Maple Leafs Trade Carl Gunnarsson, 4th round pick for Roman Polak

892
Roman Polak
at Staples Center on December 2, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.

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.

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.

Roman Polak Scouting Reports

Forecaster:
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.

McKeen’s:
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 StatsScoring StatsScoring Stats   Ice Time
SeasonGPGAPTS+/-PIMS%ATOI
2006-0719000-360.013:38
2007-086011100.011:32
2008-096911415-15451.421:32
2009-1078417217595.519:59
2010-11553912-4335.619:57
2011-1277011116570.018:52
2012-1348156-2482.618:25
2013-147249133714.817:20
Career424136679-73193.118:59
Roman Polak Statistics
  • TheCanucksnaphook

    Stupid Mckeens….what do they know about his skating 😉

  • happy_gilmour

    TheCanucksnaphook they ain’t got nothing on Barb 😉  hope this guy makes playing against Toronto tougher a bit… maybe he and Gleason (if he is more like the first month Gleason) can start bringing some black and blue in front of the net and punish mouthy smurfs…

  • Cameron19

    happy_gilmour TheCanucksnaphook I feel like people are watching 20 year old games when I read comments like this. Players get penalties for giving out “black and blues” in front of the net now. The only way we get tougher to play against is if Carlyle employs a system that asks our forwards to help with the breakout and win board battles – and then they actually execute. Polak will help, but without the other piece, he will be another failed defensive D experiment. The problem has always been the forwards.

  • Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs

    Noooooooooooo he was a Thommie Bergman signing.
    ha ha ha ha ha had to pay to take him off our hands.
    Lets hope he was right about Nylander ha ha ha I guess NOT

  • Zep2

    If nothing else, PH9/Gunner pairing is no longer possible.

  • Cameron19

    Wow. We retained salary on Gunnarsson, too.

  • happy_gilmour

    Cameron19 happy_gilmour TheCanucksnaphook Perhaps I am stuck in the mode of 20 years ago, but you can dish out the black and blue without getting penalties if you build up a core and learn better positioning… talk to rugby players about how much bruising happens in scrums if you don’t know how to do it properly

  • Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs

    Cameron19 
    Oh sh!t really, omg ha ha ha ha

  • Cameron19

    Gilbey93 Cameron19 happy_gilmour TheCanucksnaphook That will be an absolute nightmare if that happens.

  • PepTalk

    Cameron19 how much?

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Not much to like about this
    Probably someone Carlyle will overplay and not an upgrade

  • Cameron19

    Gilbey93 Cameron19 200K

  • Daniel.

    We could/’ve used Gunnarson in a package and got much more.  We lost this trade so badly.

  • Cameron19

    Nonis was schooled in that trade, lol. I wonder who Shanahan replaces him with next year when he cleans house?

  • Bruce Gamble

    http://www.nhl.com/ice/draftprospectdetail.htm?cspid=54884
    Here’s the stats on Leafs 4th round pick, John Piccinich

  • Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs

    DanielLam1 
    Not at all Gunnarsson was a complete liability. Ive been saying for ages that this boys is crap and needs to be shown the door. To get 200K in relief (would have been 400 but it seems we split the difference) and get a player, anyone – we won the lottery – good ridance. Has he got a lift to the airport

  • wiski

    Randy gonna ride him like a rented mule, and too bad for gunnar he welcomed he swedish buddy just a few short hours ago

  • Bruce Gamble

    https://twitter.com/APetrielli https://twitter.com/APetrielli/status/482912847236956160   More
    How is it the Leafs trade the better player, retain salary, and throw in a pick?https://twitter.com/# https://twitter.com/# https://twitter.com/#

  • Cameron19

    It really puts a damper on the Nylander pick – which had me excited – when I see how stupid our management is otherwise. Valiev seems like an awful waste of a pick, and this trade is quite bad. Makes you question the wisdom of the decisions you liked.

  • Komas Taberle

    Gilbey93
    I think Gunners hip will never be the same, significant injury.

  • Jeff_Mintz

    For a long time i have been reading all these comments about nonis vs burke and who is better but DAMIT NONIS! I think he just solved the argument for you guys.  I really hope one of the marlies is coming up to fill that open spot on the roster or else there just wont be any silver lining to this trade.

  • wiski

    Cameron19 When shanny stayed at the table last night, the first thought in my head was he didn’t want any part of this shit.

  • Zep2

    Polak played behind 3 Olympians. He was basically tied with Barrett Jackman for ice time .

    Maybe we should see what he looks in B&W before we universally condemning him and the trade

  • Komas Taberle

    Jeff_Mintz
    Granberg

  • Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs

    Cameron19 
    Imagine the most sarcastic pretend cry in the world – thats me doing doing that to your first sentance. Sorry fella but unless you pick the top 5 swedes at any one given time – the rest are just hangers on. Beyond Backstrom, Zetterberg, Landeskoog, Karlsson Lundqvist the quality falls away at break neck speed.
    This makes up for our terrible 1st round – Im getting better after being miserable all day.

  • Cameron19

    My God the Leafs are just a constant embarrassment. Fuck.

  • Zep2

    Cameron19 Tell us how you really feel Cameron

  • Irishfanman

    I agree look at the depth ahead of Polak in St Lou…Gunner wasn’t getting it done here come crunch time. Maybe not his fault being used as a #2 vs a 4/5 guy that he is, but time to move him out and try something new. Polak seems to be defensively steady from the back end with more size and bite than Gunner but less offence…but we will gets lots of points from the back end from Reilly and Gards and Phaneuf…

  • Komas Taberle

    Zep2
    Exactly, everyone thinks they are the GM.
    I like the move, Polak is probably one of the strongest board players in the league, clears the net, doesn’t screen his goalie and is a very good skater. He does not excel at a first pass but then neither does Gunner.
    Give him a chance and don’t forget Gunners hip, it is chronic.

  • Cameron19

    Gilbey93 Zep2 Massive.

  • Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs

    Gilbey93 
    Of course I am thats why Kostka took time off him all of the year before. Because he was so good.
    I have never seen a player start a game so slowly. After skating around for a bit thinking hes Dick Van Dyke whistling up at the sky and dreaming of Mary Poppins and the ambience, he would eventually realise a game on. Only to find us a couple of goals down.
    Liability

  • Irishfanman

    Gilbey93 Irishfanman  apples and oranges…

  • Bruce Gamble

    1 question, how did Shanahan approve this Gunnarsson trade?

  • Cameron19

    Irishfanman Gilbey93 Not really. Gunnarsson plays against the best lines in the league. Polak the weakest players in the league.

  • Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs

    Bruce Gamble 
    UM because hes not the better player?!!!

  • Cameron19

    Komas Taberle Zep2 I like Polak, too, but that doesn’t change the fact that this was a massive overpayment.

  • Irishfanman

    Cameron19 Irishfanman Gilbey93  and who was Gunner paired with vs Polak…that plus minus stat doesn’t mean much to me

  • wiski

    Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs Gilbey93 I got a good chuckle out of that 😉

  • Jay_Berg

    can i just say that just because gunnerson plays top minutes against top competition it doesnt make him a top dman. Its not like he does it “Extremely well”. he’s playing out of position because of our lack of depth. 

    im not a fan of us retaining salary and i dont know why we had to give up a pick too but at the end of the day we need a guy like POlak on this team badly. Gunner has a terrible injury and is likely to get worse.

  • Irishfanman

    Gilbey93 Irishfanman Cameron19  obviously?

  • Jeff_Mintz

    Bruce Gamble I have a feeling that because Shanny came into the organization close to draft he is letting nonis carry out business as usual and next year ( hopefully)  he will be the guy making these decisions.

  • Irishfanman

    Gilbey93 Irishfanman Cameron19  lol…not gonna bite

  • Leafs_17

    so now Carl Gunnarson is top pair d-men now that he has been traded? i don’t get this fan base one bit

  • Mitch_S2

    Cameron19 They don’t like Gunnarson’s temperment, I honestly think thats the biggest factor here. They said they wanted personnel changes and an attitude adjustment, a trade like this isn’t a surprise.

  • Irishfanman

    Gilbey93 Irishfanman Cameron19  Full Definition of CONDESCENDING : showing or characterized by a patronizing or superior attitude toward others

  • wiski

    Gilbey93 Leafs_17 A stay at home righty, who knows how to actually knows how to play defence. I’ll wait to pass judgement.

  • Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs

    Bruce Gamble 
    Polak is a solid no nonsense 4,5,6 d-man. He will do very little wrong.
    Gunnarson is a slow tired looking liability who for years has had more ice time than he should get. He can handle skating that time but because of lack of skill and ability (reading the game) he shouldnt. Nonis speed tracked a youngster into teh NHL (Rielly) with the hope he will play (in the end couldnt handle it that soon) because he had no faith in Gunnarsson and the year before a relitively untried Kostka took minutes off of him.
    He really isnt that good. Just because hes a leaf doesnt mean hes a beast. If he was, we’d be in the playoffs.
    Im happy with teh deal. Sensible conservative and keeping the simple things simple and thats what you want at the back.

  • Leafs_17

    wiski Gilbey93 Leafs_17 as will I

  • Komas Taberle

    wiski Gilbey93 Leafs_17
    Exactly wiski! All these hockey Gurus will be applauding the move when they see him plaster Sens and Habs and Bruins to the wall.

  • wiski

    Komas Taberle wiski Gilbey93 Leafs_17 I wonder if this opens up an option to move franson?