In an uncharacteristic rumour coming true, Brian Boyle has become a Maple Leaf. What we have seen from Shannahan and Co. is to not believe the rumors as this administration doesn’t allow leaks to hit the media. So all this makes this trade that much more amazing that it came true.
So to my excitement and that of Leafs Nation, it was announced by Bob MacKenzie via Twitter that Brian Boyle was coming to Toronto. Then came the usual cynicism that the Leafs had probably over committed to complete this deal. But once the deal was completed and we saw what the Leafs gave up in Bryon Froese and a second round pick to acquire Boyle the trade made much more sense and easy to support.
This is a shrewd trade from Toronto’s perspective after seeing the early trades and prices that teams were willing to pay to complete trades a day earlier.
Boyle has a reputation of being a great locker room guy and a great role model for the rookies on the team. But more importantly he brings the size and face off prowess that the team has lacked since Bozak has been injured. The Leafs can now ice a fourth line that will bring energy and defensive responsibility when they roll out Martin, Boyle and Soshnikov. Having him also on the PK can only help to bring positive results as well.
This trade also gives the rookies a jolt as it also says management believes in them to make the playoffs. For an up and coming team to get that vote of confidence is so important in the development of Matthews, Marner and Nylander.
It also says losing won’t be tolerated, winning is the key and even if it means one playoff round this year, it speaks volumes to where the Leafs now find themselves as the rookies have been a marvel. Many times we have seen teams develop a culture of losing which has hindered and/or delayed their rebuilds. Edmonton, Coyotes, Sabres have all seen years of losing and all started their rebuilds ahead of Toronto. With the exception of Edmonton who selected McDavid which has finally righted their ship the other two are in a long rebuild and behind Toronto in development and in the standings.
I have said it many times, winning breeds winning and setting a high bar for this team to reach is so important as this organization pursues winning a Stanley Cup and developing a deep organization to be competitive for many years to come. So I give management further credit as we see the next steps in their plan.
The Maple Leafs didn’t give up much of significance, Bryon Froese and second round pick is a small price to pay especially if they can resign Boyle for the next two years to shore up the centre position as Gauthier continues to develop further and hopefully can effectively replace Boyle down the road.
This is probably one trade in which many be more tinkering is to come. The Maple Leafs still have a hole or two on defence so making another trade to shore this up for this season and than refocus on the bigger picture in the summer where larger trades are more likely.
Deadline is still two days away, let the trades come in!