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Maple Leafs add Eric Fehr but stick to plan

Toronto traded for forward, Brian Boyle to help young players

by Dave McCarthy / NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- In a Stanley Cup Playoff position with 20 games left, the Toronto Maple Leafs avoided the temptation to get away from the long-term plan for short-term help at the 2017 NHL Trade Deadline.

"I just know that where we are with our franchise, where we are with our team, and the plan [that] has been put in by (president) Brendan [Shanahan] when he came in here, we're not going to get off track on that," general manager Lou Lamoriello said about 90 minutes after the deadline passed Wednesday. "Anything we did was not going to get in the way of that, but what we could do to support that, to encourage that, we had the opportunity to do, so we did it."

Toronto made one trade Wednesday, acquiring forward Eric Fehr, defenseman Steve Oleksy and a fourth-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft from the Pittsburgh Penguins for defenseman Frank Corrado.

Fehr is in the second year of a three-year, $6 million contract, according to CapFriendly.com. He can become a free agent after next season and satisfies the requirements for exposure in the upcoming NHL Expansion Draft by being under contract for 2017-18 and having played at least 40 games this season.

"That certainly enters in the thought process of what decisions you're going to make," Lamoriello said. "Also we were able to acquire a fourth-round pick in doing so, and at the same time helped out our [Toronto] Marlies (American Hockey League) team with a different dimension player. All of the above enters into whatever decisions are made."

Fehr, 31, has 11 points (six goals, five assists) in 51 games this season. He had three goals and one assist in 23 Stanley Cup Playoff games last season to help the Penguins win the Stanley Cup, and has 10 points (eight goals, two assists) in 60 postseason games.

Lamoriello said Fehr and center Brian Boyle, who was acquired Monday in a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning, were brought in help Toronto's young players, including Auston Matthews, William Nylander, Mitchell Marner and Connor Brown, down the stretch.

Video: Maple Leafs acquire Brian Boyle from Lightning

Toronto (28-21-13) holds the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

"What we've done here is give them, that is our younger players, an opportunity to be around some people who've had the experience and also to help develop that culture of winning," Lamoriello said.

Fehr and Boyle will be used in fourth-line situations and can move up the lineup if necessary, but Lamoriello stressed they will not be taking away from the development and progress of the other forwards.

"The prime purpose was to help these young players grow and continue to do what they're doing," Lamoriello said. "We've been pleased with them, we don't want to get ahead of ourselves, we don't want to get in our own way. So anything that we were going to do had to be something to support and keep the progression on a normal process."

Oleksy, 31, had one assist in 11 games with the Penguins this season and 20 points (three goals, 17 assists) in 73 NHL games.

Corrado, 23, had no points in two games with the Maple Leafs this season, and eight points (three goals, five assists) in 69 NHL games over five seasons. He was claimed on waivers by the Maple Leafs from the Vancouver Canucks in October 2015 but struggled to get into the lineup.

"Frankie was a solid citizen without question," Lamoriello said. "Certainly he had a lot of patience, but it was no one's fault, it's just the way it goes, and now he has an opportunity to go somewhere. He was a fine young man; it just didn't work out."

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