Kyle Dubas made a brilliant move for the Toronto Maple Leafs ahead of the Seattle Expansion Draft by acquiring Jared McCann from the Pittsburgh Penguins.
When the Toronto Maple Leafs acquired Jared McCann on Saturday afternoon, fans were excited. However, a few minutes later, we all realized that he may never actually play a game in the blue-and-white.
The team traded a seventh-round pick and Filip Hallander for McCann, which was a fair price. For those fans freaking out that the team gave away a prospect and a draft pick for a player who may get drafted to Seattle, calm down. First of all, you’ve probably never even watched Hallander play, so you don’t even know his potential, and a seventh round pick is meaningless.
That seventh round pick could turn into Henrik Zetterberg and Hallander may turn into Peter Forsberg, but I’ll bet my life savings they don’t. Even if they do, that’s the cost of doing business in professional hockey, and they barely gave anything up.
Why the McCann Trade Was a Brilliant Move
By trading for McCann, it gave the Leafs flexibility for next season and it made the decision of going with a 4-4-1 strategy much smarter than a 7-3-1.
If the Leafs went with a 7-3-1 system, they could have kept McCann and Alex Kerfoot, but it would have exposed Justin Holl. I know people bash Holl because the analytics aren’t so nice to him, but the eye-test showed that he was a solid second-pairing defenseman beside Jake Muzzin last year.
You’re not going to find too many solid second-pairing defenseman who are only making $2M per season, so it was a much smarter decision to keep Holl and expose McCann and Kerfoot.
Now that McCann and Kerfoot are exposed, Seattle is 99.9 percent likely to draft one of them. I know that Travis Dermott is also on the table, but McCann and Kerfoot are better players than him and it’s tougher to find a centre than it is a bottom-pairing defenseman.
Instead of sitting back and potentially losing Holl, Kerfoot or Dermott and then unfortunately not having a back-up plan, the Leafs now have a third-line centre regardless of what happens and if Seattle somehow picks Dermott, they have even better forward depth than they did last year.
Trading assets for a player who never ends up playing for your team is never fun, but it’s not the end of the world. The Toronto Maple Leafs are now in a great situation heading into the Expansion Draft and whoever Seattle selects won’t change the landscape of this team or affect them very seriously.