Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Kyle Dubas has acquired a former Sault Ste. Marie Greyhound.
The Maple Leafs have traded 6’9 Marlies centerman Curtis Douglas in exchange for 24-year-old right-handed defenseman Conor Timmins.
The Soo Greyhounds theme has become a bit of a running joke at this point and has led to some mixed results. To wit, the following players fit the bill:
- Michael Bunting
- Wayne Simmonds
- Joe Thornton
- Nick Ritchie
- Jake Muzzin
- Rasmus Sandin
- Matt Murray
- Jack Campbell
It’s a mixed bag so far. Michael Bunting has been a success. Jake Muzzin was very good — it’s probably a trade both teams would do again, although if you were asking right this second, it would obviously go against the Leafs.
The two veterans have been real blindspots. Nick Ritchie had to be sold off. Sandin is very much a work in progress, as is Matt Murray. Jack Campbell had some really good stretches with the Leafs, got hurt, and essentially flamed out.
Now, we can add Conor Timmins to the list.
The thought process is obvious. The Leafs have three regular defensemen out. Timmins was once highly touted — a major piece in a trade that netted Colorado Darcy Kuemper. He has some pedigree and is still just 24. It’s a bonus that he’s cheap and righthanded. Teams are not exactly open for business when it comes to moving defensemen. The current group, without Timmins, looks something like this:
Giordano – Liljegren
Sandin – Holl
Benn – Mete
Not great. Adding Timmins doesn’t exactly change that, but it does give them another option.
Timmins missed the entire 2018-19 season due to a concussion. The following season, he played 42 games. Last season, he played 43. All told, Timmins has played in 41 NHL games, recording eight assists. He has also played in 12 playoff games.
While he has flashed some potential at times, he simply hasn’t played. As a result, he hasn’t developed as expected. The Arizona Coyotes wanted him to play in the AHL to develop, but they would have lost him on waivers if they tried to get him down there. In terms of the bet by Dubas here, it’s easy to see the logic.
On the other side, Arizona is betting on a 6’9 center who had a reasonable rookie season in the AHL last year, although Douglas has struggled to produce so far this season. He is two years younger than Timmins, and they are betting on his development for an organization that will basically take prospects at any position at this point compared to a player that has missed so much critical development time and is now 24 years old.
It is natural to ask the question, “What if Timmins makes good on the promise?” but that story goes both ways. The Leafs traded a player who has been developing and was off to a slow start for a player who fits a more immediate position of need, but Timmins needs to not only get back on track but prove he can stay healthy.
Further reading: Conor Timmins 2017 draft profile