The Toronto Maple Leafs wisely avoided paying an incredibly steep price for defenseman Hampus Lindholm as we near the trade deadline.
Somewhat frustratingly, the Toronto Maple Leafs Atlantic Division rivals, the Boston Bruins were the team doing the deal with the Anaheim Ducks. However, that doesn’t mean the Leafs should’ve made the same move.
When you take time to look at the trade itself, it really wasn’t a cheap move for the Boston Bruins to make.
However, given they have already found a way to renew Lindholm, they clearly knew he was exactly the player they wanted.
What price would the Toronto Maple Leafs have had to pay?
The price the Boston Bruins had to pay for Hampus Lindholm (while only paying 50% of his salary) and career journeyman defenseman Kodie Curran was significant.
In fact, the Anaheim Ducks received a haul in return; veteran blueliner John Moore, former hot prospect defenseman Urho Vaakanainen (18th overall 2017), a 2022 first-round pick, 2022 and 2023 second-round picks.
If you try to balance that against the price the Toronto Maple Leafs may have had to shell out for Lindholm; you’d have to fathom the price would’ve definitely included Justin Holl and/or Travis Dermott, if not Timothy Liljegren.
The haul of picks that the Anaheim Ducks picked up would’ve left the Leafs with just a seventh round pick remaining this season.
All of that for a defenseman that would’ve been a pure rental. Unlike the Boston Bruins, there’s no chance the Leafs would’ve been able to find enough spare cash to pay for him longer-term.
In fact, with the deal the Bruins inked no more than a day after the signing, it’s 100% confirmed that the Leafs couldn’t have afforded him, with his new deal paying $6.5 million for the next 8 years.
A few seasons back, it was fair to say that Lindholm was among the league’s best defensive defensemen. The price the Bruins are likely to pay might very well have been viewed as a bargain back then.
As of now, he’s a defensemen that can easily handle 22-odd minutes a night, including penalty killing minutes; he is a definite top-four guy in almost any line-up.
Fact is though, the over-pay for him means that you have to be happy the Toronto Maple Leafs didn’t go all-in on him this trade deadline.
Going all-in to add him for this summer only would’ve been beyond foolish. On par with the cost the team paid for Nick Foligno at last year’s deadline, at the very minimum.
That deal really hasn’t aged well. While Lindholm obviously isn’t injured like Folingo was/had been in the lead-up to last year’s trade, he still would have found himself hamstrung by the expectations such a steep rental price would’ve seen attached to him.
Absolutely, the Leafs could still do with improvements defensively, but at such a price, Ilya Lyubushkin might be the biggest improvement the team makes.
Given how all-in our Atlantic Division rivals are going though, maybe Toronto has no choice. Only time will tell.