(Photo credit: Michael Miller)
Another trade deadline has come and gone, and for the second year in a row the Toronto Maple Leafs were buyers, but slightly reluctant buyers at that due to the team having a nucleus of young talent that needs to carefully be tweaked with to avoid upsetting the tremendous chemistry the team has built.
Lou Lamoriello is a tough GM to get a read on as info on any potential moves are really kept away from the prying eyes and ears of the media.
Like last season, the Maple Leafs ended up making depth moves around and close to the deadline, but in saying that we shall now have a look at what the Maple Leafs did leading up and at the trade deadline:
February 15th, 2018
|TORONTO GETS:||ST. LOUIS GETS:|
|2019 4th Round Pick||Nikita Soshnikov|
Soshnikov was the unfortunate victim of the sheer amount of young talent the Maple Leafs have been acquiring over the last few years. Kasperi Kapanen came up and was playing well with the big club and Soshnikov just couldn’t seem to stick long-term on the roster despite having success at the AHL level.
Soshnikov still has the potential to be a solid NHL player with his terrific skating ability and deceptive wrist shot but it won’t be happening in Toronto.
February 20th, 2018
|TORONTO GETS:||SAN JOSE GETS:|
|2020 7th Round Pick||Eric Fehr|
Not the most noteworthy of deals but the Leafs weren’t very active either. Eric Fehr was originally a salary dump when the Leafs first acquired him and he was able make a few appearances in a fourth line role and the main reason for this move was cap flexibility prior to the deadline.
February 25th, 2018
|TORONTO GETS:||MONTREAL GETS:|
|Tomas Plekanec||Kerby Rychel|
|Kyle Baun||Rinat Valiev|
It took until the eve of the trade deadline for the Maple Leafs to make their first “big” move in acquiring Tomas Plekanec from the division rival Montreal Canadiens. This is a move that may have left some Leaf fans scratching their heads due to the age old rivalry between the clubs, in fact this is the first time the two teams have done a trade like this in almost a decade.
There is no doubt to the valuable defensive play Plekanec will give you but it is also worth noting the drop-off in his offensive game over the last couple of seasons but in the end it will be on the defensive side of the puck where he produces the most value for the Leafs.
A great side note of this trade comes from that of Kyle Baun, who now plays for the same franchise as his Grandfather, Bob Baun who scored the game winning goal in the 1964 Stanley Cup Final for the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Foreshadowing anyone? Probably not but it’s fun to make those connections)
The Maple Leafs weren’t very busy on deadline day and honestly, they didn’t even need to be.
This is a team brimming with young talent and while there were a lot of options out there, they would have come at a steep price and the Maple Leafs did the right thing in not making any rash decisions that could have mortgaged their future.
Looking into the post-deadline portion of the season, this team will be just fine with the roster the way it is and just like they did last season, you can expect a strong push from the Leafs as them and Boston battle it out for positioning in the Atlantic Division.