With Burke gone, and with Nonis as yet an unknown entity as a Leafs GM, I don’t really know what to call my latest evaluations of Leafs trades, so maybe I will retroactively change it to something else if I am indeed forced to launch a campaign to fire Nonis, but the way he has started off things, I hope I won’t have that problem.
Maple Leafs Get: Conditional 3rd / 4th Rounder (became Toronto’s 2014 4th round pick)
Coyotes Get: Mathew Lombardi, LW/C, age 30
The Leafs had a log-jam at LW going into this season, with Lombardi being the most obvious choice for 4th line minutes only because of his terrible post-injury season last year. Lombardi’s contract was terrible, but he was acquired, essentially, as a fee for trading Lebda for Franson. This trade changes that previous trade trade to
- Lebda, Slaney and a 4th round pick this summer for
- Franson and a 3rd or 4th round pick next summer.
On paper, the trade remains excellent: Lebda was an absolute disaster for the Leafs, Slaney is likely a career minor leaguer and a 4th round pick is only valuable if it’s a deep draft and Phoenix has great scouts. (And honestly, I have no idea if they do.)
The problem for the Leafs – because of Ron Wilson, not because of Burke or Nonis necessarily – is that the Leafs didn’t play Franson enough last season to know if he’s legit. If he is, this trade accomplishes two things:
- it get’s Lombardi’s salary off the books and
- it makes the Lebda-Franson trade resemble highway robbery even more.
If Franson is not legit – or if the Leafs let him walk before finding out whether or not he is legit – then all this accomplishes is the removal of Lombardi’s salary.
So either way it’s a positive thing.