Katya: My absolute first response, is wow, that was boring.
Second take: I would rather the Leafs had solved their centre depth problem not just kicked the problem down the road, but I’m prepared to enjoy Plekanec as soon as I get used to how the Anglo announcers say his name, since I used to always watch Habs games in French.
Longer view: It takes guts to do nothing. Dallas, interestingly, made no moves, and they’re in the playoffs but not really top of the pile either. It’s different for Pittsburgh who spent like drunken sailors on Brassard or even Tampa who made a good deal. McDonagh will look good on their roster. I never expected the Leafs to trade their UFAs, so they didn’t do nothing, they got three UFAs we are so familiar with, we feel contempt for them.
Minor quibble: I would also have liked some sort of AHL-level support more than Kyle Baun, who is likely going to be quite good.
Who won? Pittsburgh, Tampa, Chicago (they had nothing to trade and still made out like bandits), the Rangers, of course. But the grand champion was the Jets, who made the deal no one knew could be made. Look out for them in the playoffs.
Arvind: I go back and forth about whether it makes sense for the Leafs to punt on this season to some extent by trading JvR. On one hand, you could definitely have gotten a lot for him today, and it’s a year where you’re in a really rough bracket for the playoffs. You get the chance to reload and keep building for a year where things may look better for you. On the other, the Leafs are not hopeless underdogs against any team, and it sends a terrible message to players to sell in the circumstances the team finds itself in.
Further to that, you can never plan for the future circumstances to be better.... Maybe Boston goes away in a year or two, but they might be replaced by someone else. Maybe the Leafs get hit with an injury crisis like Tampa last year, and suddenly, contending is impossible for that season. There are no guarantees in hockey, and I think it makes sense that you owe your fanbase and players the opportunity to try your best whenever you have a reasonable shot. The Leafs have a reasonable shot.
So that covers the moves the Leafs didn’t make... I do like the move they did make. Kevin covered it very well, but Plekanec adds defensive steel, centre depth, and injury insurance without losing anything more valuable than a second round pick. Katya is correct that the Leafs need to address their organizational centre depth in the medium and long term, but that’s an offseason thing. The Leafs have forward depth that is only bested by Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, and Winnipeg. That’s a nice thing to have.
Overall, I’m happy with what we did. One thing that sometimes gets lost in the “ASSET MANAGEMENT IS KING, TRADE EVERY UFA OVER 28” paradigm is that winning playoff games is fun, even if you don’t make it all the way. It’s very possible we lose in the first round, but if we do, at least we’ll have given it our best shot and not admitted defeat before even stepping foot on the ice. And if we do win a series or two, that will be incredibly fun to be a part of, and I’ll be glad we did it. Flags fly forever, but they’re not the only thing that make us cheer for a team.
Brigstew: I’m happy with what the Leafs did. They helped out their center depth greatly for a run without giving up much. I’m especially happy they kept Kapanen and Dermott, who I think can be special. I would have liked if they could find a way to acquire a long-term defensive upgrade that is a right handed shot, but with a deal that makes sense. If they didn’t find one now, they might this off-season. I’m happy they kept JVR even with the prices for top wingers that other teams spent, I want this to be a good run for them and really push Boston and/or Tampa hard.
Kevin: The Leafs were never going to trade James van Riemdsyk. In an ideal world, the front office would have either extended him or traded him, but selling would be a horrible message to the players. They did not optimize their asset management, but this is the best deadline that we could have realistically expected. My biggest fear was giving up a first round pick for a rental, or adding a player who makes the team worse.
Plekanec provides the Leafs with plenty of depth at an important position, and he can matchup against tough competition if needed. Mike Babcock now carries plenty of options, and Toronto’s fourth line should quietly help to provide more secondary scoring. We can thank Roman Polak for this, as trading him to the Sharks in 2016 provided the Leafs with an extra second round pick to shop around.
The Bruins overpaid for Rick Nash, but the Lightning are a lot better. The Leafs will have a difficult path in the playoffs, but at least they still have their first round pick to shop around, in order to land a more controllable piece in the offseason.
Okay, your turn, who won and lost, what do you think of what the Leafs did? And how about their closest rivals?
How do you feel about the deadline moves this year?
This poll is closed
I wanted to get picks, this was bad.
McDonagh was there, the Leafs have to move on that.
I’m glad no one was traded away because I like this team.
It’s smart to wait for a right-handed defender.