Toronto Maple Leafs make big splash trading Kadri to Avalanche for Barrie, Kerfoot

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 24: Tyson Barrie #4 of the Colorado Avalanche plays the Dallas Stars at the Pepsi Center on November 24, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 24: Tyson Barrie #4 of the Colorado Avalanche plays the Dallas Stars at the Pepsi Center on November 24, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs made waves with a trade on Monday, acquiring Tyson Barrie and Alexander Kerfoot from the Colorado Avalanche.

At the tail end of what was an eventful opening day of free agency, the Toronto Maple Leafs swung a massive trade with the Colorado Avalanche.

The Maple Leafs acquired Tyson Barrie, Alex Kerfoot, and a 2020 sixth-round pick from the Avs in exchange for Nazem Kadri, Calle Rosen, and a 2020 third-rounder, the team announced Monday.

Colorado will retain 50 percent of Barrie’s salary, leaving the Leafs on the hook for just $2.75 million this year.

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Barrie is coming off his best season as a professional, posting 59 points and tying a career-high in goals with 14 in 2018-19.

The Avalanche relied on him for more than just offence, however. He logged 21:47 a night while playing on the top pairing alongside Erik Johnson. That experience against top competition will be a welcomed addition to a Leafs blue line that promises to look extremely different this season.

The 27-year-old is a pending unrestricted free agent following this season and will need to negotiate a new deal with the Maple Leafs. He stands to earn much more than the $5.5 million annually that he’s earning on his current deal, especially if he has a third straight season with over 55 points.

Toronto now has two of the top six scoring defenders in the league over the last two seasons in Morgan Rielly and Barrie, who have put up 124 and 116 points, respectively.

Kerfoot, 24, signed with the Avalanche as a free agent after playing out his entire college career at Harvard. He’s posted over 40 points in each of his first two NHL campaigns and set a career high in goals with 19 during his rookie year. Here all his goals from last season.

Kerfoot certainly presents a promising option for the Maple Leafs. He was very reliable in the faceoff circle for the Avs last year, winning 56 percent of his draws. He’s also four years younger than Kadri and provided nearly the same offensive punch this past year. He’ll almost certainly step into Kadri’s spot as the third-line centre and be a reliable contributor behind the Leafs’ star centres.

He’s a restricted free agent, so a deal will have to get done with the Leafs, but he and the team have likely already discussed the parameters of a new contract.

Kadri, 28, has spent his entire 10-year career to this point with the Leafs. Toronto selected the centre with the ninth overall pick in 2009, and after bouncing between the big club and the AHL’s Marlies, he became a consistent contributor at the NHL level. He took a show-me contract at $4.5 million annually over six years and proceeded to have two consecutive 32-goal campaigns.

He finished with 16 goals and 44 points this year in a smaller role, but his season ended on a bad note, as a suspension forced him out of the Leafs’ first-round series against Boston for the second consecutive year.

Rosen has been a great contributor for the Marlies over the past two seasons and was previously looked at as a player that had a great chance to crack Toronto’s opening night lineup in the fall. He’s an offence-first blue-liner that had 46 points in 54 games with the Marlies last year. `

This trade addressed the needs of each team. Colorado needed a bonafide No. 2 centre to play behind Nathan MacKinnon. They were hoping to get that by winning the draft lottery and landing standout American Jack Hughes with the first pick but that didn’t materialize. They did select the best defender available in Bowen Byram, giving them an incredible defensive core of the future that will also feature Cale Makar, Samuel Girard, and Conor Timmins. That defensive depth allowed them to go out and trade from a position of strength in order to get stronger down the middle.

As for the Maple Leafs, they already possess two top centres in Auston Matthews and John Tavares. Their need for a right-handed defender has been well documented and, while losing Kadri is going to be hard for some to swallow, the addition of Kerfoot should immediately provide the team with a younger option to play on the third line.

We wish Nazem all the best and appreciate his efforts for the organization over the past decade. He’ll be gravely missed and is sure to receive a massive ovation when the Avalanche come to Toronto on Dec. 4.

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What do you think of the trade? How will Barrie and Kerfoot fare with the Maple Leafs this year? What was your favourite memory of Nazem Kadri? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!