In case you missed it, Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello elected to stand pat yesterday during the frenzy of action during the NHL’s trade deadline. Sure, the Leafs acquired veteran center Tomas Plekanec the day before from the rival Montreal Canadiens, but aside from that things were relatively quiet in Leaf Land.
There were rumours that the Leafs may shop some of their pending unrestricted free-agents, most notably James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak and Leo Komarov, but Lamorirello maintained that the group inside the Leafs’ dressing room deserves a chance to win together.
“We’re extremely pleased with this group,” said Lamoriello to reporters following yesterday’s trade deadline. “What we set out to do was add a centre ice man with experience and we were able to do that.”
“Right now, we did have the opportunity to get Tomas Plekanec and he fits right in with what we are trying to do and where we are going,” continued Lamoriello. “He is a consummate professional and he can play. He knows how to play the game and we’ve solidified our centre position, which I think we all know how important that is.”
But, as is often the case with the Leafs, the real story isn’t the moves they made, it’s the moves they didn’t make that generate the biggest buzz. And yesterday, Lamoriello made huge waves across the NHL when he admitted that he was “in” on negotations with the New York Rangers for defenceman Ryan McDonagh, before talks fell apart.
“We certainly inquired on Ryan McDonagh.”
Wooooow… could you imagine? As it turns out, McDonagh was traded to the Tampa Bay Lighting, along with forward JT Miller, for a package of young players and draft picks:
So… how close were the Leafs to landing McDonagh? We may never know, but Lamoriello wasn’t shy yesterday to admit that he was aggressive in pursuit. When asked if a deal hinged on either Mitch Marner or William Nylander, Lamoriello wouldn’t take the bait. When pushed further and asked whether or not he did not consider moving either player, he simply replied, “that’s fair to say.”