The Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired winger Michael Grabner from the New York Islanders in exchange for five players.
The trade shakes out as follows: Forwards Taylor Beck and Carter Verhaeghe, defensemen Matt Finn and Tom Nilsson and goaltender Christopher Gibson to New York for Grabner.
Immediately, this trade hit me as one that can be filed under the “smart move” category for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Today, the Maple Leafs’ organization sent a handful of prospects the team had no intention of using to the New York Islanders in exchange for speedster Michael Grabner.
For the Islanders this is a simple salary dump. Grabner comes with a $3 million cap hit and is owed $5 million in actual salary this season. More significantly for the Maple Leafs, this move allows the team to get rid of a number of contracts. The maximum amount of contracts an NHL team is allowed to carry is 50. With this move Toronto is currently sitting at 45, which affords the team some flexibility to make decisions after training camp. After all, Toronto has four players — forwards Brad Boyes, Curtis Glencross and Devin Setoguchi, and defenseman Mark Fraser — at camp on professional tryout agreements.
“You never know,” Toronto Maple Leafs’ newly-appointed general manager Lou Lamoriello said. “We don’t know what might come available … you always want to have the availability to do anything and everything.”
In 317 regular-season games with the Islanders and Vancouver Canucks, Grabner has 155 points (95 goals and 60 assists). Grabner was in and out of the Islanders lineup last season due to injuries; he managed eight goals and five assists in 34 games last year.
I believe a change of scenery will do wonders for Grabner. This was a great move for Toronto. Any time you have the ability to acquire a hockey player with an asset such as Grabner’s speed at a reasonable price-point while also giving your organization long-term benefits in contract flexibility, you do it. Especially when the player has only a one-year term attached.
Toronto has done several impressive things this offseason. Hopefully this is a sign the organization is finally moving in the right direction…
Featured image via islanders.nhl.com