NHL Trade Deadline Day: Is there anything doing in Leafland?

NHL Trade Deadline Day: Is there anything doing in Leafland?

We unwrapped a vanload of presents on Trade Deadline Eve. What’s left for Deadline Day? Perhaps the biggest moves of all, which are likely to be the deals that move Ryan Kesler and Martin St. Louis out of Vancouver and Tampa Bay respectively.

Half of the league’s teams completed a trade yesterday, with the Leafs in the inactive half, besides waiving Trevor Smith to open up some cap space. We’ll find out by noon if he’s clear to join the Marlies (he’s their Captain, technically) for the first time since October. He could also come right back up if nothing transpires before the Deadline and Carlyle still wants him in his lineup.

Any of the players the Leafs might consider selling are more valuable here than gone based on the going rates. Dustin Penner has 32 points in 49 games and was moved for a 4th round pick to Washington yesterday. Raymond has 36 in 63, and both are pending UFAs on cheap one-year contracts.

If the negotiations with Bolland are so cold it’s clear nothing is getting done, the Leafs could probably only expect a mid-round conditional pick dependent on how many games (or playoff games, or something) he plays as a rental; such was the nature of the Stephane Robidas deal to Anaheim yesterday.

There wasn’t much sense in dealing many of these players to begin with, but in Reimer’s case, for instance, there’s been goalies flying around the League the past few days and there are still a few available (Halak). It’s not a sellers’ market.

As for any “buy” options, there is not a whole lot of talk out there about the Leafs and potential targets. We did get the news last night that Dave Bolland is seeing a specialist today and will fly back to Toronto afterward. That doesn’t appear to be a good sign as far as his timeline for a return goes.

Peter Holland should be able fill the 3rd line center role while the Leafs await Bolland’s return, if it’s to ever come, but there might also be some consideration put into a depth center who can  help out on an ailing penalty kill.

As far as defensive help, the Leafs saw Stephane Robidas, Mike Weaver and Andrew MacDonald get traded for a collection of picks (Robidas for a cond. 4th, Weaver for a 5th, MacDonald for a 2nd and a 3rd) and opted not to get involved.

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Targets? Or Lack Thereof

Here’s a list Brian Lawton floated yesterday on Twitter:

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Nothing there makes much sense.

  • Andrew MacDonald: Traded to Philly since the tweet.
  • Tomas Kopecky: The 32-year-old winger makes no sense for the Leafs (or anyone) on a $3,000,000 AAV contract that still has one season left after this. He’s been out hurt with a concussion since late February. 6’3, 203 lb forward as 12 points in 49 games, averages 1:47 on the penalty kill (third among Panthers forwards). 
  • Jordan Leopold: A tad rich for the Leafs’ cap space at $2.25 mill and is signed through 2014-15, which doesn’t make him a rental (which is all the Leafs would want of him, if interested at all). The 33-year-old defenceman averages 15 minutes a night on a deep St. Louis defence core. +2  with six points over 24 games. Broke his hand early in the New Year and missed 24 games, currently day-to-day with an ankle injury. Has a modified No-Trade Clause.
  • Jordan Nolan: Not sure why the Kings would deal him as he’s been a reliable homegrown fourth liner for them and was a part of their Cup run. Skates around 9 minutes a night. Signed in the summer for 700,00k per year through next season.  Doesn’t kill penalties.

 

I’m not sure whether or not Marcel Goc is available in Florida. He’s taken on a significant role for the Panthers, playing 17 minutes a night (that’s pretty much tied for the team lead among the destitute Florida forward ranks, playing between Upshall and Fleischmann as their 2C at the moment) between 4v5 and 5v5, but his contract is expiring. His $1.7 million is something the Leafs could probably make work. He can hold his own at 5v5 and chip in some secondary scoring (has 11 goals and 23 points in 62 games) while playing over 2 minutes a night on the penalty kill, where the Leafs could certainly use assistance. Granted, the Florida penalty kill is the worst in the League, but their save percentage is bottom 3 at both 5v5 and 4v5. If Leafs management is worried that Bolland might not be seen from this season, he’s someone who could do a decent job stepping into the roles they were hoping Bolland would come back and fill.

Anthony wrote last week about his interest in Brian Boyle, who has the same contract ($1.7 million, expires July 1) as Goc. He plays around 13 minutes a night for the Rangers, including 2:05 on the penalty kill  (tops among NYR forwards), and can chip in a little at 5v5 as a 6-foot-6 body down low. The Rangers’ PK is a little more respectable than Florida’s at 11th in the League, but goaltending makes a world of difference. Would the Rangers move their top penalty killer if they feel they can’t get a contract signed? Seems unlikely as of now, with the Rangers in a playoff spot, and his name hasn’t come up much in the rumour mill.

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The Leafs, with Trevor Smith sent down and assuming they activate Bolland off LTIR eventually, have about $1.2 million in space to play with. If the news is really negative on Bolland, maybe it at least adds some cap flexibility. Most likely, though, the Leafs are going to be very quiet today (AB4).

Alec Brownscombe is the founder of MapleLeafsHotStove.com, where he has written daily about the Leafs since September of 2008. He was also the editor of the 2009-12 Maple Leafs Annuals. You can contact him at [email protected]