The Toronto Maple Leafs and Colorado Avalanche pulled off a blockbuster trade Monday. It was an increasingly rare trade with high-profile players on the move in each direction.
The Avalanche received center Nazem Kadri, who has scored more than 30 goals in two of the past three NHL seasons, defenseman Calle Rosen, who has spent the majority of the past two seasons in the American Hockey League, and Toronto's third-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. The Maple Leafs received defenseman Tyson Barrie, who has 307 points (75 goals, 232 assists) in 484 NHL games, forward Alexander Kerfoot, a restricted free agent who has 85 points (34 goals, 51 assists) in 157 NHL games and a sixth-round selection in the 2020 draft.
Who got the best of this blockbuster? It's hard to say, which is what makes it such an intriguing trade. We asked five NHL.com writers to try to sort it all out.
Nick Cotsonika, columnist
I especially love this trade for the Avalanche. They had a significant drop-off after their usual top line of Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen. Not only does Kadri become their second-line center, he's signed for three more seasons. Though he scored 16 goals last season, he scored 32 goals each of the prior two seasons and can play a shutdown defensive role. Barrie is tough to give up. But he turns 28 on July 26 and is signed for one more season, and the Avalanche have a surplus of dynamic young defensemen: Samuel Girard, 21, whom they acquired in the Matt Duchene trade in 2017; Cale Makar, 20, the No. 4 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft; and now Bowen Byram, 18, the No. 4 pick of the 2019 NHL Draft. The Avalanche surprised some people by going to Game 7 of the Western Conference Second Round against the San Jose Sharks, but it should be no surprise now if they contend for years to come.
Video: Leafs trade Kadri, Rosen to Avs for Barrie, Kerfoot
Mike Zeisberger, staff writer
A year ago, the Maple Leafs' top four on defense consisted of Morgan Rielly, Jake Gardiner, Nikita Zaitsev and Ron Hainsey. Now, it's Rielly, Tyson Barrie, Jake Muzzin and Cody Ceci. The improvement is huge. That's why this is a short-term win for the Maple Leafs. Yes, Barrie's contract is up in a year, but this is a Maple Leafs team trying to win now. They took the Boston Bruins to seven games in the Eastern Conference First Round for a second consecutive year. losing each time. Defense has been Toronto's Achilles heel. It's been addressed. As for Kadri, his lack of discipline led to suspensions in each of those Bruins series. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. The Maple Leafs weren't about to be fooled again.
Dan Rosen, senior writer
I'm the middle man in this debate so I'm going to stay in the middle. Dare I say I like this trade for both Colorado and Toronto. As Nick said, the Avalanche needed help down the middle to fill in some depth. Kadri fills it. He was expendable in Toronto because of John Tavares and Auston Matthews. Adding Rosen (no relation) helps their defensive depth, which continues to improve. Toronto needed help on 'D' after losing Hainsey, Zaitsev and likely Jake Gardiner, who is an unrestricted free agent. Enter Barrie. I don't care that he has only one year left on his contract. It's now time for Toronto. They needed a replacement for Connor Brown after trading him to the Ottawa Senators to land Ceci. They found one in Kerfoot. This is a good old hockey trade that, at least on paper, works for both sides.
Tom Gulitti, staff writer
I agree with Dan. I think this is one of those trades that is good for both teams, at least on paper, because each addressed a need. As Nick mentioned, Colorado dealt from an area where it has depth, defense, by trading Barrie and added to an area where it needed more depth by acquiring Kadri to play behind MacKinnon. Though quite capable in the shutdown center role he settled into in Toronto behind Matthews and Tavares, Kadri can play in a second-line role and, as Mike noted, it was probably time for a change for him and the Maple Leafs. Toronto needed to upgrade its defense after relying too heavily on goalie Frederik Andersen again last season and adding Barrie's puck-moving skill will help in that area. And Kerfoot, who had 42 points (15 goals, 27 assists) last season, is capable of replacing the 44 points (16 goals, 28 assists) Kadri produced last season.
Shawn Roarke, senior director of editorial
There is no arguing that this is a deal that helps each team immediately. In the long term, there has to be some concern about Toronto's end of the return, especially in the context of how the roster has been remade in the past two weeks. Barrie is one of the best offensive defensemen in the game, but he only has this season remaining on his contract before he becomes an unrestricted free agent and perhaps prices himself out of the market an already NHL salary cap-pressed Toronto team can afford. That could be a problem for the Maple Leafs, who have Rielly as the only NHL-level defenseman under contract past this season. They traded a potential replacement in Rosen, who has torn up the American Hockey League during the past two seasons. The 25-year-old has 66 points (11 goals, 55 assists) in 114 AHL games. As far as Colorado, there is little not to like. Kadri is an upgrade on Kerfoot and they have the depth on defense, as Nick mentioned, and most of it is on team-friendly contracts for the foreseeable future. Kadri, and perhaps Rosen, are the finishing pieces on a makeover that could make the Avalanche a very dangerous team during the 2019-20 season.
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