Earlier today the Toronto Maple Leafs recalled Carter Ashton and sent down Peter Holland.
Ashton has played well for the Marlies this season, with 15 pts in 14 games. Holland meanwhile has nine points in 22 games.
But it’s not that simple. For starters Holland was traded for a conditional third round pick. If he plays 25 games this season for the Maple Leafs it becomes a second round pick. Toronto also owes the L.A. Kings a second round pick either this season or next season (Leafs decision).
So with three games to go, Holland gets sent down. Ostensibly this protects the pick as a third and not a second but the chances that Holland doesn’t play 3 more NHL games this year with both Dave Bolland and Trevor Smith injured is small.
The Leafs have had issues scoring, and while Ashton has been hot recently, so was Peter Holland. Of his nine points, eight were scored in a ten game stretch when he saw an average ice time of over 16 minutes a game. Last night he was given only 4:30.
Eight points in ten games is a scoring pace of 66 pts a year. While Holland would have never been able to stay at that level, even if you knocked off 20 pts and dropped him down to 46 pts a year he may be an upgrade over Tyler Bozak, who has a career high of 47 pts in a season while playing with superior linemates.
Out of his 22 games, ten times he played fewer than ten minutes. Four times he played less than five. Not many are going to be able to contribute much playing under five minutes a night.
When given ice time though he has produced. His three point game against Chicago saw him play a season high of 19:22. He was named the first star in that game.
On the surface this looks like another odd move from GM Dave Nonis.
While Ashton is a piece of the Leafs future, Holland has been a piece of the Leafs right now. He stepped in and filled roles on the second line when Bozak and Bolland were hurt and Kadri was suspended. He also saw significant ice time on the third line, before being demoted to the fourth line and no ice time.
While he’s not the defensive presence that Jay McClement is, his offensive numbers are far superior. McClement has only five points this season.
So in the end the struggling Leafs, who have only won four games in regulation since October, dumped a young offensive producer for an equally young, less offensive producer who doesn’t play centre.
Just another day in Toronto.