Why trading picks is a bad idea: A PSA from the Toronto Maple Leafs


It seems that for every day the Leafs haven’t won a Stanley Cup, there’s a really stupid trade that ended up in the Leafs trading a superstar’s draft pick rights. Here are some of the idiotic trades they’ve made that should convince you that trading picks is a bad idea.

(Only going back as far as September 2009)


Exhibit A:

The Leafs get a 2010 2nd round pick (#32), and the Blackhawks got a 2011 2nd round pick (#43) and a 2011 3rd round pick (#69).

This seems acceptable, as they traded later for now. The Leafs actually traded away pick 32 as a minor part of the next deal. The team who picked it up drafted Jared Knight, whose career is best described as a lifelong minors player, playing as a lower calibre AHLer/ high calibre ECHLer. He played last season in Denmark, his only pro season in Europe. 

With pick number 43 in the draft, the Hawks selected Brandon Saad, who is a fantastic player.  In a later trade he fetched 30 goal scorer Artemi Panarin.  Missing out on a guy like Saad and getting a pick that you never ended up using for anything is a huge blow. So is knowing you could’ve gotten the likes of Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov and Anthony Duclair as a result of trading it later on, and instead you got something that’d fetch an ECHLer.

All of this isn’t even considering the third rounder the Leafs traded in the same deal. Michael Paliotta is someone who I’d consider a middle range AHL defenseman. He only actually played 1 season in the Hawks organization, but was called up to one NHL game, that’s one more than the Leafs would’ve gotten off of who was picked with the pick they got. Paliotta ended up being shipped along with Saad for Anisimov and the asset that ended up getting Duclair. In short, the Hawks got players who ended up playing over 400 games and counting, in exchange for 0 NHL games.


Exhibit B:

The Boston Bruins trade Phil Kessel to the Leafs for a 2010 1st round pick (#2), a 2010 2nd (#32, aka the one acquired from Chicago before) and a 2011 1st.

Don’t get me wrong, I liked Kessel: nice guy, tries hard, loves the game. He did, even after years of being our best player, fetch Kasperi Kapanen.  Unlike the Leafs, the Bruins had a use for that 2010 2nd rounder, they drafted career minor leaguer Jared Knight.  Kessel for Knight isn’t really a loss for the Leafs. However, Tyler Seguin was picked with that 2010 first rounder. Seguin only played 3 seasons with the Bruins, but I am not talking about whether the other team benefitted or not, I am here to talk about the fact that the Leafs lost. Seguin has been a solid 70 point/ 30 goal scorer in the NHL. Imagine that, except on the Leafs. In fact, add that “Hometown Guy” title on him too. Tyler Seguin is an amazing player/ all-star.

How about that 2011 first? DOUGIE HAMILTON! You know how the Leafs really need a good defenseman, preferably right-handed, and young? Yeah, Dougie Hamilton. Hamilton has been a solid young defenseman for the Bruins/Flames. Now imagine that on the Leafs. The Leafs gave up over 900 games of Dougie Hamilton/Tyler Seguin (plus 0 from Jared Knight) for six seasons of  Phil Kessel, plus Kasperi Kapanen. If Toronto didn’t completely win the Phil Kessel trade or Frederik Andersen trade, I’d  say this was a huge loss. But the fact that the Leafs basically got Kasperi Kapanen, 6 seasons of Mr. 30 goal Phil Kessel, Kerby Rychel (via Scott Harrington), 15 NHL games (and 17 AHL games) of Scott Harrington, 35 games of Nick Spaling, Frederik Andersen (via the first rounder acquired in the 2nd Kessel trade), and J.D Greenway from Kessel (Along with a few minor pieces), is mind boggling. This one is basically up to choice, would you rather have Tyler Seguin, Dougie Hamilton, and Jared Knight for… everything I listed earlier?


Exhibit C

Leafs trade a 2010 4th rounder (#112) to the Caps, for a 2010 4th (#116) and 2010 5th (#146).

This can’t be that bad right? It’s just the Caps trying to go up a few picks. The Leafs got Petter Granberg with pick 116. Granberg wasn’t half bad. He was a really good prospect for the Leafs, playing solid in parts of two seasons with the Marlies, as well as 8 games with the Leafs. Unfortunately, his role slowly faded away, being leap frogged on the organization’s depth chart. He was quietly placed and claimed on waivers by Nashville, and currently plays in that organization. Daniel Brodin, the player drafted with pick 146, never actually played pro in North America. Two AHL seasons in total, not bad. So who did the Caps get again? With pick 112 they picked Philipp Grubauer!  As you might know, Phillipp Grubauer may be one of the best backups in the league. The Leafs lost Grubauer (7 seasons of solid NHL/AHL seasons, plus an extra ECHL season) for 2 seasons of AHL/NHL play.


Exhibit D:

Leafs trade a 2012 3rd rounder (#66) to LA for a 2010 3rd (#79).

The Leafs picked Sondre Olden. Olden showed promise as a Leafs prospect, but never actually came to North America to play pro. L.A actually traded their pick to Nashville. The Predators used their pick on Jimmy Vesey. Yes, yes, the Preds never actually signed Vesey, but maybe the Leafs would have had a better shot. Imagine that, the Leafs having Vesey, Marner, Nylander, Matthews, Bracco and so much more.


Exhibit E:

Leafs trade a 2011 first and second rounder (#30 and #39) to the Ducks for a 2011 first (#22).

The Leafs ended up picking Tyler Biggs. Biggs played parts of 3 seasons with the Marlies in the AHL and Solar Bears in the ECHL.  With pick number 30 in the 2011 draft the Ducks drafted Rickard Rakell! The first time all-star this year has scored over 80 goals in over 280 games already. Imagine that much more talent on offense. The Ducks also chose John Gibson at 39. Gibson would’ve been an amazing addition to the Leafs goaltending. This is less offensive, seeing as our goalie depth may actually become a problem soon.  To summarize, the Leafs gave up an All-Star and USA’s No. 1 or 2 goalie for a player who has never played an NHL game.


Exhibit F:

Leafs trade their 2011 6th round pick (#157) to the Ducks for their 2012 6th round pick (#159).

With pick 157 in the 2011 draft the Leafs picked Ryan Rupert. Rupert provided the Leafs organization with two seasons split in the AHL and ECHL. He was later traded as a super minor part of the Dion Phaneuf trade. With their pick, the Anaheim Ducks took Josh Manson. Manson has been involved in dozens of trade rumors with the Leafs over the years, so imagine the 26 year old, cheap, right-handed defenseman on the Leafs. The Ducks have gotten parts of 4 NHL seasons and counting out of Manson, whereas Rupert never played an NHL game with the Leafs.


After a while, it gets harder to find picks worth moping about, it seems the Leafs have righted their wrongs, or it’s just that I haven’t given some picks long enough to prove to us that the Leafs screwed up.


Note: Ondrej Kase is someone I didn’t write about here. The Leafs traded away his draft pick a few years back. It’s his second season in the NHL and at the time of writing, he’s on pace for almost 29 goals if he were to play 82 games. Ouch.

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