Do the Leafs now have a serious Stamkos competitor?

The Draft Day trade that most impacts the Toronto Maple Leafs might not have directly involved them. Despite many expecting the Detroit Red Wings to have difficulty in trading Pavel Datsyuk’s contract, but on the floor, Ken Holland managed to pull a fast one on the rest of the league.

The Red Wings sent Datsyuk and the 16th overall pick to Arizona in exchange for Joe Vitale, the 20th overall pick, and 53rd overall pick. 

Many felt that the Coyotes could have received much more; heck, many feel that 53rd overall is an overpayment for a four-spot jump in the mid-first round. The reality, though, was that the Coyotes found themselves in a perfect position to draft Jakub Chychrun, who had been free-falling down the rankings throughout the night.

In making the trade, the Coyotes take on a $7.5 million cap hit, but a mutual termination of Datsyuk’s contract will mean that they won’t pay an actual salary. The Red Wings then used the 20th pick on Dennis Cholowski, will pick again tomorrow, and more importantly for them, drop over $6 million in cap space.

With the move, the Red Wings now have $19 million to spend this offseason. Of course, they still have a lot of holes to fill; replacing Brad Richards, Drew Miller, Darren Helm, and Kyle Quincey are just the tip of the iceberg. They also have to renew their deals with Danny DeKeyser, Petr Mrazek, and Alexey Marchenko, who are all due rather significant raises.

But do they really care about replacing some UFA’s if they can get the crown jewel? Detroit would love to get Steven Stamkos as Datsyuk’s replacement, and will no doubt flex their “history of winning” paired with a hefty sum of money in order to get their man.

Certainly, it’s an option for the 26-year-old UFA, who idolized Steve Yzerman as a player even if their interpersonal relationship might fully separate in the coming hours. I’d suspect now that the Wings become Toronto’s biggest threat over the past week, with the Sabres following behind with a dump truck filled with Pegulabucks. We all know how this played out with Mike Babcock; can Toronto come out on top in the thrilling sequel?

  • CMpuck

    That was a bad trade by Arizona. Was boy wonder thinking that the second round pick was coming to Arizona and it got mixed up in the trade discussion.

    Poor asset management by the kid and Holland raped them.

    • Gary Empey

      When you take a closer look at it, I am not so sure that was really a bad deal for Arizona. They are a budget team and may struggle to make the cap floor. Datsyuk’s contract means that they won’t pay an actual salary. They will only get hit with the cap value. They actually saved just over a million in salary moving Joe Vitale, who was out all year with a concussion and may not play this year either.

      What Arizona did was trade a second round pick to move up four places and get Jakub Chychrun, who looks to be a very solid bottom six defenceman at worst.

      The disappointing part was Holland was definitely in a bind over Datsyuk’s cap hit. Most of us were hoping it cost him a good prospect to move it. In a was it did.

  • FlareKnight

    I don’t know. People talk about Stamkos not wanting to go to a team that isn’t going to win. So….why would he go to Detroit? They a playoff bubble team, but one that won’t win. Even if Stamkos steps in to replace Datsyuk, Zetterberg is well over his prime and all they really have upcoming is Larkin.

    They’ll have the money to offer him, but they can’t really offer him a chance to win.

  • Gary Empey

    Stamkos will make more money in Toronto than anywhere else with jerseys and endorsements. The only reason for him to not come here that I can think of is ego – if he wants to be ‘the guy’ and not be competing for spotlight with young stars. Or, if the Leafs don’t want him. And that is still a possibility given their analytics obsession as of late (numbers crunchers tend to prefer cheap contracts and quantity over quality). Either way the Stamkos decision is the one that will ultimately determine the future of this franchise for better or for worse. He could be that piece that put us over the top and all the way to the Cup or the anchor that symbolizes the failure to stick with the plan and be patient. It’s a huge decision. I trust Lou to get it right. Or to see it early and miraculously fix it if he makes a mistake.

    To me, it looks like we’re one good, big veteran right-shooting defenceman and Stamkos away from being a serious contender for the next 5 years. But do we worry about 5 years after that?