The Leafs have traded defenceman Carl Gunnarsson and the 94th pick overall to the St. Louis Blues for defenceman Roman Polak.
I’m at the draft right now and when the trade was announced it was dead silent… Well, except for the guy behind me who yelled “THAT’S A HORRIBLE TRADE!” loud enough that the entire arena heard him.
Leafs trade is announced, someone screams “THAT’S A HORRIBLE TRADE!”
— Andrew Berkshire (@AndrewBerkshire) June 28, 2014
WHO’S HEADING OUT?
Carl Gunnarsson has played 304 NHL games, all of which have been with the Leafs. In that time, Gunnarsson has scored 15 goals and 71 assists for 86 points.
Gunnarsson was a diamond-in-the-rough pick. Selected in the 7th round, 194th overall, Gunnarsson was one of the last picks taken in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Only three players chosen from the second round onward in 2007 have played more than 300 NHL games: Wayne Simmonds, Jamie Benn, and Gunnarsson. In fact, the only defenceman taken in the 2007 draft with more games played than Gunnarsson is Karl Alzner. Then there’s the little chestnut of Gunnarsson being on the Leafs’ top defensive pairing with captain Dion Phaneuf for at least two years. For a 7th-rounder, that’s extremely good value.
WHO’S COMING IN?
Roman Polak is not a Roman or a Polak. He’s a Czech national who has played all of his 424 career NHL games with the St. Louis Blues. In that time, Polak notched 13 goals and 66 assists for 79 points. In other words, Polak has seven fewer career points than Gunnarsson in 120 more games played.
Then again, Polak isn’t an offensive defenceman. The sixth round pick from 2004 is a big boy. Standing at 6’1″ and a hefty 227 lbs, Polak immediately adds size to the Leafs’ back end. More importantly, Polak adds a right-handed shot to the Leafs’ defence. Here’s a list of the Leafs’ right-handed defencemen before Polak was added:
- Cody Franson
After totally blowing me away with William Nylander (fantastic pick), the Leafs really disappointed me with this deal. Trading Gunnarsson for Polak straight up I wouldn’t have much of an issue with. The Leafs giving up their 94th pick in the deal turned me sour on it. Then learning that the Leafs are actually retaining $200,000 of Gunnarsson’s salary in the deal was the kicker. It seems so insignificant, but it’s little moves like that, that kill you.
Gunnarsson’s $3.15 million cap hit goes to St. Louis and Polak’s $2.75 million cap hit goes to Toronto. The $200,000 retention pretty much makes it even. Gunnarsson’s actual salary next year with be $3.15 million and then $3.45 million the next season, while Polak’s salary will be $3.1 million for both of the next two seasons.
Take care, Gunnar.
Love it when the swedes get picked. Happy to welcome @snizzbone to the organization. Välkommen!!
— Carl Gunnarsson (@carl_gun) June 28, 2014
Also awkward, these guys are teammates, now.