San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson believes his team can compete today. Toronto Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello is looking toward the future.
That's why the trade between the teams Monday made so much sense.
The Sharks acquired defenseman Roman Polak and forward Nick Spaling from the Maple Leafs for the Sharks' second-round picks in the 2017 and 2018 NHL Draft, and forward Raffi Torres.
"We wanted to give this group the ability to compete and they deserve it," Wilson said. "They've worked really hard. We've put ourselves in a really good position to compete. You want to keep that momentum going. The team's playing well and you want to build upon that."
San Jose (31-21-5) is third in the Pacific Division with 67 points, five points behind the first-place Los Angeles Kings. Wilson said the additions of Polak and Spaling are the exact ingredients he was searching for.
"Roman is a big, physical right-shot [defenseman] we were looking for," he said. "He's a quality guy and great teammate. Spaling is very versatile. He's underrated and can create offense.
"We knew what we were looking for. We also wanted to make sure the picks [we traded] were out two to three years from now so we could replenish them. We didn't want to give up any of our young players or prospects we worked so hard to get. We wanted to add to our team without taking anyone out of the lineup."
Polak, 29, has 13 points in 55 games and was fourth on the Maple Leafs in average ice time per game at 19:44. Spaling, 27, scored his first goal of the season in the 5-4 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday. He has seven points in 35 games.
"I'm excited. I kind of knew it was going to happen, it was just a matter of when and where I was going to end up and I think I ended up on a pretty good team," Polak said. "[The Sharks] have a big chance to do big things in the playoffs so I am excited." Spaling agreed with Polak's assessment of the trade.
"It's exciting to be able to come to a team like San Jose and join an already good team and make a playoff run here," he said. "It's nice to be traded with a guy you know and I know a couple of guys there so I am fortunate that way and I am looking forward to getting in."
Polak was excited to go from a team last place in the Eastern Conference, to one competing for the Pacific Division title.
"It's always good to play the game when it actually means something. Now, we are in Toronto and I can speak for us both that we both like it here, but if you have games that doesn't mean anything, you are just playing because you're playing," Polak said. "It's always good to go to a team that has a chance in the playoffs so we can actually play for something. ... I think that's a great feeling. "
Video: TOR@STL: Polak cranks a blast behind Allen
Wilson said neither player will be available Monday against the St. Louis Blues (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SNO, SNP, SNW), but could join the Sharks as soon as Wednesday in Colorado.
Torres, 34, has not played a regular-season NHL game since March 8, 2014. He was suspended for 41 games by the NHL Department of Player Safety for a hit on the Anaheim Ducks' Jakob Silfverberg during a preseason game Oct. 3, 2015. He has zero points in six games with San Jose of the American Hockey League, and the Maple Leafs announced he would remain there as a condition of the trade.
The Maple Leafs (20-27-10) are last in the Atlantic Division and 29th in the League standings. It was their third trade this month and second in two days.
On Sunday the Maple Leafs traded forward Shawn Matthias to the Colorado Avalanche for forward Colin Smith a fourth-round pick in the 2016 draft.
On Feb. 9 they traded defensemen Dion Phaneuf and Cody Donaghey and forwards Casey Bailey, Matt Frattin and Ryan Rupert to the Ottawa Senators for defenseman Jared Cowen, forwards Milan Michalek, Colin Greening and Tobias Lindberg, and a second-round pick in the 2017 draft.
The trades have given Toronto as many as 12 picks in the 2016 draft, and as many as seven picks in the first two rounds of the next three drafts.
"I think the picks are the most important thing that we've gotten in these transactions," Lamoriello said. "We'll see what the players bring from now until the end of the year [but] picks were most important, as far as giving us the opportunity, depending on where we're at."
Wilson said he and Lamoriello wanted a deal that would work best for both sides.
"Lou was looking for picks in the future," Wilson said. "We were looking to add to our team now. You have to give to get. I think this is a deal that works for both teams where they're at and what they're trying to accomplish.
"I have great respect for Lou and we've done a ton of deals in the past. I enjoy dealing with Lou because he cuts right to it. I put myself in his position, think of it from that view. I think he put himself in my position. As you go through cycles where your teams are, sometimes those views change."
The Maple Leafs recalled forward Brendan Leipsic and defenseman Stuart Percy from Toronto of the AHL. They will be available against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.