Dave Nonis and the Toronto Maple Leafs made an attempt to shore up their ailing defense corps, trading Carl Gunnarsson and their 94th overall draft pick to the St. Louis Blues for 28-year-old stay-at-home defenseman Roman Polak. The Leafs also retained $200,000 in salary in the deal.
Right off the bat, this trade looks like a massive overpayment. Gunnarsson had a difficult year paired alongside Dion Phaneuf, but also faced some of the toughest competition in the league. Polak was one of the worst possession players on the Blues while not facing near as difficult competition.
Gunnarsson expected to be traded, according to Jonas Siegel of TSN:
Gunnarsson figured he'd get traded at some point, "just not right now".
— Jonas Siegel (@jonasTSN1050) June 28, 2014
This is another example of the Leafs trying desperately to add some defensive stability, and they’ve failed miserably. Polak’s foot speed can be described as “glacial”. If Nonis or Randy Carlyle expects him to be able to take Gunnarsson’s minutes and actually do well, they’re in for a rude awakening.
The retained salary means the Leafs only save $200,000 in cap space. Just when you think this management group might be smartening up by drafting William Nylander last night, they turn around and set the entire team back with this trade. So long, Gunnar. Good luck with the Blues.