Top News

Maple Leafs make two small trades amid crisis

Maple Leafs Mitch Marner teaches Kyle Clifford's son Brody the fist pump celebration after Brody beat goalie Jack Campbell during a little one-on-one play at the end of practice  in Toronto on Wednesday.Jack Boland/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network
Maple Leafs Mitch Marner teaches Kyle Clifford's son Brody the fist pump celebration after Brody beat goalie Jack Campbell during a little one-on-one play at the end of practice in Toronto on Wednesday.Jack Boland/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

You won’t mistake Malgin for Malkin.

Even though both should be added to their respective team’s lineup for the second half of the home-and-home between the Leafs and Penguins on Thursday, Denis is a 5-foot-9 Swiss-born forward acquired by Toronto on Wednesday from Florida for Mason Marchment, while Evgeni is an all-star with 64 points in 38 games against the Leafs exclusively.

The Malgin deal was curious on two fronts, the swap of a scarce size commodity for the Leafs for more skill, and the fact that they bartered with a Panthers team nipping at their heels for a playoff spot.

“It gives us another NHL player,” said coach Sheldon Keefe of the 23-year-old Malgin’s 184 games. “Paul McFarland (who coached Malgin in Florida) talks about him as not just a small, skilled guy, but a competitor.

“When he’s played with good players (once with a teenaged Auston Matthews on the Zurich Lions) he’s succeeded. It’s not gone as well for him this year (12 points in 36 games), but we need a little extra depth. Two teams saw a need and we found a way to get a younger player, ready to contribute.”

Keefe hoped that Malgin would have no jet lag issues on Thursday after leaving the Panthers’ U.S. West Coast trip. Malkin, a late scratch Tuesday against the Leafs, was hardly missed in the easy 5-2 win in which Sidney Crosby inflicted the most damage to reach 63 points in 44 games against the Buds.

AND ONE MORE DEAL …

Late Wednesday, the Leafs acquired right winger Max Verroneau from Ottawa, a former Hobey Baker finalist from Princeton, sending forward Aaron Luchuk back to Bytown. The undrafted Verroneau, who is 6-foot-1, appeared in four games for Ottawa this season when not on the farm in Belleville, after 12 appearances in 2018-19 following his graduation last spring.

Luchuk goes back to the team that put him in the big summer trade centred around Cody Ceci and Ben Harpur joining the Leafs for Connor Brown and Nikita Zaitsev.

WILLY GETS PEP TALK

One of Keefe’s personal chats at Wednesday’s workout was with William Nylander, ending with a chuckle between them and a stick tap from the coach. Nylander has six points in eight games this month, but like many Leafs, has veered from the script of late.

“Just checking to see where he’s at, how he’s feeling since coming back from his illness (a nasty flu bug), get his perspective on things,” Keefe said. “Also reminding him he’s an important player for us. The offence isn’t always going to be there, but we need him to remain engaged on every shift and in on every single puck. He has more to offer in that regard, but there has been a larger sample of him being very good.”

JOHNSSON DONE

Winger Andreas Johnsson is done for the season after knee surgery on Wednesday morning.

“It was a miniscus situation,” Keefe said. “One scenario, (doctors) were going to remove it and in that case it would’ve been six to eight weeks or whatever, but they were able to repair it, which is better for him, but a longer recovery.

“If that’s what’s best for him, that’s what’s best for us.”

Marlies forward Egor Korshkov remains with the Leafs for now, but was used as an eighth defenceman on Wednesday, pending Malgin’s arrival.

LOOSE LEAFS

The Leafs giving up three power-play goals to Pittsburgh, after having not surrendered more than one since Keefe replaced Mike Babcock, stung everyone and was given priority at practice. “Unacceptable for our PK as a whole,” said defenceman Justin Holl. “In a 5-2 game, that’s the whole difference. And the way it happened so quickly, it takes us out of the game early” … Keefe was sad to part ways with Marchment, one of his long-term Marlies projects, who came from nowhere, earned an entry-level contract and battled injuries to get a brief look with the Leafs. “A great kid, he’s put in a ton of work, but we’re unable to find consistent (ice time) for him. I hope for his sake it works out. He was an undrafted player, whom we were able to trade for an NHL asset” … The Marlies played a school day game Wednesday afternoon at Coca-Cola Coliseum, losing 5-3 to Binghamton. Veteran Matt Read had two goals. “The whole line (Read, Tyler Gaudet and Garrett Wilson) has been carrying the team the last couple games,” said coach Greg Moore … With the trading of Marchment, the absence of Jeremy Bracco and Korshkov’s recall, the Marlies have brought up forwards Colt Conrad, Giorgio Estephan and Riley Woods from the ECHL Newfoundland Growlers … The Leafs were all in green and white on Wednesday, breaking in Toronto St. Patricks-themed equipment for their March 17 home game against New Jersey.

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020

Recent Stories