The Maple Leafs have cleared some cap space with a number of players set to return from IR shortly (Smith, Clarkson, Bolland).
Oilers acquire Mark Fraser from Leafs for Cam Abner and Hartikainen.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) January 31, 2014
always impressed with Hartikainen .. projects to a good lower roster player if he can be brought back to N America.
— Gus Katsaros (@KatsHockey) January 31, 2014
Overall a very good little move by Leafs, especially if Hartikainen ever returns to North America. Fraser would have cost cap space in AHL.
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) January 31, 2014
Most importantly, the Leafs have added wiggle room. Fraser would’ve been costing the Leafs $350,000 on the cap if he was demoted to the Marlies, so to flip him for an asset while moving off his cap hit for the rest of the season is nothing but a good thing.
#MapleLeafs went from around $370K in cap space to $1.65M with today’s trade — enough to get Bolland off LTIR with a few demotions.
— CapGeek (@capgeek) January 31, 2014
The Leafs will still have some tough decisions to make when it comes to who to demote (and/or waive) among a group of bottom six forward options including Frazer McLaren, Troy Bodie, Carter Ashton, Colton Orr, Peter Holland and Trevor Smith. At least two must be demoted (involving waivers in some cases) to stay compliant with the cap and roster limits.
Some notes from the Edmonton Journal on Teemu Hartikainen.
I think the biggest thing with Harty is you really need to push him. Before this series started I kind of got in his ear and said ‘Look, you have got a whole other gear to give me,’ and he goes, ‘Yeah, I know.’ I said, ‘Start bringing it, you’re not at the level that satisfies me right now because I know there’s more to give.’ I think it’s just constant reminders with him. I think the big part of his game is how physical he is, and when I saw him play up in Edmonton he was very inconsistent with it. He has to be like that every shift he plays up there, and play hard like that for 60 minutes. If he figures that out, the rest of the game will come into play. He definitely is comfortable at this level. He’s a lot stronger than a lot of players here in the AHL, so he’s able to have his way down low. Up in the NHL, it’s a bit different; guys are a bit stronger, so he’s not able to rag the puck as well. He’s got to figure it out, he’s still a young guy and hopefully he does. I see him knocking on the door right now of being a regular up there, but he has to take that next step.
He has no motivation to play in the AHL, it seems, and is unlikely to leave a KHL job to do so. However, there is the possibility of having Hartikainen over to camp next fall, and loaning him back to the KHL if he doesn’t make the Leafs.
Nice to see good humans like Mark Fraser get a crack at a roster spot, but this is a spare parts trade geared mostly toward cap space. Nothing to see here…