A Look At Lamoriello’s In-Season Trade History

Trade season has started and the Leafs are off and running with the acquisition of Jeremy Morin for Richard Panik. The funny thing about that trade is, if history holds up, that we may look back on it as one of the bigger moves the Leafs make between now and the deadline.

Pulling from Lou Lamoriello’s recent in-season trade history, he’s not normally one to make significant changes in season, even considering that 4 of the 5 last seasons saw the Devils outside of the playoffs.


Above is the quick and dirty five-year history of Lou Lamoriello making trades in-season. He’s averaging 2.8 trades per season, with his most active year being the season the Devils geared up for their deep playoff run, a year where he essentially added Alexei Ponikarovsky and Marek Zidlicky, after acquiring and dumping Kurtis Foster as his other key move.

The year that seems to be most relevant to the Leafs current situation of “SELL, SELL, SELL” is last season, and it was limited to two moves acquiring three draft picks. The largest being the Jagr deal which netted the Devils a 2nd and 3rd round pick and the Zidlicky deal which brought in a conditional pick destined to be a 5th rounder. Neither of these returns are particularly outstanding but they allowed the Devils to pick up something for players that they had no intention of re-signing.

The 2010-11 season also shows a team accepting the need to retool, as Langenbrunner and Arnott are both moved for futures in the form of 2nd and 3rd picks, but again not a significant teardown. Perhaps with the Stanley Cup Finals appearance the following season, Lamoriello was right not to go any further.

The Devils situation is generally different from the Leafs in the sense that New Jersey has to at least attempt to field a team that can competitive on any given night, and can’t completely sell off any available asset. The Leafs have that luxury, as fans can be sold a different bill of goods and show up to watch Marlies try out for the Leafs for 21 games while the draft position increases.


The lockout-shortened season shows Lamoriello making low-risk deals in an attempt to get the Devils back into the playoffs after their Finals appearance. Despite the steep drop off, no panic moves were made, and nothing worse than a fourth rounder was lost.

None of this is truly inspiring for Leafs fans who want to see a major splash at the trade deadline. While Lamoriello has a larger number of players on expiring deals than most teams usually have, it’s not a guarantee that all of them will be moved. It’s worth considering that players like Grabner, Parenteau, Matthias and Reimer have all made cases for being re-signed, and Lou’s history of retaining players like Colin White and Bryce Salvador long past their usefulness means that Roman Polak could be on that list as well.

Lamoriello’s record also shows that it’s unlikely that the Leafs will be trading one of their players under contract for next season at the trade deadline, and it’s far more likely that they wait until the draft, next summer, or we’re going to have to deal with the fact that Bozak’s here until he can be moved as a rental. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s less than great if you look at the trade deadline as a form of entertainment and not just a window where you team will be actively trying to improve themselves.

If you look back past the five-year window for the Devils and go all the way to the inaugural season of the salary cap, the only truly significant in-season trade that Lamoriello was involved in was the acquisition of Ilya Kovalchuk, which is pretty damn significant. So clearly there’s an ability to make a larger deal, but the question remains how willing is Lamoriello to do so.

The long and short of it is that we probably need to lower our expectations for what the Leafs are going to do between now and February 29th. Anything can happen, but it seems far more likely that we are in for a couple of rental players heading out in favour of a handful of draft picks. It may not be exciting, but at least we can start looking forward to the draft and Stamkos.

(with data from prosportstransactions.com)

  • Handsome Normale

    Assuming, of course, that Lou has the final word on what he does or doesn’t do, and that there is no mandate from Shannahan to get what he can and laugh about it.

  • Handsome Normale

    Don’t forget. Lou was operating under budget restrictions in NJ for many years and a lesssupportive ownership group so that will also have affected his ability to swing significant trades; he doesn’t have those limitations here.

  • Handsome Normale

    My guess is that either Kadri or Komarov goes for a late 1st.

    As much as I’d prefer Bozak gets shipped out, there’s no way anyone values him high enough…too many years of everyone saying he’s no good. At this point he’s looking like a legit mid-level 2C but I don’t think we’d get that return.

    • Handsome Normale

      kadri would definitely be worth more than a late first imo…and vermette fetched a first rounder last year with similar point production to bozak so anything is possible

      • You may be right. I just feel like it’s hard to judge another team’s perceived value of someone like Kadri because we’ve hyped him up so much.

        I remember early in the season when he wasn’t scoring Babs was calling him the best player on the team which I thought was horse crap. Riley and JVR are better hands down. Sooo Babs plays a little smoke and mirrors and I just wonder if when it comes down to it Kadri only fetches a 23rd overall pick because that’s what he’s worth to other GMs…

        I hope I’m wrong but I wouldn’t be surprised.

    • Handsome Normale

      I don’t see the leafs moving Kadri who was the 7th pick in the first round for a late first round pick. To ownership this would be an admission of failure. Most of us tend to hope and believe that the new management has total autonomy. Just recall how M.L.S.E. has always been run. The invisible puppet strings from the meddling board of governors are in my opinion still around.

  • Harte of a Lion

    Jon, you and most of those who are commenting seem to have overlooked one major fact, Lou has never been in this type of scenario before.

    Shanahan and his Shanaplan says SELL, SELL SELL, and the godfather will SELL!

    The Team did not sign Parenteau, Boyes and others, and trade for (Grabner) for their long term value but rather as assets to be used to acquire more prospects and draft picks allowing Mr. Hunter to work his magic.
    Lou is in a unique position whereby he can and will accept picks from 2017 and even 2018.
    I am certain that GM’s will find it easier to part with high picks 16 or 28 months away.

    Since the majority of scouting concentrates on the coming draft,
    (Yes, they are constantly scouting all prospects however (for example) if a GM expects to draft around 20th plus/minus, at this point of the season they have a number of prospects in mind. Those picks have become tangible assets… It’s a lot harder to part with that potential pick/player/asset than something hypothetical far in the future)


    So… If teams like Anaheim, Colorado, Philly, Vancouver, Arizona, Calgary, San Jose and even Edmonton, come on Chiarelli, who find they are not completely the playoffs (a 5 or 6 game win streak puts them seriously back in the hunt) …
    Or…Teams like the Blues, Capitals, Stars, Panthers, Islanders etc who might believe that they are close to winning it all, giving up top prospects or high draft picks a year or two in the future seems a reasonable price to win the Stanley Cup.

    I hope Lou has fun over the next forty-seven days, because if the rebuild continues to go well, he might never have another opportunity to run an NHL trade deadline garage sale .