Maple Leafs keep roster in tact at NHL trade deadline day - InfoNews

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Maple Leafs keep roster in tact at NHL trade deadline day

Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriellon speaks to reporters following a meeting of NHL general managers in Montreal, Friday, November 17, 2017. Maple Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello didn't make a move on trade deadline day for the first time since he took over Toronto's GM job in 2015. He didn't see a need to.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
February 26, 2018 - 2:25 PM

TORONTO - Maple Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello didn't make a move on trade deadline day for the first time since he took over Toronto's GM job in 2015.

He didn't see a need to.

"We're extremely pleased with this group," Lamoriello said Monday after the deadline expired. "It's obvious because we had three free agents and we kept them."

"The way our team has been playing, we're still in the process of where we want to be and where we want to go," Lamoriello added. "We don't want to get ahead of ourselves, but we just want to stay on the right path."

Lamoriello stayed on the sidelines as other teams, including the Atlantic-Division leading Tampa Bay Lightning, bolstered their lineup with trades.

Tampa Bay acquired veteran defenceman Ryan McDonagh and forward J.T. Miller from the New York Rangers in exchange for forward Vladislav Namestnikov, a 2018 first-round pick, a conditional second-round pick and prospects Libor Hajek and Brett Howden.

Toronto had sought to add depth on defence and had McDonagh as a potential acquisition target, but the price was ultimately too high for the Leafs, who still have their eye on the future as well as the present.

"They acquired a great player certainly in McDonagh. Miller is an excellent player," Lamoriello said. "Everyone has an opportunity to do something, and they certainly made a big splash."

The emergence of Travis Dermott, who was called up by the Leafs on Jan. 5 and has been with the team since, lessened the need for Toronto, who were unwilling to meet New York's price.

"There's no question that the development of Dermott has played a role in a lot of our thought process," Lamoriello said. "But if we could have added someone who would have made us better and would not have subtracted (from the future) we certainly would have done that."

Leafs forwards James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak, and Leo Komarov are currently in the final year of their contracts and set to become unrestricted free agents on July 1.

But with 83 points (39-20-5) and a chance at the Atlantic Division title still possible — Toronto was three points back of Tampa Bay heading into Monday's games — the Leafs decided the trio were necessary for the drive to the playoffs.

"What we're trying to do is get as deep a group as we can possibly have," Leafs coach Mike Babcock told reporters in Tampa Bay on Monday. "There's always injuries, you've got to be prepared for that, too. (You) just set yourself up as best as you possibly can."

Toronto did make some moves in the days leading up to the deadline.

The Leafs acquired veteran centre Tomas Plekanec from Montreal on Sunday along with forward prospect Kyle Baun in exchange for a 2018 second-round pick, defensive prospect Rinat Valiev and forward prospect Kerby Rychel.

Plekanec spent his entire 14-season career with Montreal before the trade to Toronto.

"When you play that long you make some good friendships there, and in one way it's definitely sad, but the other way it's another experience," Plekanec told reporters in Tampa Bay on Monday. "It's challenging and exciting."

Last week, the Leafs traded veteran Eric Fehr to San Jose for a seventh-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. They also sent winger Nikita Soshnikov to St. Louis in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2019 Draft.

Toronto made a minor deal on last year's deadline day, sending seldom-used defenceman Frank Corrado to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Fehr, Steven Oleksy and a 2017 fourth-round draft pick.

Two days prior, they acquired veteran centre Brian Boyle in exchange for Byron Froese and a second-round pick.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2018
The Canadian Press

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