Toronto Maple Leafs Acquire Chad Krys for Kurtis Gabriel

LAVAL, QC - OCTOBER 27: Kurtis Gabriel #29 of the Toronto Marlies grabs a hold of Michael Pezzetta #23 of the Laval Rocket during the third period at Place Bell on October 27, 2021 in Montreal, Canada. The Laval Rocket defeated the Toronto Marlies 5-0. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
LAVAL, QC - OCTOBER 27: Kurtis Gabriel #29 of the Toronto Marlies grabs a hold of Michael Pezzetta #23 of the Laval Rocket during the third period at Place Bell on October 27, 2021 in Montreal, Canada. The Laval Rocket defeated the Toronto Marlies 5-0. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Maple Leafs announced on Thursday that they have acquired defenseman Chad Krys from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for forward, Kurtis Gabriel.

Both players have spent this season in the AHL, Gabriel on the Toronto Marlies and Krys on the Rockford IceHogs. They will likely both swap minor league teams but Gabriel could go up to Chicago, as he is reportedly joining them when they visit this weekend.

On the surface, this move looks to shore up a Marlies defense that has lost Alex Biega and Kristians Rubins this week to fill-in on the NHL squad for the injured Rasmus Sandin and Travis Dermott.

So, who did the Toronto Maple Leafs acquire?

Who the Toronto Maple Leafs Got

Krys, a 23-year-old former second round pick in 2016, has had his fair share of ups and downs in his short pro career. Earlier this year in March, Krys underwent surgery on his right shoulder. This injury as well as the pandemic shortened 2019-2020 season has lead to him only playing 64 AHL games in his career, so far. However, not long ago Krys was a fixture on a lot of Blackhawks prospects lists in the seasons following his draft year.

It’s no secret that Krys has struggled to live up to his selection so far, but with the Leafs resources and facilities, you can bet they will give him a good opportunity. Look no further than second pairing defenseman, Justin Holl as a good example. He’s also a former second round pick of the Blackhawks. In 2015, Kyle Dubas signed him to an AHL contract at the age of 23, where he eventually signed an NHL deal a year later. Then, in January 2018, Justin Holl made his NHL debut at 26-years-old and has been a permanent fixture on the Leafs blueline since the start of 2019-20.

This isn’t to say that Chad Krys will be a second-pairing defenseman for the Leafs but he is a prospect to be cautiously optimistic about.

Who the Leafs lost

Going the other way, the Leafs are losing enforcer Kurtis Gabriel, who signed a one-year contract over the summer. He’s split parts of the last six season in both the NHL and AHL playing for now his sixth organization, including the Blackhawks. He’s played 49 games in the NHL, registering only five points but racking up 153 penalty minutes. So, you can’t expect him to challenge Patrick Kane for a powerplay spot but he could provide value for the Blackhawks if they choose to play him in the NHL.

The real loss here is that many Leafs fans took a liking to Gabriel for reasons, both on and off the ice. He’s been one of the most vocal professional mens ice hockey players on a wide variety social issues. While also appealing to people who like a rough style of hockey. Although he might not have helped the organization on the score sheet, the Leafs lost a good person to have in the locker room. Luckily for the Blackhawks, they gained a good player in the locker room, and as a team that desperately needs one, that’s a win for them as well.

My Thoughts

I think this is ultimately a good trade for the Toronto Maple Leafs. They recently re-acquired Kyle Clifford which pushed Gabriel even further down the depth chart. So, they traded a player who wasn’t going to make an impact on their first team, for a prospect.

Latest Trade a Win for All Involved. dark. Next

It’s a low-risk/high-reward trade that could pay off if Krys can develop well. The deal shows good asset management, even if Krys doesn’t ever play a game for the Leafs, it’s a good gamble to make on a promising young defenseman.