The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded centre Nazem Kadri, defenseman Calle Rosen, and Columbus’ 2020 third-round pick, the one they got from Ottawa this morning, to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for Tyson Barrie, Alexander Kerfoot, and a 2020 sixth-round pick. In terms of cash, Colorado retains 50% of Barrie’s $5.5 million cap hit, which expires at the end of the season.

Long story short, the Maple Leafs downgrade their third-line centre in exchange for a massive upgrade to their defense.

Here are the elements of the deal:

Alexander Kerfoot

Kerfoot is a small 24-year-old centre who has put up 40 points in his first two NHL seasons. He has never had much to work with offensively so his counting stats aren’t great, but he’s a very strong play driver in a lesser role (played behind Nathan MacKinnon and Carl Soderberg) and is very strong defensively (although he doesn’t penalty kill).

Kerfoot is currently an RFA coming out of his two-year $925,000 ELC. Evolving Wild projects him to make in the range of $2.8 million and $3.3 million on a shorter term deal.

UPDATE: Kerfoot is going to file for arbitration, so his contract will be in the hands of a judge. Whatever he makes, it’s safe to say it’ll be a million dollars cheaper than Kadri.

I really like Kevin’s quick video breakdown on Twitter. He picked a Leafs game so we have a good base to compare with. I’m sure he’ll have a lot to say about Kerfoot in the coming days.

Oh, and one last courtesy thing.

Tyson Barrie

He’s a right-shooting defender, what else do you need to know? He’s 5’10” and 190 lbs, which is standard Leafs issue, and he’s under contract for just this season. Barrie is the big fish in this trade and shows that Kyle Dubas is ready to lean into his team’s “shoot first, ask questions later” mentality. Barrie is coming off back-to-back 50-point seasons and is in a contract year.

Barrie is, as they say, not good defensively. However, he puts up points at a higher rate than he gives them up, and he’s been doing it against top competition all through his prime. His isolated threat analysis in his own zone is only slightly better than Morgan Rielly, so together on the top pair they should be downright unstoppable in transition and in the offensive zone.

Barrie is a very good top-pair defenseman. His microstats are extremely good, even better than Jake Gardiner, but his large-form shot metrics have started to decline since 2017. My theory for this is the fact that the Avalanche are good now and with more depth on the roster, Barrie’s relative stats aren’t as strong as they used to be. I think this debate that partially took Twitter over has its flaws and the data that shows Barrie being an incredible play driver with both stars and scrubs beats any argument using relative shot attempts.

Barrie is very unusual to get a handle on because his 2017-18 and 2018-19 were so differently when looking at his play in his own zone. That said, Barrie played heavy minutes, primarily with Colorado’s top line, which is exactly how Morgan Rielly was used. They will be a very good pair together next season. And yes, Mike Babcock will play them together.

With this trade, the Leafs saved $2.5 million on their salary cap. After taking away some in the Kerfoot extension, they should be about break-even or a little worse off than before the trade. Here is Toronto’s current cap break down. Cap Friendly’s Armchair GM mode is currently offline due to the heavy traffic through the site.

Here is some perspective from Colorado Avalanche fans from our sister site, Mile High Hockey. I work there too, they’re great people and the commenters aren’t that bad.

Avalanche acquire Nazem Kadri, lose Tyson Barrie in blockbuster move