Photo credit:Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Looking back at Brad Treliving’s last 5 trades
By Shane Seney20 days ago
The trade deadline is just over a month away and Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brad Treliving has reportedly been looking into available defencemen across the entire National Hockey League. It’s par for the course for the Leafs to be linked to most of the in-season trade targets, but looking into ‘every’ defenceman is next level. Sports is all about what have you done for me lately, so I thought it was the perfect time to circle back on Treliving’s five most recent deals he’s been able to pull off in Toronto and before he left Calgary.
It’s not always pretty when you give trades time to breathe but that’s the risk you take when handing over the keys of a hockey team. In Toronto, Treliving doesn’t have a ton of cap space to work with, there are limited trade assets in the cupboards thanks to his incumbent, and with inconsistent production on the ice, it doesn’t seem like it will be an ‘all-in’ deadline for the Maple Leafs.
In order to know where you’re going, it’s important to understand where you’ve been, here’s a rundown of the last five trades Treliving has managed to complete:
Oct.8.23 – Maple Leafs trade Sam Lafferty to the Canucks for a 2024 fifth-round pick
This deal has been hard to swallow all season long because the bottom six of the Leafs could use Sam Lafferty. Actually, they could probably use a couple of Laffertys. This trade had a lot to do with cap space, roster limits, making sure Ryan Reaves didn’t have to go through waivers, and ensuring Fraser Minten had a chance to start the season in the NHL. So far, it’s clear that they would have been better off keeping Lafferty instead of managing through that headache.
This deal has been a tough pill to swallow for Leafs fans as Lafferty has played very well for the Canucks, recording 10 goals and 10 assists in 49 games. He’s capable of playing in all situations and has been given some time on the penalty kill and power play in Vancouver, while not much, Lafferty does most of his damage at 5vs5. His best asset is his speed, likely followed by his versatility to be able to play either wing or down the middle. With the Maple Leafs apparently looking for depth down the middle of the ice and with recent injuries to Calle Jarnkrok and David Kampf, the Leafs could use Lafferty in a major way.
Mar.10.23 – Flames trade future considerations for Kristians Rubins
In his last deal as the Calgary Flames GM, Treliving shipped out fan favourite ‘future considerations’ for Kristians Rubins, the same Rubins who once signed a two-year deal from Kyle Dubas and the Maple Leafs. Rubins is a 6-foot-5 towering defenseman who was strictly brought in as a depth move for the organization in need of another blueliner.
Rubins managed to appear in three AHL games last season in Calgary, recording two assists and posted another three points in six Calder Cup playoff games. This season Rubins has made his way to Modo of the SHL in Sweden and his only three career NHL games came back as a Leaf in 2022-23. A very minor deal and one that was strictly a depth move for the Flames organization. No word yet on which jersey number future considerations will wear in Calgary.
Mar.3.23 – Flames trade Brett Ritchie and Connor Mackey for Nick Ritchie and Troy Stecher
This was Treliving’s second deal of deadline day last season after the Flames went 3-4-4 in the month of February. Calgary needed some depth on defense and more size/offense up front but ended up choosing the wrong two players to add to their mix.
Ritchie, a familiar face around these parts, put up just five points in 16 games with the Flames and now is beating people up in the Finnish league and receiving suspensions. Remember when Don Cherry wanted Ritchie drafted instead of William Nylander? Well, that’s a story for another day.
Stecher on the other hand, an undersized righty blueliner, had a decent 20 games as a Flame, recording seven points down the stretch. But, again, it wasn’t enough to help the Flames make the playoffs, but it was a good enough performance to land Stecher a one-year contract with the Arizona Coyotes. Meanwhile, Mackey and Ritchie were depth pieces who the Coyotes dressed for the final couple of months of last season. Mackey put up four points in 20 games and now is in the Rangers organization. The eldest Ritchie brother put up five points in 16 games in the desert and never received an NHL contract for this season. He’s dressed in six 2023-24 KHL games and it appears this trade did absolutely nothing for anyone involved.
Mar.3.23 – Flames trade Radim Zohorna to the Maple Leafs for Dryden Hunt
That’s right, Treliving and Dubas were doing business together before they even knew how the summer would shape up for the two of them. The Flames wanted some more speed and got that and more in Hunt, meanwhile, the Leafs landed the towering Zohorna, who Dubas ended up bringing with him to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Hunt was given a look in Toronto but was inconsistent in his limited minutes, registering one goal in nine games with the Leafs. After the trade to Calgary, he never managed to get into the NHL lineup, but fortunately for him, did re-sign a two-year deal last summer. Hunt’s played four games with the Flames this season and is producing at a nice clip in the AHL, with 20 points in 21 games.
Zohorna scored once for the Leafs in two games last year and looked out of place doing it. His brief Leafs tenure led him to a nice depth role in Pittsburgh this season, recording seven points in 31 games, playing just over 10 minutes a game. Another meh trade that didn’t move the needle for either team.
Aug.18.22 – Flames trade Sean Monahan and a conditional first-round pick to the Montreal Canadiens for future considerations
Yikes, this trade doesn’t look great at all, but Treliving had to do what he had to do to get Nazem Kadri signed in Calgary. Kadri was one of the only big-name free agents left on the market and Treliving saw him as an upgrade over Monahan and his $6.3 million contract. After posting just 23 points in 65 games in Calgary, can you blame Treliving for doing so?
But boy oh boy, this deal looks a little cringier now with Monahan finding his groove with the Canadiens and since being flipped to the Winnipeg Jets for another first-rounder. One to take him on, one to move him, Habs GM Kent Hughes pulled off some tidy business. Meanwhile Treliving on the other hand, would tell you he’s fine with the way things turned out. Kadri hasn’t been amazing in Calgary, but he’s starting to come around with 39 points in 49 games this season.
So there we have it, Treliving’s recent trade history leaves a lot to be desired. Yes, the Matthew Tkachuk deal was next on the list, but we won’t even go there. In his first trade deadline as Leafs GM, I’d expect some serious creativity out of Treliving as he needs to continue to put his fingerprints on the roster and set up the Leafs to win, not only this season but the next three to five years. There’s no chance he can waste a potential 70-goal season from Auston Matthews and with most of this Leafs team being in the prime of their careers, he should going for it, every single time.
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