The Toronto Maple Leafs have not been shy about gearing up for the NHL’s upcoming trade deadline.
The General Manager, Kyle Dubas, said yesterday in his press conference that he would be willing to move a top prospect, and that the team is open for business, and would prefer to make moves sooner than later.
Kicking off the festivities last week was the trade of Mikko Lehtonen to the Blue Jackest for a waiver proof fourth string goalie who it is my sincere desire to never to learn much about. (‘Cause if I do, the Leafs are in trouble).
Lehtonen has an absolutely massive ceiling and not being able to try and develop him is the cost of being a contender. Don’t, however, be surprised if the Leafs sign him back in the summer, since giving him an opportunity to play probably makes them look quite good and I bet there’s a much bigger chance to win a job here next year.
Toronto Maple Leafs and the Trade Deadline
After the Lehtonen trade – and a rough weekend – the Leafs made some minor adjustments: putting Barabanov, Galchenyuk and Liljegren on the taxi squad, while sending Kenny Fourminutes and Calle Rosen to the A.
The big news, however, is that the Vancouver Canucks claimed Jimmy Vesey on waivers.
Vesey was a perfectly serviceable bottom of the lineup player who had a chance and didn’t run with it. That’s fine – it’s not easy being an NHL player and it’s even harder to be a good one. His continued presence in the lineup owed not to his play, but rather the fact that he had to go on waivers to hit the taxi squad.
Once the Leafs claimed Alex Galchenyuk, the writing was on the wall for Vesey, and with Simmonds on his way back there’s just nowhere for him to play, and so instead of keeping him in the lineup, his waiver problem now takes him off the team.
The Leafs needed flexibility and cap space at this time more than they needed a half-way decent fourth liner.
In the end Jimmy Vesey managed seven points in 30 games, with almost no power-play time or top six minutes. His performance was adequate, but the Leafs just have too many options to work with potential at this time.
Had Vesey signed here a few years ago when he would have had an extended run in the top six in games whose results were irrelevant, perhaps things would have turned out different. For the Toronto Maple Leafs the Vesey experiment will go down as a no-risk move that didn’t pan out – like hitting a 3-0 fastball into foul territory.