Zach Bogosian? Wayne Simmonds? Fourth liners that haven’t been floating around in the system for five years? Welcome to the new and improved, fresh scent, 2020-21 Toronto Maple Leafs! Now 8% Harder to Play Against™. They’ve definitely changed the packaging to a more contemporary look, but will the product last longer in the playoffs?

Let’s first run down all of yesterday’s moves.

Who was signed and traded Saturday

Andreas Johnsson was traded to the Devils in exchange for 22 year-old Joey Andersen. Andersen is an interesting pick-up at least. He’s likely someone found through what Katya calls “old-fashioned scouting,” meaning someone saw him playing for the Binghamton Devils in the AHL and thought there was some potential there.

Leafs trade Andreas Johnsson to New Jersey

The Leafs also signed Stanley Cup Champion Zach Bogosian, who we are calling Bogo, despite the lack of getting one player free with him. He will no doubt teach the Leafs how he won a Stanley Cup (request a trade to a better team).

Zach Bogosian signs with the Maple Leafs

Travis Boyd was also signed and I really have no idea what to say about him, but maybe welcome to the Marlies?

Maple Leafs sign centre Travis Boyd

The new and improved Leafs

The only real change to the formula is T.J. Brodie on defence. At least that’s a definite, measurable improvement. The economics of Tyson Barrie never made sense. His marginal offence was essentially zero because there comes a point where you have so much offence that putting in more makes no improvement, but still carries the same unit cost. The Leafs were way past the optimum point on the supply-demand for offence curve there, and you could frequently see the negative effect that had in games. With Brodie, it’s like they took some of the sugar out of a box of cereal and added pieces of real fruit. The kids still eat it and can’t tell the difference, but parents can see that on the box and they’ll know their dentist bills will be lower.

So there’s the new Leafs, same top-six as the old Leafs, with some cosmetic improvements below that. That’s it. No big splash. Pietrangelo was probably never even interested in coming here. Suddenly, that interview period for pending free agents they got rid of makes more sense.

The Leafs did shed a whole bunch of old prospects that have been clogging up the system for years whose careers have long since fallen into neutral and that allowed some new names to appear to add that 8% grart. I guess Simmonds can punch Brady Tkachuk in the face a few times a year now, and I’m all in favour of punching Tkachuks in the face, but when they play the Senators it certainly won’t be in the playoffs. So, ultimately, who cares? What we’ll get out on the ice is still going to be the Big Four for most of each game, perhaps now for even longer each game. Maybe Bogo will help by saying “Let’s Go!” in the dressing room.

This is a huge bet on there not being much that needed to change. We’ll see where that goes.

Also, Dubas passed on TvR and I will never forgive you for that, Kyle!

Other News

Blackhawks trade Saad, Gilbert to Avalanche for Zadorov, Lindholm - Second City Hockey
Chicago really likes trading away Brandon Saad.

Blue Jackets sign veteran center Koivu for the 2020-21 season - The Cannon
The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed veteran center Mikko Koivu to a one-year, one-way contract worth 1.5 million.

Hurricanes sign Fast to three-year, $6 million contract - Canes Country
Jesper Fast spent the past seven seasons with the New York Rangers.

Oilers Sign D Tyson Barrie To One-Year Deal - The Copper & Blue
[Species: Oilers should read what I wrote above about the economics of Barrie's offence.]

Edmonton Oilers Re-Sign G Mike Smith - The Copper & Blue
Oilers go back to the obviously poisoned well in their never-ending quest to determine just how flammable money is.

Capitals Sign Trevor van Riemsdyk - Japers' Rink
[Species: my heart has been crushed.]

[PODACST] TSN Reporter, Rick Westhead Joins Jonah Sigel – Toronto Sports Media Blog
Rick covers some of the most important topics in sports today; concussions, violence, drugs, pain, and more. Jonah and Rick talk about Rick’s career, his unique style, and the oddity of covering sports issues during a pandemic.