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Aggressive Armchair General Management: An Insane Leafs Trade Deadline

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Let’s get wild!

2017 NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7 Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

As we enter the final month before the NHL trade deadline (Monday, February 26th), we know that teams will be in tense discussions over which players to move, not move, shell out for, or pass on. Ultimately a few players will change hands, but many teams, possibly including the Leafs will make small or no deals, not wanting to get caught up in deadline fever and overpaying for players.

But fuck that. Let’s imagine we just decide to restructure the team for the sake of restructuring the team, and let’s say we set the Trade Engine to Easy. We’re here to have a good time.

On Monday, February 26th, Lou Lamoriello wakes up, smiles in the mirror, pours himself a double of bourbon, and starts making trades.

The Matt Martin Trade

To ANA: Matt Martin

To Tor: 4th

It’s nothing personal, I’m just clearing cap space and a roster spot for the other stuff I’m doing. Sorry Matt :( Er, actually, I should say that the way Lou would say it.

LAMORIELLO: Sorry Matt.

—-

The Radko Gudas Trade

To PHI: RW Kasperi Kapanen + 2nd

To TOR: RD Radko Gudas

Radko Gudas, if you’re not aware, is a viciously effective two-way defenceman for the Philadelphia Flyers. He shoots right. He puts up stellar shot numbers. He takes too many penalties, though he’s cooled that a bit lately. When he’s not the guy in the box, he also kills penalties. Sometimes he throws hits that injure people. That’s not great! But the rest of him is pretty good. He’s 27, and he’s signed for this season and two after it at $3.35M AAV.

The Flyers have a whack of defence prospects, to the point where they haven’t been able to make room for all of them—Travis Sanheim is languishing in Lehigh Valley. We can help clear that logjam, and we can help the Flyers add some forward talent. Giving up Kasperi Kapanen isn’t much fun, but you have to give to get a capable second-pairing defenceman, and dealing out from the wing to do so is about the best the Leafs can hope for. As per HF Boards tradition, I have included a 2nd to make it fair, because #science.

The Jean-Gabriel Pageau Trade

To OTT: RD Connor Carrick + W Nikita Soshnikov

To TOR: C Jean-Gabriel Pageau

Jean-Gabriel Pageau is rumoured to be on the way out of Ottawa as they seek to rebuild, or retool, or re-stop-being-terrible. He’s a bottom-six C with a bit of offensive punch to him, good for 30+ points a year and 10+ goals. He’s 25, and under contract for two more years at $3.1M.

Pageau’s numbers aren’t a ton to write home about, but partly that’s because he plays for the Senators, who are ass-butt, and he plays harder competition than either Derrick Brassard or Matt Duchene. A further effect of playing shutdown minutes for the Sens is that the defencemen he most frequently plays with are Cody Ceci and Dion Phaneuf. That’s not great! Away from Phaneuf, his numbers jump considerably.

The utility of Pageau is that he helps both immediately and in the future as a bottom six C, and he’s affordable. This season we would be getting him as a 4C behind Tyler Bozak; he’s a luxury 4C and a slightly pricey one, but that’s okay, it’s for a third of the season. Next season, he jumps to 3C pending a possible transition of William Nylander into that job. If Nylander does it, he eventually bumps Pageau back down to 4C by the end of Pageau’s contract. If Nylander is destined to be a 1RW instead, neat, Pageau can shoulder some defensive responsibility and centre a viable third line.

Connor Carrick, while a RD, has never quite gotten the full trust of Mike Babcock; when you’re getting bumped by Roman Polak, that is not a good sign any way you slice it. Despite that, he’s had decent results and might well flourish, given the chance. The Sens could desperately use some help on defence, especially given their bizarre and damaging overreliance on Cody Ceci to play defence. Nikita Soshnikov, while he might be the only Russian in the Sens organization, gives the Sens a bit of youth and might help pep up that gruesome bottom six. At 23 and 24, both are potentially young enough to persist into the next stage of whatever Ottawa ends up being. Conceivably the Sens could alter the ask to pursue players like Jeremy Bracco, but I’ve elected to go for guys who are NHL-ready on the assumption Ottawa is going to try to be functional next year.

The Michael Grabner Trade

To NYR: W Josh Leivo + 3rd

To TOR: W Michael Grabner

Oh you best believe I’m bringing back Grab Bag. He and Zach Hyman can lead the league in shorthanded breakaways. They will score on 4% of them.

More seriously, Grabner is a good penalty killer who can produce a reasonable amount of offence. I always thought he was underrated in the year that we had him, and I would have liked to get him back. This season he’s putting up one of those gunner statlines (21 goals, 5 assists at time of writing), but he’s expiring and the Rangers have apparently accepted that they aren’t really very good right now. For that, I’m offering them the chance to enjoy wonderful young man and P/60 superstar Josh Leivo, plus a third, and because this is my scenario, they’ll take that AND THEY’LL LIKE IT.

—-

[Kyle Dubas enters]

DUBAS: Uh, Lou, are you sure about all this?

LAMORIELLO: (paternally) Kyle. Kyle, Kyle, Kyle. You’re a very bright young man. Those glasses make you look smart. The only thing you lack (swig of bourbon) IS THE RELENTLESS DRIVE TO CRUSH OUR OPPONENTS INTO DUST.

DUBAS:

LAMORIELLO: Anything else, Kyle?

DUBAS: No, Mr. Lamoriello.

LAMORIELLO: Good. Keep an eye on the Marlies.

[Dubas exits]

—-

The Leo Komarov Trade

To DAL: F Leo Komarov + RW Jeremy Bracco

To TOR: RD Julius Honka

You know who’d really love Leo Komarov? Ken Hitchcock. Leo is physical, defensively sound, good in the room, multilingual, good at the piano, you name it. He buffs up Dallas’ fourth line, and Dallas is primed for the playoffs this year. Jeremy Bracco is an intriguing young RW prospect with obvious talent, and he would give the Stars a nice asset for the future even should they lose Mr. Komarov.

And what do they give up for this bounty? Why, just a former first-round pick RHD who they don’t even seem to want to play. Honka has struggled to crack the Stars’ lineup and was recently demoted to the AHL again.

Now, sure, the nerdier segment of Stars fans would object loudly to giving up a smooth-skating, puck-moving defenceman with superb CF% in small samples and obvious ability, but they aren’t in charge. I am! We get Honka.

—-

[Mike Babcock enters]

BABCOCK: Lou, what’re you doing? Had a good pro there and you let him go for some—what, skating defenceman?

LAMORIELLO: I know, Mike. We’ve had to make some tough trades this morning. And it’s only 11:30 AM.

BABCOCK: Well, I’ll work with this team. At least we—

LAMORIELLO: I didn’t say I was done yet.

BABCOCK: What do you m—

The Roman Polak Trade

To PIT: RD Roman Polak

To TOR: 7th-round pick

BABCOCK: What do you mean you traded Polak?

LAMORIELLO: Zaitsev’s back, we have a bunch of defencemen, he’s surplus to requirements.

BABCOCK: [face like old oak tree]

The Max Pacioretty Trade

To MTL: Andreas Borgman + Adam Brooks + 1st

To TOR: Max Pacioretty

This is what I once called a loot bag trade, but what the hell, in our scenario Marc Bergevin is either drunk or overly willing to trade star players at a loss. Decide for yourself which!

Not for nothing, but the Habs do get a rather nice young LD, a centre prospect, and a first-round pick. In exchange they give up an elite scoring winger, but they’ve oddly been contemplating that for some reason. Bergevin allegedly wants a young, high-end centre, which is about as likely as this trade is. No, definitely, Marc, other teams definitely love to lose trades as much as you do.

The Leafs New Lines

James van Riemsdyk - Auston Matthews - William Nylander

Patrick Marleau - Nazem Kadri - Mitch Marner

Max Pacioretty - Tyler Bozak - Connor Brown

Michael Grabner - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Zach Hyman

-

Morgan Rielly - Ron Hainsey

Jake Gardiner - Radko Gudas

Travis Dermott - Nikita Zaitsev

Julius Honka

-

Frederik Andersen

Curtis McElhinney

LAMORIELLO: [dials phone]

YZERMAN: Yes?

LAMORIELLO: I’m coming for you, Steve. [hangs up]

Poll

How disappointed will you be when the only trade the Leafs actually make is for Erik Gudbranson?

This poll is closed

  • 48%
    A lot
    (931 votes)
  • 32%
    A little
    (614 votes)
  • 18%
    Yes
    (359 votes)
1904 votes total Vote Now