The @MapleLeafs have acquired forward Sergey Kalinin from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for defenceman Viktor Loov. #TMLtalk— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) February 18, 2017
Viktor Loov, or Lööv, if you prefer, has been injured and out of the Marlies lineup for some time, although Sheldon Keefe said yesterday he was closest to returning. Sergey Kalinin, or Sergei, if you prefer, cleared waivers yesterday and was assigned to the Albany Devils, but was not on the roster for their game this afternoon. (The drama of a trade while a player is in a game is not for us, it seems.)
The obvious question is: why not just take Kalinin on waivers?
The answer to that is that the Leafs are currently at 49 fo 50 SPCs, and hitting the max for a depth NHLer who is going to report directly to the Marlies is not a smart move. He can also be sent directly to the Marlies since he cleared.
The next obvious question is: why did the Leafs want him?
That is not so obvious on the surface. He’s not had a great year on the NHL Devils. But his points last year in a similar depth role are more encouraging. Even more important he is primarily a centre although he plays wing as well. He is not the coveted right-shooting one that Ben Smith is, but he joins a team, teams really, that are lacking in depth down the middle. He’s also only 25.
He grew up in Omsk, Russia, played his whole career for Avangard, and was captian of the team in his last year in the KHL. That’s a “good man, good pro” sort of credential that appeals to the Leafs.
He was never drafted, rather the Devils signed him in the spring of 2015 while Lou Lamoriello was still with the team.
He’s under contract through this year only at $800,000 one-way and he is an RFA at expiry.
Viktor Loov, meanwhile, has six points in 41 games for the Marlies and has been replaced in advance by Alex Gudbranson, on loan from the Minnesota Wild. His time with the organization has looked well past over to me for a long time.
Sergey Kalinin’s stats: