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

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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?