Two weeks prior to the NHL trade deadline, the Toronto Maple Leafs (TML) made their first trade of the season. The team traded Mike Santorelli and Cody Franson to the Nashville Predators for a 2015 first-round pick, Olli Jokinen and Brendan Leipsic (AHL).
Every Leafs fan expected to see Cody Franson traded, but it was a bit of shock for them to see Mike Santorelli leave as well. Nevertheless, both traded Leafs were excited to join the Predators, one of the top teams in the NHL.
Several experts speculated several Leafs players were on the chopping block, including Dion Phaneuf, Joffrey Lupul, Tyler Bozak and even Phil Kessel. Many fans wanted to see these top Leafs players traded while others believed they were integral to the team.
Just one week before the NHL trade deadline, the TML traded Daniel Winnik to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Zach Sill and two draft picks for 2015 and 2016.
Then a few days prior to the NHL trade deadline, the Leafs acquired T.J Brennan (AHL) in exchange for Spencer Abbott. The team made a huge move and traded David Clarkson to Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Nathan Horton, who has been injured this entire season.
The Clarkson trade shows the Leafs are willing to move anyone in order to get out of their slump. It is also safe to say almost every Leafs fan was happy about the trade. Clarkson signed a seven-year contract with the TML (his hometown team) in 2013, but he was unable to perform the way the organization thought he would. Clarkson was often a healthy scratch.
The eve of deadline day, the team claimed Tim Erixon off waivers. Then on Mar. 2, the Leafs were quiet and made only two moves. They acquired Joakim Lindstrom and a sixth-round pick in 2016 from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Olli Jokinen.
Jokinen was with the TML team for only two weeks after being traded from Nashville to Toronto. The Leafs also traded Korbinian Holzer to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Eric Brewer and a fifth-round pick in 2016.
Many Leafs fans were disappointed the Leafs did not trade Phaneuf but David Nonis and Brendan Shanahan did all they could in the time that they had. Leafs fans can expect lots of changes during the postseason, especially with acquiring new assets. Most fans are hoping the Leafs get lucky and somehow draft Connor McDavid.
In total, 24 moves were made on trade deadline day. Like the Leafs, the Anaheim Ducks and Buffalo Sabres made six trades since the beginning of February.