NHL: Who Won the Leafs-Avalanche Trade?

Nazem Kadri, the longest tenured Leaf on the roster, was dealt to Colorado on Monday in a trade that will bring Tyson Barrie and Alex Kerfoot to Toronto. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

On Canada Day, July 1, Kyle Dubas and Joe Sakic had their own fireworks display. They consummated a massive trade that has major roster implications on both of their teams. Dubas and the Toronto Maple Leafs traded team veteran and 2009 9th overall pick Nazem Kadri along with 25 year old Calle Rosen and a 2020 third round pick to the Colorado Avalanche. In return, Colorado gave up defenseman Tyson Barrie, who put up 59 points in 78 games last season. They also included Alex Kerfoot and a 2020 sixth round pick. Barrie and Kadri, the centerpieces of this deal, were both rumoured to be on the move this summer. Therefore, this trade wasn’t a complete surprise.

What does each team get, but also give up in the deal?

The Leafs get a number 2 defenceman in Tyson Barrie who they can pair with Morgan Rielly on the right side of the top pairing. Barrie is an offensive defenceman by trade, so he can certainly keep up with and contribute to the Leafs’ dynamic, fast-paced offense. That’s great news for Leafs fans, and it gets better since Colorado is retaining 50% of Barrie’s $5.5 million annual average salary. The newly acquired smooth skating D-man will certainly be discussed in Toronto for his work on the power play. There will also be speculation about what he’ll do next year considering Barrie’s on the last year of his contract.

Alex Kerfoot brings strong defensive instincts and a hard-nosed work ethic to his new team. He slots in perfectly as Toronto’s third line centre in the wake of Kadri’s departure. Last season, Kerfoot put up 15 goals and 42 points. The 24 year old recently signed a 4 year, $14 million dollar contract with the Leafs that locks him in at a comfortable $3.5 million AAV. The Leafs fill two positions with players that fit very well on affordable contracts, at least for 2019-20. This is great news considering the Leafs’ current cap situation, which is squeezed to the brim in lieu of Mitch Marner’s impending monster contract.

The Leafs obviously give up their longest serving player on the roster in Nazem Kadri. He grew up in Toronto, right in front of Leafs fans’ eyes. He put up 44 points in 48 games in the lockout shortened 2012-13 season, which was his coming out party as an important player for the Leafs. Then, Kadri had consecutive 32 goal campaigns in 2015-16 and 2016-17, while emerging as a leader on a young team.

The John Tavares acquisition was the beginning of the end for Kadri in Toronto. Naz became a valuable trade asset considering he’s a third line centre in Toronto, but remains a top 60 centre in the NHL. The man can play and lead, which fits perfectly for Colorado out west. He’ll flourish on a well run, dynamic Avs squad. Calle Rosen was defensive depth for the Buds, which remains an issue at this point. Nonetheless, with the addition of Barrie, Rosen was a plausible option to throw into the deal for the Leafs.

The Colorado Avalanche accomplish a couple important feats in this trade. They unload Tyson Barrie’s contract which gives more playing time to their emerging young defensemen, Cale Makar and Samuel Girard. The Avs knew that they wouldn’t be able to retain Barrie after this year, so moving him now makes sense.

They also add a bona fide second line centre in Kadri who will add scoring and tenacity to their lineup. If he can get back to his 30 goal form, this is a great deal for Colorado considering Kadri has three years left on a value contract of $4.5 million per year. Rosen has upside and can slot in as some depth on the blue line, which is always important to have.

Who won the trade?

At first glance, this trade seems like a win for Toronto more so than Colorado. They didn’t subtract too much from their roster since they replaced the hole left by Kadri with Kerfoot. Barrie fits in very well, but the Leafs may only get one year with him as he’s set to get a huge contract next summer.

With the cap issues that the Leafs have, it’s unlikely that they’ll retain him at this point. However, if Kadri pots 30 goals this year, the Avs go deep in the playoffs and Barrie leaves Toronto in 2020, I’d say Colorado came out on top. It really depends on what happens throughout the upcoming season and whether or not the Leafs can keep Barrie.

As of now, the Leafs win the trade.

Will this be a trade that both teams can look back on and be happy about? Or will one team look at this as a major mistake in a couple years? We can only wait and see.

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