Late last night, Lou Lamoriello wasn’t close to getting any sleep like the rest of us as he continued working the phones on yet another deal.
TRADE: @MapleLeafs acquire 2016 2nd-rnd pick, Connor Carrick & Brooks Laich from Washington for Daniel Winnik & Anaheim’s 2016 5th-rnd pick.
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) February 29, 2016
The Toronto Maple Leafs traded forward Daniel Winnik and a fifth-round pick in 2016 (originally belonged to the Anaheim Ducks) to the Washington Capitals for forward Brooks Laich, prospect Connor Carrick and a 2016 second-round pick.
This is the second time that Winnik has been traded by the Leafs. He was dealt to the Pittsburgh Penguins last year before the deadline.
At this point, the Capitals are in it for the win to challenge the Chicago Blackhawks for the Stanley Cup. With a deep top six that features the likes of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and rising star Evgeny Kuznetsov, Winnik will continue to provide a depth role in their bottom six to potentially bring a Cup to Washington. He’s a great skater who can be relied on in any situation. With the Leafs, Winnik averaged 1:41 on the penalty-kill a game. He has four goals and 14 points with the Leafs this year.
The Leafs gave up a fifth-round pick and upgraded it to another second-round pick in this year’s draft. They currently have eight picks in the first four rounds of the draft. It’s clear that the plan to draft and develop prospects is still key for the Leafs future success.
The Leafs also take on a hefty contract in Laich to help the Captials out with their cap situation. With a cap hit of $4.5 million, the Leafs have the flexibility to take on his deal.
Laich appears to be hitting a rough patch in his career. The 32-year-old was recently waived in hopes of gaining some cap space. Offensively, Laich is struggling. He only has one goal and seven points in 60 games played this year. Laich has seen his ice-time drop and duties change with the likes of Kuznetsov and Andre Burakovsky getting more of an opportunity. Laich’s averaging 10:32 of ice time this year, a significant decrease from his total TOI/game last year (14:43) and in 2013/14 (17:15). Laich also missed a number of games last year due to multiple injuries.
The bright-side to this deal is the acquisition of Connor Carrick, a fifth-round pick in 2012. Carrick has spent most of the season with the Hershey Bears in the American Hockey League notching 10 goals and 16 assists in 47 games played.
The scouting report on Carrick is that he is a great mobile defensemen with great offensive potential. He has the making of a great producer on the power play and could be valuable to the Leafs top four for the future. Carrick also fills out their defensive depth with the likes of Viktor Loov and Stuart Percy. With a top four of John Carlson, Karl Alzner, Dmitry Orlov and Matt Niskanen, Carrick was on the outside looking in.
All in all, the Leafs got a good return for Winnik. While Laich isn’t the key piece, the Leafs add to their prospect pool and accumulation of draft picks to continue to build for the future. Carrick has the makings of a great puck-moving defensemen with great offensive abilities. While it’ll be interesting to see what the Leafs will do with Laich, he will provide a great veteran presence with the club while the young ones start to come up.