Schaller, and a conditional 4th
So, like the Coleman trade the high end winger price is being established. Toffoli is rightfully a little less given that he’s a rental, but that’s still a haul.
The Leafs should never had been in on Toffoli, who is an expensive winger and they have similar options in house, and this deal probably doesn’t impact the Leafs a whole ton, beyond one key thing that is worth celebrating, and that is a skilled forward was acquired by a Western Conference team and that means the Eastern Conference isn’t going to get even tougher. That’s a small win.
Dylan DeMelo for a 2020 3rd Round Pick
Like Toffoli there is a benefit in DeMelo going to the Western Conference, but unlike a lot of the other names mentioned here, DeMelo was an appealing target for the Leafs and he was obtained a very modest price.
As pointed out by many already, the price that the Jets paid for DeMelo wasn’t necessarily what the Leafs would have paid for DeMelo, and he might have simply been not available to them or had a significant price tag attached.
There is a very good chance that this seemingly low price was only available to the Western Conference, and there might have been some consideration given to the fact that the Jets aren’t likely to have a particularly high pick, and the Sens would pick around the mid 3rd round at worst with this draft pick.
Brendon Dillon for a 2020 2nd Round Pick and 2021 3rd Round Pick
Perhaps the lesson to learn here in addition to what has already been covered is that the right shooting defenseman market is shrinking every day. I was seconds away from hitting publish on this post and now I’ve got two more trades to look at.
Dillon was a player that there was some loose connection to the Leafs on, and so his absence from the trade market might push Dubas in a different direction, and many of us might think that’s a good thing. The price paid for renting a potential bottom pairing defenseman is pretty high.
Marco Scandella for a 2020 2nd Round Pick and 2021 4th Round Pick
How this affects the Leafs? Well, it should make us sad whenever the Habs do something smart, and basically laundering Scandella into a 2nd round pick for them was tidy business.
This trade also may signal that the Habs are final done pretending that they are competing for a playoff spot, and the Leafs will get to finish their season against a depleted opponent. This could be a good thing, but a less good thing is that Florida gets to play them twice.
- Buying is expensive. The rental market is insane and probably should be avoided.
- Sellers are getting rich quick. I’m prepared to double down on my trade Tyson Barrie opinion.
- If the Leafs are quiet in the next week, it might not be the end of the world.
- Trades are fun. More of these, please.