Just as the 2021 NHL Trade Deadline ended the Toronto Maple Leafs made a small deal. They sent 26 year old forward Alexander Barabanov to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for 27 year old centre Antti Suomela.
Barabanov came to the Maple Leafs as a free agent out of the KHL, who won multiple World Championship medals and Gagarin Cups and was considered to be a great pick up for which ever team was able to sign him.
Unfortunately, he never made an impact for the Maple Leafs or Marlies, and spent most of this season on the taxi squad rather than on the ice and his biggest highlight was almost scoring a goal.
Barabanov nearly got his first NHL goal pic.twitter.com/uEFE0ar4ud— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 11, 2021
He’ll go to San Jose, where he can hopefully make enough of an impact with the Sharks to sign up for another NHL season.
His final stats with the Maple Leafs and Marlies:
NHL: 13GP - 0G - 1A - 1Pt
AHL: 2GP - 2G - 3A - 5Pts
Coming to Toronto is a depth player who has split time between the Sharks and their AHL affiliate, the San Jose Barracuda over the past three seasons (including a 10 game loan to HIFK in Liiga this season).
Fear the Fin had a review of his 2019-20 season:
Full stats for Suomela:
What we’re getting back is a more well used depth forward from the Sharks, and he is a UFA at the end of this season.
It’s never too bad to have more forward depth, and this trade lets a player the Maple Leafs didn’t want to use have a better chance with a new team.