In a trade Sunday afternoon, the Toronto Maple Leafs sent forward Shawn Matthias to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for forward Colin Smith and a fourth round draft pick in the 2016 entry draft.
For those keeping track at home, the Leafs now have a total of 12 draft picks. Here’s what they’ve got from General Fanager:
The two selections with asterisks are conditional. The Leafs lose the Pittsburgh draft pick if the Penguins miss the playoffs this year, which is highly unlikely at this point. The St. Louis pick is pretty much staying where it is because the condition hinges on Olli Jokinen playing the Stanley Cup Final…
Toronto GM Lou Lamoriello (still weird to write) finds himself in an odd position for the first time in a long while. He’s a seller of a team that’s really, surely, clearly without a doubt in no way trying to make the playoffs.
Although, Lou wouldn’t say this directly on the post-trade conference call. “You look at it as what is best for your team. What’s best for today. What’s best for tomorrow,” said Lamoriello. “This gives us an opportunity to stay along the plan that has been put in place. That we’ve consistently stuck with and will continue to do so.”
As to his plan for other contracts currently on the books – no dice.
He continued to describe the current trade environment in the most Lou way possible. “There’s always talk during this time, a little more than usual, because the closer you get, there’s no more talk after a certain date. So there will be more and more talk. What transpires from that, I only know from our situation, where we sit. I don’t know what is happening with other people other than the conversations I’m having.”
For now, the only winning Lamoriello really cares about is that of the Toronto Marlies (or as he says it, “the MOLLIES”). The Leafs AHL farm team is tearing up the league at 40-9-4 on the season. As Lou sees is, “… winning breeds winning. It’s invaluable. Of what it does, it brings everybody together. In other words, to feel good about each other and grow up with each other … That’s the environment you’d like to create.”
If the Marlies continue to be strong in developing the prospects, a la the Syracuse Crunch/Tampa Bay Lightning model, those dozen draft picks could turn out be a formidable force in the future. The pressure is on Toronto’s scouting staff to make the selections count.
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