The Toronto Maple Leafs Trade Deadline Inactivity Is Inconsequential

The Toronto Maple Leafs and their general manager, Brad Treliving, have been relatively quiet at the NHL Trade Deadline. While excitement abounds around late-season trades, they hold little significance in determining a championship.

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Much angst always surrounds the NHL Trade Deadline. Especially so, if you are the Toronto Maple Leafs in a hockey-mad market longing for a championship for a starving fan base.

If you are new Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brad Treliving, whose transactions thus far have been middling at best, you might feel a sense of urgency.

It doesn't help when potential trade targets are flying off the shelves and finding new homes with the Leafs soon-to-be playoff competitors.

Fear not, Mr. Treliving and fans of the Maple Leafs. Most, if not all, of these deadline transactions, in the end, will be much ado about nothing.

The Toronto Maple Leafs Trade Deadline Inactivity is Inconsequential

Treliving's first trade deadline move for the Leafs was reacquiring down the lineup, stay-at-home, physical defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin.

This was after the Leafs missed out on getting former Calgary Flame, Chris Tanev. Naturally, consternation followed since Treliving did not want to pay the price for the player from his former team.

Then, Vladimir Tarasenko was sent to the rival Florida Panthers to bolster their lineup. Later in the same day Noah Hanifin, the top defenseman available, went to the defending Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights.

Another potential Leafs target went off the board as defenseman Sean Walker went from the Philadephia Flyers to the Colorado Avalanche.

The combination of limited draft capital, especially first and second-round picks, and promising young prospects that they would like to keep, has resulted in insubstantial Leafs transactions.

It's not the lost opportunity that it appears to be for many reasons.

There Are Positives To Be Found in Leafs Passivity

First of all, Tarasenko, with a no-trade clause, was able to pick his destination. Reports all along suggested that Hanifin wanted to be sent to a U.S. destination. The Leafs were likely never a possibility for either player.

At least Hanifin landed in the Western Conference and an aging Tarasenko may help the Panthers, but they are a formidable opponent for anyone, even without him on their roster.

More importantly, very few trade deadline deals over the years directly impact a team winning the Stanley Cup. Throughout history, for every Butch Goring type deal (young readers may have to search that name) there are numerous examples of regretful deadline deals.

In the case of the Leafs, keeping their first-round picks or young prospects beats the alternative of past-deadline deals that saw former talent excel elsewhere. Mason Marchment, Mike Cammalleri, Brad Boyes, and Roberto Luongo were former prospects or came from picks traded by the Leafs.

Tracking trade deadline deals is entertaining, but overrated. The performance of its star players is the key to any team's title run, with maybe a nice underdog player chipping in to help.


So, chin up Leafs fans. Of all of those teams that are making deals at the deadline, only one of them will be rewarded with the Stanley Cup and, chances are, it wasn't a deadline deal that paved their path to victory.