Everything the Leafs have done over the last year has been to prepare themselves for the future. The players they’ve drafted, the trades they’ve made, the players they’ve signed – it’s all been done not to be better today, bu to be better tomorrow.
Central to that has been the extensive reshuffling of the Leafs’ prospect pool – not just through the draft or the free wallet approach of free agency, but with prospects coming in and out the door via trade as well.
You’re probably well aware of some of the fresh young faces the Leafs have brought into the organization, but you might’ve forgotten about all of the names they shipped out of town. So let’s take a look back at the year of prospect trading that was for the Leafs, and see how things turned out.
Below is a list of all of the prospects the Leafs either traded for or traded away in the last year. The players the Leafs brought in are marked in green, the ones they shipped out in white.
So, let’s recap:
- Cody Donaghey and Casey Bailey had the best years of any prospects that the Leafs traded away. Resident Marlies expert Jeff Veillette was actually impressed that the team was able to get someone to take Bailey off their hands, and at 24 it seems pretty unlikely he’ll amount to anything. Cody Donaghey had a good year, sure, but he was an undrafted 19-year-old playing in junior.
- Carter Verhaeghe had decent numbers, but he also had to play 20 games in the ECHL this year. Aside from goalies, that’s typically predictive of a player not becoming an NHL regular.
- Matt Finn also had decent numbers in the AHL, but also had to play 20 games in the ECHL to sort things out.
- Greg McKegg had a decent year…except it was actually sort of underwhelming for someone who was entering their fourth AHL season and who’s 23 years of age.
- Brad Ross and Tom Nilsson didn’t even stick around in North America.
- Tyler Biggs also played in the ECHL. His 2 games down there means he played a grand total of 13 games of hockey in the 2015-2016 season.
- Only two of the players the Leafs traded away (Greg McKegg and Christopher Gibson) played in the NHL this year. McKegg had 2 goals and 0 assists in 15 games, and Gibson played 4 games for the Islanders and didn’t register a point. So yes, that’s 46 pro games for Gibson this year and just 1 point. What a bum!
- Oh, and shout-out to Petter Granberg, who the Leafs “lost” on waivers at the start of the season. Granberg managed an impressive 0 goals and 2 assists in 27 games for the Predators this season. He even managed 12 shots on goal! So, less than one shot on goal every other game.
I’m not going to get too carried away here. Prospects are typically overvalued by fans, and making any sweeping claims about how good the players the Leafs traded for would be premature to say the least. We have no idea if any of those guys will be any good (in fact, I’m fairly certain at least a couple of them definitely won’t be).
What I will say is that I don’t see a single NHL regular on the long list of players the Leafs traded away.
It’s to be expected, maybe, that the Leafs were that spot on in giving up on some of these guys. It’s still impressive though that the Leafs are basically batting 1000%. Even the best of teams make mistakes when it comes to young players, but for the Leafs to have a more-or-less flawless 10 months and counting when it comes to this stuff deserves some recognition.
More of that savvy’s going to be needed in the coming weeks, months, and years, as the Leafs continue to reshuffle the deck and build themselves back up.