With a little more than a week until the 2016 NHL Trade Deadline, the Toronto Maple Leafs are continuing the tear down of the team by dealing forward Shawn Matthias to the Colorado Avalanche.
Going back to Toronto in the deal are forward prospect Colin Smith and a 2016 fourth-round pick.
Matthias, 28, is a pending UFA with a $2.3 million cap hit. He heads to the Avalanche with just 17 points (6 + 11) in 51 games, but should be a solid depth player for a team in the midst of a playoff fight.
The Avalnche are in need of a bottom-six forward that can help on the penalty kill, and Matthias will certain fit that need. However, they still could afford to add a touch more scoring help before the deadline.
Entering Sunday, the Leafs sit tied with the Edmonton Oilers for last place in the NHL with just 50 points on the year. With Auston Matthews the top prize in the 2016 NHL Draft, it just makes sense for the Leafs to continue to work towards “earning” the first overall pick.
That being said, with the new lottery odds going into effect this year, it may all be for nought in the end.
The NHL Trade Deadline is Monday, February 29 at 3pm ET. The Hockey Writers will have full coverage throughout the day.
Michael is a former Managing Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s covered the Buffalo Sabres, along with the NHL in general, for various outlets since 2009. His work has been featured on outlets such as Yahoo, Sports Illustrated and Fox Sports.