Edmonton Oilers Get: Mark Fraser, 27, D:
By any stretch of the imagination, Fraser had a career year last season. He had been a depth / AHL D for his entire career before Burke picked him up for minor league depth.
He was one of Carlyle’s two experiments on the back-end last season (the one that worked!) and nobody – probably not even Kadri – benefited from the Leafs’ luck that year as Fraser did: he played a career high in minutes – despite playing 45 games – and led the team in plus-minus. He appeared, to some, to form a reliable pairing with Franson.
In all of this was forgotten that Fraser had only ever made it into 98 NHL games prior to being acquired by the Leafs and that it was asking too much of him to play Top 4 minutes (minus power-play time) in the NHL on a consistent basis. Certainly that’s not why Burke acquired him in the first place.
But Carlyle and Nonis drank the Koolaid of last season and so Fraser found himself playing again. I, for one, was a little too optimistic: “Obviously he will not match that +18 this season. Frankly all I want form him is that he shows it wasn’t a mistake to keep him around. Especially now that Liles appears to be buried in the minors.”
But Fraser has shown it was a mistake. His already low ppg is at a career low for any season in which he made it into more than 10 games, and he has shown himself to be slow and unreliable.
The Leafs need D, yes, but do they need players like Fraser?
Toronto Maple Leafs Get:
Cameron Abney, 22, RW:
Abney was drafted 82nd overall in 2009 and has played 18 games in the AHL since.
He is a goon. Need I say more?
Teemu Hartikainen, 23, LW:
Hartikainen was drafted 163rd overall in 2008 and his currently playing in the KHL, where he is scoring well (relatively speaking, it being the KHL). His AHL numbers are alright but hardly spectacular: 45G, 66A for 111P in 164 games (56 points per 82 games).
Presumably Hartikainen is the reason the Leafs made the deal, and so we must hope he has interest in playing in the NHL again.
Not that I wanted Fraser to stay on the team – I didn’t – but this feels like a rather poor haul for a man who was, briefly, in the Top 4 D on the Leafs. It certainly didn’t help the cause that he was getting scratched so much this year, and this is better than the Leafs’ likely other option: just demoting him and (maybe) losing him off waivers.
At least they got something back, but it’s not much. I doubt we’ll see Hartikainen any time soon, and if we see Abney it will be because he is punching someone in the face. Wonderful.