The trade deadline has arrived, but it will likely prove to be a slow day considering the fact that the Leafs were so busy yesterday:
Nick Foligno was rumoured to be on the Leafs radar for a few a while now and they finally pulled the trigger on a deal. With Columbus first retaining 50% of his deal before sending him to San Jose and the Sharks retaining an addition 25% of his total caphit, he comes to the Leafs at a very manageable 1.375M. That left the team with enough capspace to make another trade:
The Flames also retained salary in this trade. With 50% retained, he will cost the Leafs 1.375M in capspace as well. This is a deal that says a lot about where the team thinks Frederik Andersen is in his recovery. If they believed that Andersen would be back before the playoffs I question if this deal is made at all. It’s the capspace that was opened up by placing Andersen on long term injured reserve that is allowing them to take on salary to begin with, so they must intend to keep him there until at least the playoffs.
Rittich played well against the Leafs this season, but he has struggled against some of the other teams. He has 131 games of NHL experience though and is an upgrade over Michael Hutchinson, so it’s tough to not like this deal.
Circling back to Nick Foligno.
The price does seem a little steep, that’s true. However, Foligno is the type of player the Leafs can use down the stretch and into the playoffs. He plays a grinding style of hockey and that’s lacking in this lineup. He can also play centre and is sound defensively, so, whether you see him as a checking line centre, or a grinding winger that plays higher in the lineup, you should be satisfied with the player himself, even if you think the price was high. Besides, how can you hate adding somebody that really wants to be here?
The expectation is that we’ll see at least one more trade made today, with a depth blueliner being the target. Names to watch are Sami Vatanen, Jamie Oleksiak and Nikita Zadorov.