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Power-ranking Maple Leafs’ 10 best trades since 2010

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In sifting through the long list of Toronto Maple Leafs trades processed over the past 10 years, a few things stand out.

For one, as much as fans and critics fawn over these team-to-team transactions — some not-so-shocking news: nothing does page views on Sportsnet.ca like trade stories do — the vast majority of trades have little to no consequence on the success of either team. Salary dumps; low-risk, low-payoff rentals; and minor leaguers crowd trade histories.

(I recall Dion Phaneuf’s 2016 midseason trade from Toronto to Ottawa doing silly traffic on our site. Nine pieces were involved! Sports talk and blog fodder for days! Yet outside of Phaneuf’s contributions to the Sens’ remarkable 2017 playoff run, the total impact of all the players involved to their new teams was minimal.)

Secondly, we are reminded how rare it is to win a trade when dealing within your own conference. Seven of our top 10 Leafs deals of the 2010s were consummated with a Western Conference team.

Finally, as hard as it is to knock a one-for-one hockey trade out the park, those are the ones that can really soar — or sting. And it’s a pair of intra-conference, one-for-one trades that take silver and gold in these rankings.

(Note: While we support February’s trade for Jack Campbell and Kyle Clifford, L.A.’s full return is still unknown, so we withheld judgment.)

Here is a list of the best deals, from the Leafs’ point of view, Toronto has made since 2010.

Senior Writer Ryan Dixon and NHL Editor Rory Boylen always give it 110%, but never rely on clichés when it comes to podcasting. Instead, they use a mix of facts, fun and a varied group of hockey voices to cover Canada’s most beloved game.

10. Dubas stacks up by trading down

To Toronto: 2018 first-round pick (Rasmus Sandin), 2018 third-round pick (Semyon Der-Arguchintsev)

To St. Louis: 2018 first-round pick (25, Dominik Bokk)

June 22, 2018

Who knows? Maybe Bokk — a 20-year-old prospect since traded by the Blues to Carolina — will eventually move to North America and light it up, but right now the German is putting up modest numbers in the Swedish league.

The Leafs, on the other hand, have already begun reaping the rewards of trading down in the first round of the 2018 draft. Dubas exchanged the 25th-overall pick for the 29th and 76th. Sandin, 20, made the big club out of camp in ’19 and already looks destined for Toronto’s top four, while the diminutive Der-Arguchintsev put up a silly-good 75 points in 55 games with the Peterborough Petes this season and is begging for a greater challenge.

9. Somebody to hit somebody

To Toronto: Jake Muzzin

To Los Angeles: Carl Grundstrom, Sean Durzi’s rights, 2019 first-round pick (Tobias Bjornfot)

Jan. 28, 2019

While it’s impossible to fully evaluate this 2019 pre-deadline swap until the three Kings develop to their full potential, Muzzin is far and away the most valuable piece of the deal right now. The fact that string-puller Kyle Dubas re-signed Muzzin for four seasons beyond his year-and-half rental period has underscored how well the trade has paid off for the Leafs, who secured a pure shutdown defender with leadership, sandpaper and a booming shot.

Bjornfot, 18, was actually having a lovely AHL rookie campaign, putting up 19 points and a plus-13 rating in 44 games on the Ontario Reign’s back end and earning a brief NHL call-up. Power forward Grundstrom, 22, remains an excellent AHLer who has yet to carve an NHL niche. And Durzi, 21, signed with the Kings and jumped to the AHL after five OHL seasons.

8. Flipping a scratched forward into a stud prospect

To Toronto: 2019 fourth-round pick (Nick Abruzzese)

To St. Louis: Nikita Soshnikov

Feb. 16, 2018

Soshnikov, 26, was the type of energetic, feisty forward whose value likely got trumped up by plying his trade in hockey’s busiest media market. Toronto didn’t have enough ice time for all its depth wingers in 2018, so Lou Lamoriello traded the Russian for a fourth. Hampered by injuries, “Sosh” played all of 17 NHL games and scored just once over two seasons with the Blues before tearing up the KHL with Salavat Yulayev this season.

Toronto’s delayed fourth-rounder, however, was used by Dubas to secure what appears to be a steal. Abruzzese, a centreman, wowed in his rookie year with Harvard and is on our radar as one of the most talented prospects in the Leafs’ pipeline.

7. Burkie in a blowout

To Toronto: Cody Franson, Matthew Lombardi

To Nashville: Brett Lebda, Robert Slaney, 2013 fourth-round pick (Zachary Pochiro)

July 3, 2011

An edgy right-shot defender, Franson would devote the bulk of his four most productive NHL campaigns to the Maple Leafs, logging significant minutes and chipping in 21 to 33 assists in each of his seasons in Canada. The Leafs also got a year of service out of depth forward Lombardi.

David Poile, who was looking for futures from Brian Burke, watched Lebda, Slaney and Pochiro combine for a grand total of zero games played in Nashville.

Worse for the Preds? Poile rented Franson (plus Mike Santorelli) back from tank-job Toronto at the 2015 deadline in exchange for a first-round pick, Brenden Leipsic and Olli Jokinen. (Nashville’s playoff hopes were quickly extinguished in six games by the eventual champion Blackhawks.)

6. Two draft picks are greater than one

To Toronto: 2015 second-round pick (Travis Dermott), 2015 third-round pick (Martins Dzierkals)

To Columbus: 2015 first-round pick (Gabriel Carlsson)

June 26, 2015

Another great example of Toronto trading down in the draft and doubling its chances of uncovering a real player.

While 23-year-old Columbus defence prospect Carlsson has underwhelmed for a first-rounder — three NHL assists scattered over 23 games in four seasons — last time we saw the Leafs, second-rounder Dermott logged more ice time than anyone else in an important March 10 victory over Tampa Bay. Dzierkals, 22, didn’t stick on this side of the pond and is playing in the Finnish Elite League, but the slick-skating, puck-moving Dermott (a pending RFA) still has a chance to be a top-four fixture in Toronto for years to come.

5. The cross-country blockbuster

To Toronto: Dion Phaneuf, Keith Aulie, Fredrik Sjostrom

To Calgary: Matt Stajan, Ian White, Jamal Mayers, Niklas Hagman

Jan. 31, 2010

Should Phaneuf have been named captain so quick? Probably not. Did he end up getting overpaid at the end of his Toronto tenure? Sure. But that doesn’t subtract from the fact the Leafs got the best player in their 2010, nine-player blockbuster with Calgary. The hard-nosed defenceman played huge minutes for six seasons.

Toronto also sold high on Hagman. After two 20-goal showings with Toronto, he never scored more than 11 Calgary.

Of the trade’s other components, Stajan was easily the most enduring figure, lasting in Calgary through 2017-18 and becoming a regraded leader in the room.

4. Fred-die! Fred-die!

To Toronto: Frederik Andersen

To Anaheim: 2016 first-round pick (Sam Steel), 2017 conditional second-round pick (Maxime Comtois)

June 20, 2016

Easily the biggest win-win Maple Leafs deal of the decade.

Thanks to Lamoriello’s work here, the Maple Leafs secured their best goaltender in a decade (previously, Ed Belfour) and a much-needed security blanket for a young squad’s defensive woes. The workhorse Andersen set a new franchise record for regular-season wins (38) in 2017-18 and became the fastest European-born goalie to reach 200 wins earlier this season.

Meanwhile, in Disneyland, Andersen’s departure allowed John Gibson to thrive in a No. 1 role, and both Steel and Comtois have a fantastic shot at being core Ducks forwards for years to come.

3. Getting younger and faster

To Toronto: Joffrey Lupul, Jake Gardiner, 2013 fourth-round pick (Fredrik Bergvik)

To Anaheim: Francois Beauchemin

Feb. 9, 2011

The Ducks would get four-and-half more great years out of respected, stay-at-home, veteran d-man Beauchemin in his Anaheim return, including a stellar plus-62 run from 2012 to 2015 that included two deep post-season runs.

But in Lupul and Gardiner, Burke brought in two young, key pieces that would transcend to top-line essentials at their peak. (Prospect Bergvik never left the Swedish pro circuit.) Forever playing injury-shortened seasons, Lupul hit a career-high 67 points in 2011-12, earned a trip to the all-star game and thrived with Phil Kessel.

Before a bad back got the better of him, Gardiner skated eight seasons with the Leafs, reaching a high of 52 points and helping turn a turbulent roster into a playoff team.

2. He gets the puck

To Toronto: Zach Hyman

To Florida: Gregg McKegg

June 19, 2015

Absolutely, McKegg would use Florida has a destination to establish himself as an NHL-calibre depth centre, and the 27-year-old has now carved a nice veteran niche for himself down the Rangers’ lineup.

But the still-improving Hyman, also 27, has been a fixture in a Maple Leafs’ top six that was on the brink of driving his hometown organization to a fourth consecutive playoff appearance. Even though he’s paid to forecheck and kill penalties, Hyman has posted back-to-back 21-goal campaigns and draws the best out of elite centremen Auston Matthews and John Tavares.

At the time of the deal — which was sealed during Brendan Shanahan’s three-month transitional period between firing general manager Dave Nonis and hiring Lamoriello — Florida threw in a conditional 2017 seventh-round draft pick if Hyman refused to sign in Toronto.

Yeah, Hyman’s probably better than the pick.

1. Burke’s parting gift to Leafs Nation

To Toronto: James van Riemsdyk

To Philadelphia: Luke Schenn

June 23, 2012

The last NHL Draft Brian Burke worked as Toronto’s GM was one of his best. Not only did he surprise with the excellent selection of defenceman Morgan Rielly higher than anticipated (No. 5) but he and then-Flyers GM Paul Holmgren plotted a one-for-one deal to unite the Schenn brothers in Philadelphia.

While defenceman Luke did play three-and-a-half decent seasons in Philly, Toronto got James van Riemsdyk’s prime scoring years. The silky-handed left winger thrived alongside elite righties like Kessel and, later, Mitch Marner. JVR finished off power plays with ease, hitting the 30-goal and 60-point marks twice each before walking back to Philadelphia as a free agent in 2018.

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Never mind the disallowed goal, Flames couldn’t keep up with the Oilers’ track meet – Sportsnet.ca

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The Calgary Flames built their reputation on Darryl Sutter Hockey – that heavy-forechecking, quality-defending style that smothers opponents and wins back pucks, which makes the burden of creating offence a struggle for their opposition. On the backs of that plan, the Flames allowed the third-fewest goals during the regular season. They were a force.

The Edmonton Oilers can be given no greater compliment than the way the Flames were reduced to playing in the Battle of Alberta, chasing more and more offence to try to keep up with an Oilers top-six that simply could not be stopped. There was a desperation there that we hadn’t seen from the Flames, and by Game 5 I kept thinking, “Just catch the pass and shoot it” rather than trying to rush a one-timer on a hot pass or on one that was in a bad spot. Their usual poise disappeared.

A look at a few of those fanned one-timers in Game 5:

By the end, little of the Flames’ identity was left, not the physical play, not the elite goaltending, or the line of Gaudreau-Lindholm-Tkachuk, which was arguably the best in the league in 2021-22.

The Flames played with offensive impatience, which left room for the Oilers to fly back the other way. Too often it became a track meet, and with that style imposed on the series, the Flames, ironically, were cooked. Rush chances were 11-3 for the Oilers in Game 5.

Apparently, there was also a goal disallowed, but the things below are about how the Oilers got the Flames in a position where one play not going their way could mean the end of the series, and their season.

How did the Oilers do it?

McDavid-Draisaitl

I was tempted to skip over this obvious point because you, the reader, are well aware of what Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl do. But I just couldn’t. How could I? Everything about the Oilers hinged on this, with two players combining for **checks stats** – no, that can’t be right – **checks again** 29 points in five games. They set all kinds of records.

The Flames got much better at slowing down McDavid in Games 4 and 5, but it took all their focus and attention, which opened them up everywhere else.

Depth contributions from Kane, Hyman, RNH

In Game 5, Zach Hyman had one goal and two assists for three points, he was plus-4, he had seven shots, he played nearly 24 minutes, he led the team in hits, he had a big blocked shot, there’s just not much more I can say about this guy.

In the summer, I use a plastic oar to stir my kids’ kiddie pool and get the water going in a “whirlpool,” and that’s what happens when Hyman is on the ice. He’s an oar, and he gets the play going in the direction he’s skating whenever he’s out there.

With McDavid and Draisaitl sucking up all the attention – as they have in years past – the question was asked of the Oilers depth: when those guys see all the best defending, can you capitalize on your extra space or weaker opposition?

Hyman said yes. Evander Kane said yes; he’s on pace to threaten the all-time playoff goals record of 19 (he has 12, so if they Oilers play two more rounds … ?). Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had six points in five games; the Nuge said yes too.

McDavid and Draisaitl were like a collective boxer doing so much damage to the body in the early rounds that their opposition starts to drop their hands, while these guys were suddenly free to take shots at the head.

Good coaching

I thought Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft showed a willingness to be flexible and go away from what’s worked if it wasn’t working on a given night. Case in point: Kane had been on an unbelievable run alongside McDavid, as mentioned above. It would’ve been easy to leave him in that role, no matter what. This is speculation on my part, but I don’t think the Oil loved how Kane defended a Flames set breakout early in the game, followed by his positioning on the Andrew Mangiapane goal. Whether it was that or something else, Woodcroft bumped Kane off that line for Hyman, who did … all the things I mentioned in the section above. It was the perfect change in a game McDavid didn’t have an inch of room and couldn’t create much or drive play. Hyman did it for that line at times.

I also given Woodcroft credit for sticking with what would give the team the best chance in the big picture: Mike Smith over Mikko Koskinen. After Game 1, he could’ve bailed on Smith and been justified. Then Game 2 starts with two softies, where you’d think he’d have a hair trigger, but he stuck with Smith yet again. The roller coaster Mike Smith Experience includes the type of highs you need to get by great opponents, and Woodcroft gave their team the chance to see that through.

An exposed weakness, and a surprise goaltending slump

Flames coach Darryl Sutter gave a telling response in a post-game when he talked about their “inexperienced defence.” They don’t have guys who’ve seen deep runs playing D for them, and, in the end, the little defensive gaffes made just enough room for the Oilers (a miscommunication with Noah Hanifin and Elias Lindholm on the OT winner cost them) to expose them. In Game 5, the Oilers had 18 slot shots to the Flames’ nine.

The Flames needed goaltending to bail them out, but Edmonton has had Jacob Markstrom’s number all year. He ended up posting just an .852 save percentage in the series, and the crease was supposed to be where the Flames had a clear advantage. I haven’t heard it said much lately, but McDavid is in an awkward body position on that OT winner and doesn’t get a ton on it. They needed a few more saves from Markstrom.

When all is said and done, the Battle of Alberta was decided because the Oilers’ best players had their ‘A’ games, and that dictated everything that came next from the Flames. Calgary was reduced to counterpunching, when it had been used to coming out swinging.

In the NHL, the sport’s all-time greats almost always find their way to a championship, as at some level they become all their opponents can think about and the team around them is free to rise up. That’s what’s been happening for the Oilers, and no matter who their next opponent is, that game plan has every chance of being effective in yet another round.

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Rangers focused on forcing Hurricanes to deciding game – Sportsnet.ca

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The New York Rangers return home knowing they need a win at home to keep their post-season going. The Carolina Hurricanes are still looking for their first road victory in these playoffs.

After Carolina won 3-1 on Thursday night to take a 3-2 series lead, the Rangers will be looking to force a deciding game in the second-round series when they host the Hurricanes in Game 6 on Saturday night (8 p.m. EDT, ESPN) on Sportsnet.

“We lost a game and we didn’t play as well as we could have, so I was disappointed,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said Friday. “That’s playoffs, that’s the way she goes. We’ll be ready to go tomorrow night and that’s what we’re looking forward to.

“Just worry about tomorrow and take care of business.”

A must-win game is nothing new for these Rangers. They trailed 3-1 against Pittsburgh in the first round, then won three straight — becoming the first team in NHL history to rally from a deficit in three consecutive elimination games — to advance.

“We’ve been in this position before,” New York forward Ryan Strome said. “I like our chances on home ice. … We’re familiar with the situation. Got a chance at home to push it to (Game) 7 and that’s all we’re worried about now.”

The Rangers also trailed in this series after losing the first two games in Carolina. They returned home and won Games 3 and 4 to even the series. Now, they have to win at home again to tie the series one more time.

“The feel in that dressing room is super confident at all times and I think the first series helped a little bit,” Strome said. “And having to win Games 3 and 4 (in this series), those are pretty must-win games and we did a pretty good job. We can draw from those experiences.”

And what those experiences have taught the Rangers is to have a singular focus on the task at hand, and not worry about the series or deficits.

“Well, your backs are against the wall,” Gallant said. “You go out and you play your game. You know if you lose this game there’s no tomorrow. We did that real well last series, hopefully we can do it again tomorrow. I don’t think we change anything strategy-wise. We just go out there and play our game.”

Forward Chris Kreider agreed, adding: “We’ve got to win one game. … Lot of things we could take from (Game 5 loss) and do a better job of. Learn from that and win one game. Win the first shift, win the first period and go from there.”

The Hurricanes are also trying to win one game — on the road, for the first time in the post-season. After their latest victory, they improved to 7-0 at home, but are 0-5 on the road.

Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour isn’t concerned by the team’s lack of road wins, though he acknowledges people talk a lot about it.

“That’s a non-issue,” he said. “It’s all I hear about endlessly. We haven’t played poorly on the road. Our game’s been fine. There’s a couple of things that have gone squirrelly. … We’re playing good teams. That’s how it goes.”

The Hurricanes regained the series lead with a strong defensive effort in Game 5, limiting the Rangers to 17 shots on goal — including five in each of the first two periods.

“Does it transfer over, obviously we hope so,” Brind’Amour said. “I don’t usually take a lot of stock one game into the next, good or bad. It’s always about the next game and it takes a life of it’s own but definitely the way we want to do it.”

If the Hurricanes keep up their trend this post-season, the deciding Game 7 would be Monday night at home. But that’s not something they want to think about right now.

“We’re going to give it our best,” Brind’Amour said. “We’re going to try to win (Saturday). We do every night. Nothing really changes. Obviously, we don’t want to come back (home) and have another game. We’re going to do everything we can to win tomorrow night.”

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Warriors top Mavs in Game 5, advance to NBA Finals – TSN

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — As the clock ticked down the final seconds, Klay Thompson began dancing on the sideline before nearly being moved to tears during a celebration with his teammates.

After two major surgeries and two years of grueling rehabilitation, Thompson is rounding back into form and shot the Golden State Warriors back into the NBA Finals.

Thompson shimmied his way to 32 points and the Warriors advanced to their sixth finals in the past eight seasons by beating the Dallas Mavericks 120-110 in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals on Thursday night.

“It’s hard to put into words really,” Thompson said. “This time last year, I was just starting to jog again and get up and down the court. Now to be feeling like myself, feeling explosive, feeling sure in my movements, I’m just grateful.”

Thompson tore his left ACL during a season-ending Game 6 loss in the 2019 NBA Finals against Toronto and then tore his right Achilles’ tendon just before the start of the 2020-21 season. After Golden State missed the postseason in both seasons he was sidelined, Thompson finally returned to action in January.

The performance against the Mavericks showed he is getting close to returning to his old level of stardom.

Thompson scored 19 points in the first half, including a 3-pointer that he punctuated with teammate Stephen Curry‘s signature shake as the Warriors raced out to a 17-point halftime lead and coasted the rest of the way.

“You could see how much was missing the last couple of years,” Draymond Green said. ”We’re lucky to have the Klay Thompson we know back because we know how good he is.”

Andrew Wiggins added 18 points and 10 rebounds, Green scored 17 points and Curry had 15 points and nine assists. He was named the MVP of the series.

Luka Doncic overcame a slow start to score 28 points for the Mavericks. Spencer Dinwiddie added 26.

After missing the playoffs in 2020 and ’21 in back-to back injury-plagued seasons, the Warriors are returning to a familiar stage. They join the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls of the 1990s, Magic Johnson’s Lakers in the 1980s and Bill Russell’s Celtics in the 1950s and ’60s as the only franchises to make it to the NBA Finals at least six times in an eight-year span.

“For our team, our guys, especially the core group, to be part of that six times in eight years, I don’t even know what to say,” coach Steve Kerr said. “It just takes an enormous amount of skill and determination and work.”

Golden State will host the winner of the Eastern Conference finals between Boston and Miami on June 2 in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. The Celtics hold a 3-2 lead heading into Game 6 at home on Friday night.

The Warriors followed their pattern from the first two rounds by bouncing back after squandering a chance to end a series on the road by winning at home. Golden State is now 9-0 at the Chase Center this postseason, tying the 2017 team for the the most consecutive home wins in a single postseason in NBA history.

After making just seven 3-pointers in the first four games of the series, Thompson had eight this game for the record-setting fifth time in the playoffs.

The last two have come in clinchers the last two rounds against Memphis and Dallas, prompting the question on whether his nickname should switch from “Game 6 Klay” for his history in that game to “Clinching Klay.”

“I’m satisfied with ‘Game 6 Klay.’ I don’t need another nickname,” Thompson said with a smile. “It’s nice not having to bring him out yet.”

Thompson gave the Warriors a 13-point lead in the first half when he hit one from the corner before dancing and added two early in the third quarter for a 23-point lead.

Dallas cut a 25-point deficit down to eight in the final minute of the third quarter but couldn’t get over the hump in the fourth.

“I don’t like losing, especially not like this,” Doncic said. “I played terrible. But if we’re talking about our season, I’m really proud of this team. … Nobody had us here. But I promise we fought until the end.”

SLOW START

Doncic had a rough start, shooting 2 for 10 in the first quarter. His eight misses were tied for the most in the opening quarter of a playoff game since LeBron James missed all nine of his attempts in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against Atlanta in 2015.

Doncic was held to six points in the first half, his lowest opening half of his postseason career, on 2-for-12 shooting before finding his stroke in the third quarter.

“We need Luka to go big a lot of nights just to give us a chance, and unfortunately the ball just didn’t go for him tonight,” coach Jason Kidd said. “I think he carries the load as well as anyone, and I think for us as an organization, we’ll help lighten that load as we go forward.”

MOODY MANIA

With Otto Porter (left foot) sidelined for a second straight game, the Warriors got a big boost in the first half from 19-year-old rookie Moses Moody.

Moody scored all of his seven points in the second quarter with his 3-pointer giving Golden State a 56-38 lead. Moody scored just six points the first three games of this series for the Warriors before scoring 17 the past two games with Porter sidelined.

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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