In this edition of Toronto Maple Leafs’ News & Rumors, I’ll focus on some of the trade news that came from yesterday. The biggest news involves bringing veteran defenseman Mark Giordano to the team.
Related: Maple Leafs Get a Jump on the Trade Deadline with a Frenzy of Moves
I’ll also share some insight about two other players coming to the team – these include KHL and Team Finland’s goalie Harri Sateri and Seattle Kraken forward Colin Blackwell. I’ll also comment on Travis Dermott who’s one player who’s moving on to the Vancouver Canucks.
Item One: Mark Giordano Becomes a Maple Leafs Player
The Maple Leafs finally get the defenseman they wanted when they acquired Mark Giordano (and Colin Blackwell) from the Kraken. And, they didn’t give up either a first-round draft choice or a top prospect to do so. Instead, the team moved two second-round draft picks (one this summer of 2022 and one next in 2023); and, finally, the team moved a third-round draft pick from 2024. The Kraken also agreed to retain 50% of Giordano’s contract.
While Giordano’s numbers are not gaudy, he has scored six goals and 17 assists (for 23 points), he’s more than a responsible player. He’s the 2019 Norris Trophy winner; and, even better from the Maple Leafs’ perspective he’s probably going to play with his former Calgary Flames defensive partner T.J. Brodie.
In short, unless things fall apart, Giordano will fit in really well as a top-four defenseman with his hometown Maple Leafs. He would likely play on the team’s second pairing with Brodie.
Related: Bobby Orr’s Landmark Season
That would leave Morgan Rielly and Ilya Lyubushkin as the first-pairing and probably move Jake Muzzin and Justin Holl to the third pairing. Muzzin’s health is up in the air after his concussions so right now that situation is iffy.
Item Two: Colin Blackwell Comes with Giordano from the Kraken
Coming with Giordano to the Maple Leafs is Colin Blackwell. Blackwell is a versatile forward who has scored eight goals and added nine assists (for 17 points) with the Kraken this season. Where he will play and how he fits in on the Maple Leafs’ roster is still up in the air.
Interestingly, Blackwell is another player from Harvard University. He played there for two seasons with current Maple Leafs’ forward Alex Kerfoot. Perhaps that means nothing, but Maple Leafs’ general manager does like to go after players with high IQ and Blackwell seems as if he could be another one of them.
Item Three: Maple Leafs Sign Team Finland’s Gold Medal Goalie Harri Sateri
Fresh from gold medal success this winter at the Olympic Games in Beijing, China, the Maple Leafs went off the board and signed goalie Harri Sateri to a $750,000 contract for the rest of the 2021-22 season. To get Sateri on the Maple Leafs’ roster, the organization had to place him on waivers yesterday. He has to clear waivers before he can report to the team. We’ll know more later today.
I have to admit that Sateri was not on my radar at all. But that he helped lead Team Finland to an Olympic gold medal at this year’s Winter Olympics is something. He also played well with Novosibirsk Sibir in the KHL with a 14-16-5 record a 2.02 goals-against-average and a .926 save percentage. He’s actually played six seasons in the KHL; and, in 2017-18 played nine games with the Florida Panthers where he compiled a 4-4-0 record, with a goals-against-average of 2.92 and a save percentage of .911.
Item Four: Travis Dermott Gets Moved to the Vancouver Canucks
Travis Dermott had been happy to play with his hometown Maple Leafs, but it was time for him to move on. In yesterday’s post, I noted some of Dermott’s internal conflict about leaving Toronto and his teammates. However, it was time to go and he’ll likely get a good chance to show his abilities with the Canucks.
Related: NHL Rumors: Flames, Maple Leafs, Oilers, Wild, Rangers, Sharks, Panthers
When he was first drafted in the second round (34th overall) of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, he was thought to have top-four potential. But it didn’t pan out with the Maple Leafs. His status seemed to have fallen and he could see the writing on the wall when the two young Swedish defensemen – Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren – passed him in playing time.
The word was that he had requested a trade at the start of this season. He’ll get the change of scenery he needs. The Canucks traded defenseman Travis Hamonic and his $3 million salary cap and will replace him with the physical and potentially versatile Dermott, who can play both the right and the left side. He should do well with his new team.
What’s Next for the Maple Leafs?
The answer is that I don’t know if the team will make any further moves this trade deadline or not. They have a ton of salary-cap issues to sort out, but they have the brainpower to do so.
Related: Travis Dermott: Maple Leafs’ Star in the Making
The Maple Leafs’ defense looks strong and could be a strength of this team. With strong forward units, could this team have postseason potential?