After signing Calle Rosen to a two-year contract extension earlier today, the Toronto Maple Leafs made another Marlies-related move on Monday evening, trading veteran winger Adam Cracknell to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for veteran defenseman Steve Oleksy.
Steve Oleksy, a 6’0, 190-pound right-shot defenseman, previously spent 20 regular-season games and 11 playoff appearances with the Marlies at the end of the 2016-17 season after arriving in the deadline trade that sent Oleksy, Eric Fehr and a fourth-round pick to the Leafs in exchange for defenseman Frank Corrado, who has since rejoined the Marlies as of this past offseason.
With Timothy Liljegren out injured with a high ankle sprain — and hopeful he’ll be able to return in time to join Team Sweden at the World Juniors — Justin Holl up with the big club, issues with Jordan Subban’s decision-making/defensive performance, and Corrado still getting up to speed on his way back from a significant knee injury, a reliable right-handed defenseman was a glaring need for the Marlies. They’ve moved out an asset from a position of strength on the wing in order to address that.
Over his career, the 32-year-old Oleksy has suited up 73 times in the NHL for Washington and Pittsburgh. He’s spent his AHL career with Lake Erie, Bridgeport, Hershey, Wilkes-Barre, Toronto, and San Diego, chipping in around 15-20 points and providing reliable, hard-nosed minutes on the right side of the blue line.
Adam Cracknell, signed on July 1 as a veteran addition in part to replace former Marlies captain Ben Smith, was off to a good start offensively — 10 points in 14 games — but this move is an attempt to balance out the roster. Scoring has not been an issue for the Marlies (90 goals for is tied for fourth in the AHL) but their defensive play certainly has been, as they’ve allowed 96 goals in 24 games (28th in the AHL).
In related news today, the Marlies also traded goaltender Jeff Glass to San Diego for future considerations. The Marlies had initially brought in the veteran netminder after the organization lost both Calvin Pickard and Curtis McElhinney on waivers following the final cuts in training camp, but Glass struggled in his eight starts with the Marlies (3-4-1, .849 save percentage). With the return of Kasimir Kaskisuo from injury and Eamon McAdam — acquired from the Islanders in the trade for Matt Martin over the summer — providing competent starts so far this season, Glass was the extra goalie of late for the Marlies.