Brian Boyle was the Toronto Maple Leafs big acquisition before the NHL Trade Deadline, but the team was reportedly hoping to acquire more from the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Toronto Maple Leafs filled a gigantic need on Monday when they acquired Brian Boyle from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Byron Froese and a second-round pick. The acquisition of Boyle is a nice one for the Leafs, but the team apparently had a bigger deal in the works with Tampa.
According to Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports, the Leafs tried to acquire Valtteri Filppula as part of a bigger trade, but the 32-year-old Finnish centre apparently said no thanks to joining Toronto and rejected the trade offer.
If the Leafs were to acquire Filppula, it would have likely been as a depth centre and potential salary dump to either lower the price on Boyle, or include another asset. Filppula is a decent playmaker who rarely shoots the puck, but he’s not someone I think the Leafs would not be willing to pay $5 million a year too, which is what his cap hit is this season and next.
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Filppula, who has a no-trade clause where he submits a list of teams he’d accept a trade too, was apparently unwilling to accept any deal to Toronto, which might be because of Mike Babcock.
Babcock coached Filppula in Detroit for the first five years of his career, but after falling in and out of favour with Babcock during his last few seasons, Filppula left the Red Wings for the Lightning in the for summer of 2013, and was apparently glad to leave Detroit.
Also, on top of his distaste for Babcock, we’ve seen the Leafs get rid of veteran players by any means necessary, so perhaps Filppula feared a trip to “Robidas Island” could be in his future if things didn’t workout with the Leafs?
It’s a big “what if,” but I’m sure it’s something Filppula considered. Regardless, what we can take away from this report is that the Leafs are clearly willing to use the cap space they’ve created through placing players on LTIR, even if it means taking on another bad contract.