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It wasn’t surprising that the team finally pulled the trigger when moving their young Swedish forward Andreas Johnsson to the New Jersey Devils in what was mostly a salary mess. That said, general manager Kyle Dubas did secure a useful player for Johnsson in a trade that has worked well for both teams.
First element: the movement of the Maple Leafs, Andreas Johnsson (and Cap Hit) for Joey Anderson
As reported, later yesterday the Maple Leafs traded Johnsson to the Devils for Joey Anderson. Trading Johnsson was no surprise and hockey experts believed the Maple Leafs needed to trade him for a while, mainly so the team could clear a salary cap in their efforts to improve their defense.
Earlier this week, when Dubas signed both defenseman TJ Brodie and robust forward Wayne Simmonds, the need to clarify the salary cap space became imminent. With the trade, the Maple Leafs have effectively removed Johnsson’s $ 3.4 million cap over the next three seasons. It also helps the Devils take over Johnsson’s full contract. Just looking at the numbers, moving his contract, the Maple Leafs have now opened up about $ 2.3 million in ceiling space.
The move was primarily a financial exchange for the Maple Leafs, but Anderson is coming back. It’s hard to say what the organization has in mind for him. Anderson is a restricted free agent who has just completed his entry-level contract. He could be in the team’s last six, and the 22-year-old showed skill in scoring four goals and two assists in 18 games last season.
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However, Anderson has had some ups and downs between New Jersey and the AHL’s Binghamton Devils in recent seasons. He could face a similar situation this season within the Maple Leafs organization. There is a large group of forwards in Toronto, and unless Anderson shows up really well during training camp, he’s likely to play the opening minutes with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies.
From the Devils perspective, Johnsson could be a great addition to the squad. He scored 20 goals in the 2018-19 season and eight goals and 13 assists in 43 games during an injury-ridden 2019-20 season. Johnsson, 25, will likely play in the Devils’ top six and on the power play. He could be a great job for the Devils as the team begins to rebuild.
Point two: Travis Boyd signs one-year $ 700,000 deal with the Maple Leafs
Yesterday Travis Boyd signed a one-year, $ 700,000 contract with the Maple Leafs. The 27-year-old center has had some ups and downs between the Washington Capitals and their AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears, in recent seasons. During the 2019-20 season, he scored three goals and totaled 10 points in 24 games with the Capitals. However, during the 2018-19 season he played almost exclusively in Washington and scored five goals and 15 assists in 53 games played in the final six minutes.
If he’s playing with the Maple Leafs, he’s entered for the fourth row. However, he appears to have a bigger offensive advantage than most fourth in line. Boyd could also hang out with the Marlies.
Third point: Zach Bogosian signs with the Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs signed their second defenseman on the right side when they signed Zach Bogosian to a one-year contract for $ 1 million. The 30-year-old defenseman played with the Buffalo Sabers last season, then played 20 games helping the Tampa Bay Lightning win the Stanley Cup.
It’s been a crazy season for Bogosian, who went from being terminated by the Sabers to winning the Stanley Cup with the Lightning. He obviously believes in his abilities because the 12-year-old veteran defaulted on the $ 6 million remaining on his contract by refusing to report to the minors and having his contract suspended by the Sabers.
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Bogosian landed well, albeit a bit lighter in the wallet, after being picked up by the Lightning. What is his status on the team and where he is on the roster could be in question. He is both experienced and physical. He’s a classic defensive defender.
Point four: Funny how hockey happens
The Maple Leafs have now added two right-side defenders during free play, after signing Brodie on Friday. By the way, the Maple Leafs just released this video from 18 years ago – it’s interesting to see how hockey evolves.
What’s next with the Maple Leafs?
Right now, as I look at the squad lineup and the moves Dubas has made over the past few days that he hasn’t had to, I wonder if head coach Sheldon Keefe could consider moving Jason Spezza to the third row, perhaps. with Nick Robertson and Alex Kerfoot.
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Or maybe the organization is considering moving Kerfoot to another business and sandwiching Robertson between Spezza and the newly acquired Simmonds. Such a move could be interesting for young Robertson – he has the mentorship of Spezza and the protection of Simmonds as he learns the ropes of the NHL.
It’s an interesting time of year.