SAN JOSE, CA - FEBRUARY 28: Mikkel Boedker #89 of the San Jose Sharks skates against Josh Leivo #32 and Brian Boyle #24 of the Toronto Maple Leafs at SAP Center at San Jose on February 28, 2017 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Don Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

Mixed feelings on the Eric Fehr acquisition, Lamoriello on supporting the young core, Jay and Dan’s return to TSN, and more in the links.


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Lou Lamoriello: “We have to find out who is ready for this” (MLHS)
Lamoriello: “We’re not going to get off track on what we’ve set out to do and that is to establish a franchise that has an ability to sustain a competitiveness over a period of time. We did not want to make any transactions that would get in the way of the development of our players. The players that we added are role players that will be in a fourth-line situation that could move up if necessary, but they will not be taking away from anything with the development and the progress of the future.”

Leafs acquire Eric Fehr, Steven Oleksy and 4th rounder for Frank Corrado (MLHS)
The Leafs have essentially traded $2 million in cap space (down to $1.05 million if Fehr is with the Marlies) in order to acquire an expansion draft-eligible player as well as a fourth-round draft selection in 2017, which has around a 14% chance of turning into a 100+ game NHL player.

No surprise that Leafs didn’t make major or risky deadline move (Sportsnet)
The Leafs were, to some degree, taken to school by the Sharks, and nothing that could have been acquired over the past few weeks would have substantially altered that reality. Instead, by adding Boyle and Fehr, Lamoriello gave his young team a little shot in the arm without deviating from the plan. This summer, the Leafs will add another first round pick, clear upwards of $16 million from their cap and look to make additions that will fit the timeline of the next three to five years when the club may be in a position to challenge.

Mirtle: Trying to make sense of the Leafs’ odd trade deadline day (The Athletic)
All that money and all that flexibility can disappear quickly, as Toronto tries to improve. And the Leafs young players are going to have big bonuses again next season, likely in the $5-million range. And the year after. And they’re still dealing with huge LTIR contracts on the books like Nathan Horton (until 2020). The cap crunch is going to be real, at some point. It seems strange to add to it by bringing in Fehr. It seems strange to hurt your ability to do something really meaningful in the coming seasons.

Jay and Dan: Canadian duo returning to TSN (The Athletic)
Lives, then, were spared with the on-air announcement Wednesday — featuring Duthie, the TSN host — that Onrait and O’Toole were rejoining the network after leaving FOX Sports 1. The new show will launch in September, airing at midnight and running on a morning loop through the week. It will not replace SportsCentre, with the two shows instead being spread across the network’s five channels. Onrait and O’Toole will have a new set, with a new studio, but promise the familiar approach that made them popular as SportsCentre hosts.

Leafs add more playoff experience at deadline (TSN.ca)
Fehr, 31, has one year left on a $2 million contract, and had been placed on waivers by the Penguins on Tuesday. Having already played more than 40 games this season, Fehr will be eligible to be exposed in this summer’s expansion draft. Oleksy, also 31, has spent most of the last three seasons with the American Hockey League affiliates of the Washington Capitals and Penguins. His one-year, $575,000 contract expires at the end of the season. Toronto announced he will be immediately loaned to the Marlies.

It’s so close between Laine and Matthews among rookies (Toronto Star)
Matthews had eight goals and eight assists in 14 games to lead all rookies in scoring in February. He took over the Leafs scoring lead from an injured (fellow rookie) Mitch Marner and seems ready to obliterate Wendel Clark’s team rookie scoring record (34 goals). Head-to-head, Matthews outduelled Patrik Laine with three assists –including on the game-winner — to Laine’s two-goal performance.

Leafs sends message of confidence with Brian Boyle acquisition (National Post)
“It’s a big move,” defenceman Morgan Rielly said. “I think the guys are very happy to get a veteran presence like that. It really makes a good message to our players that we’re going to move forward and try to keep pushing.” Said Nazem Kadri: “We want to push. That has been the message from Day 1, so really that aspect of it has not changed. But to be able to not be sellers and add a couple of key pieces to our lineup in order to give ourselves a better chance is certainly exciting.”

Leafs opt for cheap experience over costly centrepieces at TD (National Post)
More depth at forward came when Eric Fehr was acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins — again, at a small cost, as defenceman Frank Corrado was finally unshackled from a bizarre and unfair tenure with the Leafs organization. Fehr, under contract through 2017-18, won the Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh last spring; not only should the 31-year-old’s experience help, he will be among the options for Lamoriello to expose in the expansion draft later this year.

Maple Leafs forward Brian Boyle hopes for havoc (Toronto Sun)
Coach Mike Babcock’s view of Boyle’s first game as a Leaf? “I thought (he was) fine,” Babcock said. “He travelled all the way across the country and played. What he is going to do is help us, a veteran guy on the bench, and that’s just good for the coach. I heard him say one time: ‘Just settle down,’ (to others on the bench) and even that, to me, is a positive thing. He is going to be an important guy for us.”