Monday, February 22, 2016

Toronto Maple Leafs Making Trades In Advance of Trade Deadline

With the trade deadline sitting at February 29, the Toronto Maple Leafs have decided to get a jump start on the action and begin making moves.

Of course, they had a huge trade on February 9, when they sent defenseman Dion Phaneuf to the Ottawa Senators.  And that trade fueled speculation that Toronto was going after Steven Stamkos.  The Tampa Bay Lightning GM, Steve Yzerman, quickly doused those trade speculation flames however, when he came out and said that Stamkos would not be traded.

But that didn't deter Toronto Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello from making further trades.  Yesterday, the Leafs traded Shawn Matthias to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for Colin Smith and a fourth round pick in the 2016 NHL draft, as reported by Yahoo Sports.

Matthias comes to Colorado as they continue their hunt for a Wild Card playoff spot in the Central division of the Western conference.  A former second round draft pick in 2006, of the Detroit Red Wings, he had 17 points in 51 games for Toronto this season.  The Avalanche will look to Matthias to help bolster their crew of forwards and propel them into the playoffs.

He was set to become an unrestricted free agent following the 2015-16 season.  For Toronto, they are looking to acquire draft picks and trade players they might not be re-signing prior to the July 1 free agency period.  Acquiring the fourth round draft pick from Colorado was no doubt key to this trade.

In addition they picked up Colin Smith, a 22 year-old pivot, who had been playing primarily in the AHL with the San Antonio Rampage.  Smith had 34 points in 54 games for the Rampage this season, and will be added to the Maple Leafs prospect list while playing with their AHL affiliate Toronto Mariles.

In the Maple Leafs' second trade in two days, they acquired Raffi Torres from the San Jose Sharks, along with second-round draft picks in 2017 and 2018, in exchange for defenseman Roman Polak and forward Nick Spaling, as reported by SportsNet.

The veteran Torres, who carried a $2 million cap hit for this season and will become a UFA after this season, has played in six games with the San Jose Barracuda of the AHL this season, after serving a 41 game suspension.

Roman Polak is set to become a UFA after this season, for which he carried a $2.75 million cap hit.  The veteran defenseman has 13 points in 55 games with the Maple Leafs this season.

Nick Spaling had a cap hit of $2.2 million for this season, after which he is set to become an unrestricted free agent as well.  The former second-round draft pick in 2007 has seven points in 35 games with the Leafs this season.

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