The Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired Washington’s second round pick in 2016, Connor Carrick and Brooks Laich in exchange for Daniel Winnik and Anaheim’s fifth round pick in 2016.
Gone: Daniel Winnik
Daniel Winnik’s production took a step back this year (14 pts in 56 games versus 25 in 58 last year). More than anything, he just didn’t seem to have the impact night in, night out like he did in 2014-15 when he featured more prominently, often in the Leafs‘ top six.
There was talk about an injury earlier in the season, while some have suggested the extra year of contract security took an edge off his game; whatever the reason, to the eye he hasn’t been the veteran leader some were hoping for on the ice this season and wasn’t as effective at driving play from a possession standpoint.
There are a few underlying factors that could explain the difference in the two Winniks, however. Last season Kadri was Winnik’s most frequent linemate at 5v5 as Winnik enjoyed 410 minutes of shared ice time with the Leafs‘ most skilled center. He’s played just 35 minutes with Kadri this season. This year, Winnik was mostly centered by Nick Spaling and received tougher assignments under Babcock:
In any event, the Leafs have now traded Winnik, acquired out of the free agency pool two summers in a row, at consecutive trade deadlines for a yield of two second round picks (both in 2016, one from Pittsburgh and one from Washington) and a fourth round pick last draft (traded for Martin Marincin). Pretty amazing, really.
Needless to say, this is more crafty business by Lou Lamoriello, taking back salary to add a second round pick and a prospect with some upside rather than simply flipping Winnik for a low pick.
Acquired: Brooks Laich
Brooks Laich is signed for one more year at a $4.5 million cap hit, which adds a fourth “salary dump” contract for the 2016-17 season alongside Jared Cowen, Colin Greening and Milan Michalek (total of $10.65 million with $950,000 of Cowen’s contract currently buried).
The 32-year-old has just seven points in 61 games this year, easily a career worst, and his production has steeply declined in recent years after a run of 40-59 point seasons between 2008 and 2012. The Capitals recently passed Laich through waivers.
Laich has played just 10:32 per game this season, 12th among Capitals forwards, and is shooting 1.5% against a career norm of 9.3%.
This was a contract that didn’t make a tonne of sense dating back to the time it was signed, but Laich had some productive seasons on good Capitals teams and was well regarded by the Caps management and fanbase alike. He may no longer be a productive middle-six forward, but Mike Babcock will be praising Laich’s character and professionalism before long.
Laich has been a positive possession player relative to his teammates this season and has been able to limit shot attempts against, suggesting he’s still defensively responsible enough not to hurt his team even if the offense has been nonexistent.
It’s too early to say, but Laich, if he remains a Leaf, could become a reclamation project for Babcock next year in hopes of getting him shaped up and traded next deadline..
Acquired: Connor Carrick
Connor Carrick, a former fifth round pick in 2012, has been a productive American Hockey League defenceman with a 42-point season last year and 25 points in 46 games this season to lead the Hershey Bears in scoring among blueliners. He’s featured in the last two AHL All Star Games.
Turning 22 in a month and a half, Carrick could have some developmental potential as a second or third pair right-side defenceman who can play powerplay minutes. A mobile puckmover, Carrick is the tenth-ranked rearguard in the AHL in points per game among players to have played 10 games or more.
He’s a little undersized at 5’10, but based on his penalty minutes column (see below) he doesn’t back down from confrontation.
Carrick is a restricted free agent at the end of the season, so you wonder if the Leafs take a look at him at the NHL level before the season is through. He has 37 games of NHL experience, mostly from back in 2013-14, when he posted six points in 34 games while averaging about 16 minutes a night almost exclusively at even strength.
courtesy of The Forecaster:
Owns tremendous puck-moving ability and overall mobility from the back end. Also boasts plenty of offensive upside and the ability to eventually run a power play at the NHL level.
Needs to get physically stronger in order to withstand the rigors of the National Hockey League game. Must also learn to limit his mistakes, with and without the puck, to maximize potential.
Mobile puck-moving defenseman with a little upside.
|2010-11||U.S. National Development Team||USHL||36||1||6||7||42||2|
|2011-12||U.S. National Development Team||USHL||21||1||4||5||30||1|
Acquired: WSH 2016 2nd round draft pick
The inclusion of the fifth round pick from the Korbinian Holzer trade last deadline shows how no trade is insignificant when it comes to accumulating assets, whether they’re used to draft players or as trade chips down the road. The Leafs have now upgraded one of two fifth round picks in 2016 to an additional second rounder:
Leafs have 12 2016 draft picks
1st (PIT) *cond
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) February 29, 2016
*The Leafs’ own third will be going to Detroit, in all likelihood, as compensation for the Mike Babcock hire.
Maple Leafs have 28 draft picks over the next 3 seasons.
— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) February 29, 2016
Time and again this management group has taken full advantage of the organization’s financial resources to stock the cupboard with more draft picks. This gives the Leafs a fourth top 60 pick in 2016 and eight selections in the first four rounds. That’s big in a year when Mark Hunter and Kyle Dubas will again have in-depth knowledge of the draft class dating back to the bantam years when it comes to OHL prospects.
Bring on deadline day.