Toronto Maple Leafs Continue to Stock Pile Picks by Trading Winnik


Toronto Maple Leafs Continue to Stock Pile Picks by Trading Winnik

The Toronto Maple Leafs continued their rebuild yesterday when they traded forward Daniel Winnik to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Zach Sill, a 2nd round pick in 2016 and a 4th round pick in 2015. 

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When you consider that Winnik was essentially a late summer bargain bin pickup, the return of two draft picks and an NHL level player — albeit a bottom-six one — is a handsome return that should please the Leafs’ brass.

The lone downside to this deal is that the Leafs are going to retain half of Winnik’s $1.3 million salary for the remainder of the season, meaning that the team is now only able to retain salary on one other contract.

But if the Leafs had to eat half of a one-year contract at less than $1 million to entice the Penguins to do this deal, then so be it. Two picks for an expiring contract like Winnik is more than worth it, especially when you consider the return on comparable market value trades like Jiri Tlusty and Sean Bergenheim.

Carolina acquired a 3rd and 6th round pick for Tlusty, while Florida hauled in a 3rd and 7th round pick for Bergenheim. Although both Tlusty and Bergenheim have a higher cap hit than Winnik, both players are also expiring contracts who have better track records offensively.

So while Winnik was a steady performer and a really likeable player, it’s extremely hard to complain about receiving a 2nd and 4th round pick for a depth player who barely cost the Leafs anything.

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  • Meanwhile, Zach Sill is agitating forward whose contract expires at year’s end, and will probably not return to Toronto next season. But for the time being, expect Sill to assume a role on the Leafs’ bottom-six, as the quest for McEichel continues.

    However, the most important part of this trade is the draft picks. The Leafs have added a few mid-level picks to their draft capital and continue to stock pile these assets.

    For a team like Toronto, collecting draft picks is of the utmost importance. Not just for the simple fact of rebuilding, but because draft picks are pretty much currency in the professional sports world. Draft picks give a team flexibility — and sometimes leverage — in trade negotiations, as these future assets are always a nice throw-in to entice teams in a deal. Or, you can keep these draft picks and build through the draft in a similar fashion to that of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    Tampa Bay has done very well in the mid-round’s under general manager Steve Yzerman, as they drafted Radko Gudas in round three of 2010, Nikita Kucherov in round two of 2011, Nikita Nesterov in round three of 2011, Ondrej Palat in round seven of 2011, Cedric Paquette in round four of 2012, Andrei Vasilevskiy in round two of 2012, and Kristers Gudlevskis in round five of 2013.

    There is no guarantee that the Leafs could emulate this kind of draft success, but given the current direction of the organization, making moves like they did yesterday will only enhance their probability of succeeding in a rebuild.

    What do you think about Winnik being traded Leafs’ fans? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.