The Toronto Maple Leafs Make a Misguided, Short-Sighted, Irrationally Bad Trade

Jun 1, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CANADA; Toronto Maple Leafs new general manager Brad Treliving is
Jun 1, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CANADA; Toronto Maple Leafs new general manager Brad Treliving is / Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Maple Leafs once again traded for Ilya Lubushkin last night, this time for a 3rd and a 6th.

It is a trade so irational, misguided and idiotic that I don't know where to start. Brad Treliving is completely out of his depth as the GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs and his tenure has been nothing short of a disaster to date.

With $20 million to spend in the off-season, he made David Kampf the NHL's highest paid 4th liner, and embarassed the franchise by giving Ryan Reaves a three-year deal. John Klinbger was unplayable from day one and Max Domi has fit in like a Radiohead song at a UFC event.

What he did not do is address the blue-line and he entered one of the few remaining Prime Seasons of the Core 4 with one of the league's worst blue-lines.

On Thursday night he failed to make it any better.

What Are the Toronto Maple Leafs Thinking

I wasn't keen on trading for Chris Tanev because I think the Leafs need puck-movers more than defensive players. However, Chris Tanev is a no-doubt top-four player on any team in the NHL.

Ilya Lyubushkin is a healthy scratch on at least 10 teams in the NHL.

The odds of finding a star player in the late first round aren't that much better than finding one in the third round. The difference between Lyubushkin and Tanev is far, far greater. If you are willing to spend a third on Lyubushkin, just pay the cost for Tanev and be done with it.

Lyubushkin doesn't make any sense on a team that already has Simon Benoit, William Lagesson, and Mark Giordano. There is no realistic difference in what results those four players will give you.

You certainly can't play Lyubushkin and Benoit at the same time, as both are complete and utter offensive black-holes.

If the idea is to put him on the top pairing with Morgan Rielly, that is ridiculous and misguided. People might post some stats today to show they were successful together, and it's true they were. They won their minutes. However, Morgan Rielly was significantly worse in the minutes he played with Lyubushin than anyone else.

They were effective at all because they were the Leafs top pairing and playing with Matthews a lot. But realistically, Lyubushkin made the top line worse. The stats don't lie.

Lyubushkin is not a top-four player. He is a healthy scratch on any type of elite blue-line. He doesn't make the Leafs better. He doesn't address any needs other than being right-handed, which is hardly a reason to acquire a player. He can't be paired with Rielly and overally, he's one of the NHL's worst players.

Then Leafs needed a puck mover and they got a player who. makes them worse at moving the puck. They are 17th in the NHL in puck-possession because their blue-line can't pass.


Worst of all, the Leafs could have had a no-doubt upgrade but took a much worse player for an only slightly cheaper price. But hey, if one of the worst teams in the NHL says you can have their 5th best defenseman, how can you pass?