Toronto Maple Leafs : Why Protecting Justin Holl Might Make Sense

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 18: Justin Holl #3 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Winnipeg Jets during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on January 18. 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Jets 3-1. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 18: Justin Holl #3 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Winnipeg Jets during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on January 18. 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Jets 3-1. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Maple Leafs, Frederik Andersen
Mar 9, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; A shot by Winnipeg Jets forward Kyle Connor (not pictured) scores on Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen (31) as Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Justin Holl (3) Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /

What Should the Toronto Maple Leafs Do?

As far as I can tell, based on the scouting reports, my limited viewings of having noticed him in games I’ve watched, some youtube videos, his salary and his statistical profile, I think that Jaren McCann is worth a lot more to the Leafs than me finding $50.

I think he is worth enough car payments that I’d have to seriously consider keeping the money.

But that is only in a vacuum. The reason I think the Leafs risked losing McCann is because they think Justin Holl will be extremely valuable after the expansion draft.

The Leafs are betting that the Kraken take Kerfoot, and that they’ve acquired his replacement (who is cheaper, younger and has higher upside) for a cheap cost  AND that they can then also trade Justin Holl after the draft.

This is why the Leafs move is better than their critics are suggesting.

Whatever happens tomorrow, they now have a whole new market for Justin Holl created by teams who just lost their #4.  A 29 year old Hulk-Sized right-shooting defenseman with a small amount of success in a top-four role, on a very decent contract should be very enticing to teams that just lost their #4.

Logically, if you could get McCann at a discount before the draft, you can sell Holl for a premium after the draft.

So the worst case scenario here is that Leafs are out Hallander and a 2023 7th + whatever the difference would have been between McCann’s performance and Kerfoot’s.

The best case is that it costs them Hallander and a 7th to get 2 years younger and one million in cap space, and an expiring contract, then they trade Holl for an inflated price.  Even if they just add a couple picks for Holl and save the million bucks difference between him and Sandin, this is an extremely good bit of managing.

The best case scenario in this situation is worth the risk of basically just being were they were last week.  The Leafs found some money and instead of just using on something they wanted, they decided to use their found money to make a very reasonable bet.

Mock Expansion Draft. dark. Next

To sum up: If the plan is to trade Holl when his value skyrockets tomorrow at 5:01, then the risk of losing McCann is reasonable.  If they risked McCann to keep Holl it’s a bad move.