A pantload of trades on Wednesday and how they affect the Maple Leafs

Jon Steitzer
1 month ago
It’s debatable that Brad Treliving had his phone on during Wednesday when half the league decided to have an impromptu trade frenzy. And while it seems that patience has always been in the Maple Leafs best interest during this deadline window, there is absolutely a fear of missing out happening in Leafs land and taking a look to see what has been done so far and whether it has any impact on the Leafs is worth a few minutes of our time.
In that spirit, here’s what has happened on Wednesday, of course starting on Tuesday night just to be difficult.
The Golden Knights pick up Anthony Mantha (50% retained), sending 2nd and 4th round picks to the Capitals
I’m not sure there were too many people connecting Anthony Mantha to the Leafs. He’s had a great season and at 50% retained he could have been great forward depth. The price for bringing in Mantha wasn’t steep and sets a good precedent for the value of similar players this deadline. As we’ll see in some of the trades below, teams are taking advantage of the friendly market.
The deal also makes the Golden Knights even more of a force and we’ll see below they weren’t done (and still might not be done.) The Knights are just one of the first contending teams to start going big.
The Panthers acquire Vladimir Taresenko (50% retained) from the Senators for 3rd and 4th round picks
The price on Tarasenko was even friendly than the price on Mantha. The Panthers were aided by the fact that Tarasenko has a full no trade clause and was able to steer the Senators towards sending him to the state where his family resides. The value on this deal is an outlier, but from a Leafs perspective it is not great to see one of the teams they would likely need to go through on their way out of the Atlantic Division getting stronger and still likely having the flexibility to do more if they’d like.
The Avalanche get Casey Mittlestadt and the Sabres get Bowen Byram
I could make some salty comment about how the Leafs were supposedly in on every defenceman available but we didn’t hear boo about Byram but the reality is that his was a hockey trade where the Avs wanted a 2C and Byram was the price the Sabres named.
Byram won’t sting the Leafs this year but makes a good Sabres blueline better.
On the Avs side, this move along with the one below makes them a stronger contender and helps establish that the Leafs are further down the league’s top contender list than we might want to believe.
The Avalanche acquire Sean Walker a 5th round pick from the Flyers for a 1st round pick and Ryan Johansen
So Byram for Walker might be a wash in the now with the likely potential to be a downgrade in the future, but Mittlestadt is a definite upgrade over Johansen and this probably leaves them with the freedom to try to do more. I’m not sure if the Avs of the future will feel great about the move and if it was enough of an upgrade now to warrant that trade off.
As for the Flyers, they got the 1st they wanted and got Seeler signed at a reasonable price earlier so they are probably feeling good.
From a Leafs perspective, this deal knocked both Sean Walker and Nick Seeler off the trade market and of the trade deadline rentals they were a couple of the more appealing options although the Leafs shouldn’t have spent a first on either one of them, so possibly a bullet dodged?
The Oilers add Adam Henrique (75% retained) and Sam Carrick (50%) retained by sending a 1st and 5th round pick to Anaheim and another 4th to Tampa
The Oilers continue to add former Leafs and at least for one shift it would be nice to see Hyman-Carrick-Brown out there together. As for the most significant part of the deal, Adam Henrique might have been a nice to have for the Leafs if they had the resources to bring in a 3C at the deadline. In no situation should Toronto been spending a 1st on him though, but compared to what Sean Monahan cost the Jets, the Oilers did good work here.
The deal also exhausted all of the salary retention spots on the Ducks, so if the Leafs or any other team are wanting to make a deal with Anaheim it just got a lot harder.
The Rangers bring in Alex Wennberg (50% retained) from the Kraken for 2nd and 4th round picks
This deal is outstanding because of one of the most amazing conditions ever put on a pick:
 “4th round pick becomes a 3rd round pick if Nils Lundkvist scores 55 total points in his first two seasons in Dallas”
Outstanding. No notes. All trades should include a wager on a random player.
Anyways, this is also supposed to be at least a little about the Leafs and Wennberg could have been a 3C option to consider for the Leafs but certainly not an exciting one. The Rangers join the list of teams loading up and Seattle got a decent price for the player they wanted to move. Now that they’ve picked up some assets there is less pressure on them to move one of their defencemen that Leafs fans (and writers) have been pining over.
The Golden Knights bring in Noah Hanifin from the Flames
Kelly McCrimmon has an NHL Game Genie. That or he’s one of those rare GMs that remembers what worked incredibly well for him as a junior hockey GM and embraces the idea of operating the same way in the NHL.
Hanifin would have been a great add for the Leafs if he was willing to re-sign in Toronto, but if we are to believe NHL insiders there was almost no possibility of that.
As for the big picture, the Golden Knights getting even stronger and having the space to do even more is something that teams like the Leafs need to think on before they join the NHL arms race.
Perhaps the big question that should be asked is if the Flames are willing to cut so deep on the roster for a reload, are they committing to a situation where moving on from Rasmus Andersson or Mackenzie Weegar might make sense for them. That might be a lot of wishful thinking but Weegar’s contract is especially one that I wonder if it fits Calgary’s rebuild timelines. If so, the Leafs should inquire. In reality, the Flames aren’t so far gone yet and a couple of 1st round picks and $20M+ of cap space gives Craig Conroy a chance to do something quick.

What next?

A lot of the teams making moves today still have flexibility to do more. The Lightning, Bruins, Red Wings, and Hurricanes have still been quiet this trade deadline and that isn’t likely to last. The Canucks far from done and the Leafs still have a lot of competition in a more limited trade market.
The best path forward is probably staying the course. If the Leafs want to go big on someone with term, these moves probably didn’t have much on an impact on that.
The second best path forward is to not overpay and that likely involves the Leafs waiting until the 11th hour and getting the best price on whomever is left. Entering a bidding war on bottom pairing rental defencemen has shades of the Ryan O’Byrne deadline of 2013.
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