Neither buyers or sellers, with limited cap space, some expiring contracts they’re playing wait and see on and a market that favoured rental buys, it’s of little shock there was zero trade activity by the Toronto Maple Leafs today. Three of the Leafs‘ Atlantic Division opponents (Montreal, Ottawa, Detroit), meanwhile, made additions to their lineup this afternoon.
The Leafs were known to be looking for a hockey trade, with salary in-salary out, in what was primarily a rental market. Said Nonis: “We tried to make hockey deals to improve our team long term. In the end, [with what was available] we would’ve been making a trade, a splash, but we wouldn’t be getting better.”
Marcel Goc was mentioned earlier today as a possible target as a depth center who has done well under tough assignments, can play big PK minutes and chip in some offense at 5v5. He went to Pittsburgh for a 3rd round and 5th round pick. The one issue with adding someone like Goc is that he would likely be a rental and it may have resulted in Peter Holland getting cast aside for the remainder of the year. In the end, the Leafs held onto all picks and didn’t add anything at either defence or center ice, which Dave Nonis apparently kicked the tires on. If the Leafs were to match that Pittsburgh offer, it would have left them without a 2nd or 3rd round pick for the 2014 draft.
The Rangers will be sporting new addition Martin St. Louis in the lineup tonight while the additions to the Maple Leaf lineup will be Carter Ashton and Peter Holland, recalled this morning. The Leafs could stand to improve just by making those easy additions to their bottom six, leaving it be and seeing how it goes. Dave Bolland remains the wildcard; Dave Nonis still seemed reasonably optimistic today that Bolland just needs a little more time (as opposed to some major setback, thus the visit to the specialist, although it remains to be seen).
None of the defencemen that moved today or yesterday struck me as meaningful difference makers on a struggling Leafs defence, although at the price of a 4th-round pick I might have tried rolling the dice on the injured, right-handed shutdown veteran Stephane Robidas (when he’ll be back, and how effective he’ll be once he is, are unknowns). Pressing to manufacture a deal at the deadline is recipe for a terrible trade. The Leafs got no better, but they also avoided forced moves and likely mistakes. Dave Nonis’ reputation as a patient man, for better or worse, and not a big “deadline guy” will remain in tact after today.
Two teams in the Atlantic Division were more aggressive in their desire to get better, with Montreal and Ottawa adding Thomas Vanek and Ales Hemsky respectively. Tonight’s opponent and another team nearby in the Eastern Conference standings, the Rangers, added Martin St. Louis. Atlantic Division foe Tampa Bay downgraded in the now with Callahan coming back for St. Louis, but will get Steven Stamkos back tomorrow night. The Leafs weren’t exactly in the market for a scoring winger, of which there were plenty available this Deadline. Their needs were at center and defence and there wasn’t much available on those fronts. Detroit added center David Legwand just as the Deadline passed today, but his cap hit and general fit in the lineup made it a mismatch. Detroit are also without Datsyuk and Zetterberg, so it’s not like Legwand makes up for that. The Leafs were neither buyers or sellers and weren’t in a position to add a rental for futures while taking on a significant cap hit; that prevented them from getting involved today.
“The team we went into the Deadline Day with is the team we’ll go down the stretch with.”
– Dave Nonis
Let’s see what they’ve got.
Full presser here.