The long-awaited Erik Karlsson trade came to be yesterday afternoon. But ignoring the easy narrative in how strong the San Jose Sharks look coming out of the Western Conference, there’s one question that needs to be addressed. To quote Steve Dangle, how does this affect the Leafs?

Well, it doesn’t. The Ottawa Senators weren’t going to do much this season anyway, and with Karlsson out of town and J.G. Pageau expected to be out for 4-6 months, it’s looking more and more likely that Jack Hughes is going to the Colorado Avalanche. No, I didn’t mis-type.

What this may have done for the lucky members of Leafs nation is bring a chuckle or a smile to your face as the return on the Karlsson deal wasn’t what many expected. The Ottawa Senators managed to add five players to their special rebuild (did you see the video?) along with a 2019 or 2020 first-round and a 2019 second-round pick.

The condition on the first-rounder ties into whether San Jose are in the playoffs or not. If they miss, it becomes a 2019 selection, otherwise it’ll be one in 2020. So, the Sens traded their best player in franchise history and didn’t get a guaranteed first-round pick back. Hilarious. But they could get a 2021 first if Karlsson resigns next summer and the Sharks make the Stanley Cup Final this season.

Of course, we can’t forget about the ‘Pierre Dorion clause’.

But back to the return, yeah, not much going on there. It makes you wonder what the Leafs would’ve had to give up to get Karlsson.

Timothy Liljegren goes for starters, being the first-round pick from the year before as Josh Norris was for San Jose. It pains me to say, but Connor Brown likely fills the role of Chris Tierney. The latter has more NHL experience; however, he is used in the similar way as Brown in Toronto being a two-way option who kills penalties.

The next two are harder to pinpoint. Rudolfs Balcers had a decent debut in the AHL last season with 23 goals and 25 assists in 67 games after putting up 77 points in Kamloops the year before. Dylan DeMelo is a 25-year-old right-shot defenceman who saw a lot of bottom pair minutes.

Who are those for the Leafs? For those who want Justin Holl on the team, would it surprise you if he put up 20 points? Maybe Connor Carrick fits that mould.

If Dorion approached Kyle Dubas and said I’ll give you Liljegren, Brown, Holl/Carrick, and let’s say a fusion of Dmytro Timashov and Miro Aaoltonen (in this fantasy he’s still here), would you do it? That may not be the perfect combination, so let me know what you would purpose.

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