The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded defenceman Carl Gunnarsson and a 4th round selection (94th overall) in this year’s draft to the St. Louis Blues for defenceman Roman Polak.
Gunnarsson was almost always played in situations above his head under Randy Carlyle in Toronto while also struggling with a chronic hip injury he just had repaired this summer. It would’ve been preferred to move Gunnarsson to a lower pairing in order see how he does when he isn’t buried by the second lowest offensive zone starts behind only Dion Phaneuf among NHL defencemen and against some of the toughest competition.
While the right handedness is preferred and Polak brings more size and physical edge, we can question if this is really an upgrade at all let alone one worth spending a 4th round pick to make happen. It is a downgrade in terms of production; Gunnarsson has been a .28 point-per-game player throughout his career and Polak just a .18PPG.
Polak played around 17 minutes a night for the Blues, and was their worst D regular in terms of possession numbers with a -5.8% CorsiRel, starting around 46.2% of shifts in the offensive zone. His shifts weren’t particularly difficult in terms of quality of competition.
Leafs and Blues defencemen usage chart. Gunnarsson top left (toughest), Polak mid-bottom (fairly easy) pic.twitter.com/LZwvLKesY3
— Extra Skater (@ExtraSkater) June 28, 2014
Polak played with Jordan Leopold on the Blues’ bottom pair throughout the first round of the playoffs.
The 28-year-old Czech carries a cap hit of $2.75 million for the next two seasons. The Leafs will save about $200,000 on the cap on Gunnarsson’s $3.150M figure, which was a contract signed through to the end of 2015-16 as well, on account of retaining $200,000 to complete the deal.
Leafs retained $200,000 of cap hit in Polak-Gunnarsson deal
— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) June 28, 2014
Roman Polak Scouting Reports
Assets: Underrated, he plays a smooth, steady game from behind the blueline and usually limits his mistakes. Is big and strong enough (6-1, 225 pounds) to handle big opponents in front of the net.
Flaws: Doesn’t own great offensive ability. Can wear down with overuse. Has been prone to injury, as well. Could stand to be more physical, since he lacks consistency in that department.
Career Potential: Solid stay-at-home defenseman.
an aggressive defense-minded, right-shooting rearguard, who also possesses some decent skills… deceptively strong and agile on his skates, propelled by above-average footspeed… not a flashy puckhandler yet moves the puck reliably and stays within his limitations for the most part… solid defender… prepares and uses his body efficiently to block shooting lanes… stands up puck rushers 1-on-1 and will finish checks with authority
Roman Polak Statistics
|Scoring Stats||Scoring Stats||Scoring Stats||Ice Time|
Just doing some searching, and apparently Joni Pitkanen will likely never play again after this injury 2 seasons ago. Good thing the icing is done
Still finding it hard to care about this team right now, and I have little confidence in the GM, but I think the Leafs have to run there young D out in the AHL at least one more year unless they really dominate. We already have two young D in Rielly and Gardiner, so I think Percy, Granberg, Finn, MacWilliam, and Nilsson get another year in development.
The Leafs really need puck winners...if Kulemin goes and Komarov signs elsewhere...where are they coming from?
I think DAmigo deserves a full opportunity, not sure if Leivo is ready yet.
Swap Holland, Komarov, and Clarkson around if needed, and Granberg and Leivo are waiting to be called up
James Van Riemsdyk ($4.250m) / Paul Stastny ($7.000m) / Phil Kessel ($8.000m)
Jerry D'Amigo ($0.600m) / Tyler Bozak ($4.200m) / David Clarkson ($5.250m)
David Broll ($0.591m) / Peter Holland ($0.851m) / Carter Ashton ($0.600m)
Troy Bodie ($0.600m) /
Morgan Rielly ($0.894m) / Dion Phaneuf ($7.000m)
Jake Gardiner ($2.500m) / Roman Polak ($2.750m)
Tim Gleason ($4.000m) / Cody Franson ($3.250m)
Paul Ranger ($1.250m) /
Jonathan Bernier ($2.900m)
Al Montoya ($1.000m)
Mike Komisarek ($0.000m)
Mikhail Grabovski ($0.000m)
RETAINED SALARIES (0.91% of upper limit)
Carl Gunnarsson ($0.630m—20.00%)
CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
(estimations for 2014-15)
SALARY CAP: $69,000,000; CAP PAYROLL: $68,065,500; BONUSES: $850,000
CAP SPACE (22-man roster): $934,500
I think if cheap enough now with Polak im ok with Franson back. He will be a 4-5 again and not totally relied on so he should bounce back
Also most people are forgetting that Carlyle will be a new coach next year after the whole meetings and decisions he had with nonis and shanahan (or at least we were told). So this to me means Phaneuf might be back to playing the left side, where he should be, and Nonis is looking for another #2 to play the right side.
i would also like to say that i am kind of rethinking the leivo business. i have always thought its kinda silly to pencil him in after one season, and that he needs more time (and im probably changing my mind because its now been weeks since i saw him play), but considering what we have RIGHT NOW going into next year, if he earns a spot i wont be upset. he will have to earn it of course, like everyone else does, but considering our hopeful transfer to youth it wouldnt be a bad idea.
him and holland are EXACTLY what i like to see in prospects. big, good skaters, offensively talented but with good defensive awarness, board play, and the ability to throw a hit or two; basically the complete package. those kind of players have made up the majority of cup winning teams lately.
I am ok with this deal now. I love gunner, but the fact we changed up the blueline is a good enough reason to be happy. We also added another right handed guy and which gives the possibility to deal Franson and not have to really replace him immediately. Hopefully he works out well and Gards or rielly can take the #2 by the horns if we dont add again.
im really not that upset by the deal. i think we LOST the deal, but not by much. i think he could have gone elsewhere for something we may have needed, or been packaged, but i have zero clue. so for right now i really dont care about the deal. we are so starved for leafs news that a minor trade has set us all off. Polak is good on the PK, and thats nice. Gunner is injured, and that sucks. but mostly i just think there needs to be an overhaul of players, and i have said it many times. fresh starts for both sides...
what i AM upset about is Nonis saying this was his most important trade, and that we are fine on the defence now... because unless franson re-signs and his year was a complete abnormality, and he returns to what he was during the boston series, we are not doing great on the back end.
Based on the tweet by Mirtle this is probably our D core.
Gardiner - Phaneuf
Rielly - Polak
Ranger/Percy - Granberg
A few tweaks could change this team for better or worse, and y'know I would like to think last year was a humbling thing for the Leafs as a whole.......the brass were nieve as was RC
The change on D with Polak was a trade that seems to be a precursor to another deal.......I believe Gleason is getting bought out. Those 2 moves will be huge on the backend......and if Gleason doesn't get moved you have to think Franson is a goner because Gleason and Franson are both slow and we don't need either of them paired together or on the second pairing imo
In a few more days we'll know if Bolland is moving on......I'm thinking Vancouver shed all that salary to take a run at Bolland.
As for the puck winners, we'll see if anyone steps up or is brought in to address that this year........fingers crossed
@B_Leaf D'amigo looks like a sure bottom 6 guy. He was great on the pk when used and is fast, and hopefully scores a few more goals (like he did with the marlies). But ya, Komarov would be idiotic to not sign again for anything 2 mil or under. He also plays centre so really hes game for all bottom 9 spots if needed
@Jordan29 Probably either:
ES2: Gardiner/Rielly - Franson
ES3: Gleason/Ranger - Franson
Gleason is more defensive minded and not too slow so should do better at ES3 against lighter opposition. This is assuming Polak can do ES2. Polak seems to have good situational awareness and possess good foot sped to position himself in the right place. It's likely that Polak was facing the light opposition not because he can't handle it, the Blues just have that much depth at D.
@Jordan29 Don't you mean he should be back on the right side where he belongs?
@Jordan29 Right there with you... just wish that it wasnt Nonis most important move, and that he didnt say he thinks this will complete our defence... but shy of that im cool with it.
Gardiner and Rielly get more minutes/responsibilities.
Big Body that can skate
Anchor on the PK
Comes from one of the deepest D-Cores in the league
Possibly can trade Franson for something we need
Good partner for one of Rielly/Gardiner
We know what we had and some are unsure about what we got
Moved a dependable piece
@Dewy Keon Hogturd noon I do believe
@Burtonboy Just lol.
@drummond Aren't they're both right D?
@CanuckUKinToronto I think MacWilliam will be in the mix too. I think Percy will give them pause as he looks very close to ready to me. I think he could have made the team out of camp last year.
@ShiftyD must be pretty high on polak
@RandomScrub I can't believe people are mad that Gardiner and Rielly are going to play more minutes? Gunnar on the 6 spot is too much cap space. We just need to move out Gleason
@RandomScrub They are gonna smoke Brasil
@RandomScrub bye bye whiners! your player bit someone for the third time in his Career, face the the facts it wasn't an accident he did it with intent.
@dlb Mad Yes
@dlb Mad i think its nhl or junior for him
@Hmmm @Jordan29 I was thinking Gleason too because we will likely use him as he is still under contract and not bad, and he is similar to Fraser, who Franson had his best season with
“How far away he is depends on his strength. His intelligent enough, he skates well enough, he’s tall enough, but it’s more of the strength thing. How strong is he going to be in a year? We could qualify him after this year and he could go back as an overage. But when you go back as an overage as an import you’ve taken two spots; you’re taking an overage spot and a Euro card spot. A lot of times the junior teams don’t want to do that. In his case, we’d be hopeful he’d be able to play in the AHL at that point.”
Players who are not drafted from the CHL, like NCAA and European players, aren't held to these rules. Players who were drafted out of Europe and then play in the CHL later, can play in the minors under the age of 20. European players drafted out of the CHL are held to it. Nationality is not part of the equation -- it's where you were drafted from (which league developed you)