The Toronto Maple Leafs Dumbest Trade Working Out Badly

Mar 23, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Zach Hyman (18) and Toronto Maple Leafs
Mar 23, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Zach Hyman (18) and Toronto Maple Leafs / Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Maple Leafs failed at the trade deadline.

The Toronto Maple Leafs not only failed to improve their roster at this year's trade deadline, despite a ton of flexibility built into their roster (due to all the one-year or expiring contracts) but they also chose to go a really weird route with the things they did.

The Leafs are a team with below-average goaltending and one of the worst blue-lines in the NHL.

They chose to address neither thing. The reason they get by as they do is that they have the best forwards in the league, and are within spitting distance of being the NHL's top-scoring team. When they get league-average goaltending, they are a top team.

When they don't....they are brutal.

So it stands to reason that since this is one of the few seasons of Auston Matthew's prime, and because Tavares and Rielly don't figure to be that good for too much longer, that they should have gone for it.

Trading the broken-down TJ Brodie and the useless Ilya Samsonov would have given them $8 million to spend, and they didn't trade their first rounder, or any of their top prospects. Brad Treliving had the means, motive and opportunity to make a big trade, but for reasons that are completely inexplicable, he chose to sit on his hands.

One thing he did do was add a couple of terrible defenseman to the team. As we have seen earlier in our review of the Ilya Lyubushkin trade, Lyubushking has posted decent numbers to date, but there are indications that he costs the team more than he helps.

The same is true, but to a much greater extent, for Joel Edmundson. There is no nice way to say this: he stinks and the Leafs shouldn't play him. (All stats

This Toronto Maple Leafs Trade Has Not Been a Success At All

Before I start, keep this in mind: Joel Edmundson has only played seven games so far. His sample size is very small. Additionally, of the stats we will look at, the least valuable one for predictive measures is goals for and against.

This is because goals are the rarest of stats and they take a long time to build a sample size out of. Goals are influenced heavily by goalie performance which has almost no link (counter-intuitively) to defensive play over the long-term. Therefore, just because a player is winning his minutes doesn't mean he's playing well.

Edmundson is so far getting a 98% save-percentage when he's on the ice, and this skews his numbers. The best defensive player ever, playing at his absolute peak, couldn't do anything to cause a 98% save percentage over any amount of time, so we have to ignore the fact that the Leafs are winning Edmundson's minutes so far, because all the other stats say that will not continue to happen.

The Leafs are winning 6-1 when Edmundson plays, and if I thought that would last I would be singing his praises as the biggest factor in the Leafs upcoming playoff run.

But that stat is less than meaningless.

The Leafs are actually getting killed when he plays. They routinely get stuck in their own zone, as seen by the fact that shot-attempts are 125-103 in the opposition's favor when Edmundson plays, This amounts to a puck-possession rating of 45% and this a full-on 100% guaranteed indicator that the 6-1 goals record won't last.

Shots are even, but scoring chances are heavily in favor of the opposition - 55% to 45%. The Leafs overall expected goals when Edmundson plays are 45%.

That is an extremely bad number.

And these numbers are almost identicle to what Edmundson posted in Washington, and eventually Washington lost his minutes too. In fact, the only times in his career where his team won their minutes over a full season are when he gets over 92% goaltending, which is something he can't control and something I wouldn't bet on the Leafs goalies pulliing off for any amount of time.

The facts are indisputable: Joel Edmundson is a mean player who is hard to play against. But not so hard that his team is going to win when he plays. He is one of the least effective and worst players in the NHL.

Trading for him was misguided and quite ill-advised. The Toronto Maple Leafs are a mismanaged team that has no idea what its doing, and the sooner this front-office is cleaned out, the better for us all.


The Leafs only paid a 3rd and a 5th and it was way, way too much. So far, the results have been good (he won his limited minutes, then was too injured to play) but it won't last. The numbers don't lie. This was a bad trade and it's working out exactly as expected.