How the JVR/Schenn trade can tip the pendulum in Leafs Favour
Wanted to keep this separate from all the JVR/Schenn trade threads and focus on this. The Leafs trading of Luke Schenn sent a clear signal to Justin Schultz who may or may not have decided on which team he is going to sign with on July 1, that one team has a clear spot on their depth chart for a D man to play with Jake Gardiner on the 2nd pairing.
Now we know this, most insiders have hinted Justin is going to sign with a Canadian team, which one? It is uncertain, many have speculated Edmonton was a choice due to opportunity, opportunity for ice time and opportunity to play with it's young stars.
That opportunity may not have been as present on a Leafs team with Schenn, Phanuef and Gardiner on it, but now with today's trade, opportunity to play with his College teammate is only a signature away as he will be tenatively pencilled in on the 2nd unit. In addition the opportunity to play with exciting fwds as Lupul, Kessel and the newly acquired JVR offer further incentive.
So today's trade was as much abour acquiring much needed help up front, size and scoring as It was to clear a major obstacle of playing time for Justin Schultz.
This may have put a valuable checkmark on Justin's pros and cons list of choosing which team he will eventually sign with.
Let's put it this way, if I am Justin, I may have been reluctant to sign with Toronto seeing Luke Schenn here, he would be far more comfortable signing here where there is a clear spot for a top 4 spot right beside Jake Gardiner, Leafs sent a not so subtle message, here's a spot for you if you want it. Coincidentally a guy you know well and have expressed interest in playing with. With Schenn in the picture, it wasn't clear he would have had a top 4 role.
I am sure this has been asked a thousand times, and I apologize (lol,) but when can Schultz sign with a team? July 1?
I THINK that he can start listening to teams and offers on Monday, but can't sign anything until July 1st. I believe he has said that he will meet teams in Toronto on Monday, will start fielding offers on Wednesday.
My initial thought was that Schenn being moved meant that that would open up a spot for Holzer most likely. I never even thought about how the move might be done to make a roster spot more appealing to Schultz who is a player that everyone seems interested in to some degree.
I'm not sure about Holzer tbh. The guys played just 2 NHL games, and it the coaching staff couldn't even justify puttin him in the past season, even though he was called up for over a week, and the defense was pretty bad overall all year, even when we were in a play off spot. If he is supposedly ready to take over Schenn's role, on the second pairing, why not get him into a game at least.
Same goes for Shultz. By all indications he is ready to make the next step to the NHL, but it still make me a little weary to be relying on him to be a big contributor if he signs here. Gardiner was a really nice surprise, I don't think anyone could have called what he did this year, I think that some have him as a being better than Gardiner as a sure thing, because thats what was said about them a year ago. Well before Gardiner's breakout.
The sad part is, without Komisarek that is a pretty soft top six. Unless the Leafs can sign/trade for a tough, veteran stay at home defenseman, Komi isn't going anywhere.
We would be lacking that stay at home guy but I wouldn't exactly call our defense soft necessarily. Both the NJD and LAK defense corps hit less than the Leafs did during the regular season. Leafs had 5 people with 100+ hits (including Schenn) while NJ and LA each had 2. Not saying this proves you 100% don't need the stay at home physical guy, just trying to say that it isn't a must have.
From the draft interviews they kept on mentioning how the defensemen they drafted were mobile and had a high IQ, is Burke starting to switch to that instead of toughness on the backend?
Edit: Decided to look at how much the defense hit in Anaheim back in 2007 for their cup win, their top 4 hitters had 118, 82, 77 and 55 hits during the regular season. Toronto's top 4 hitters on the back end this year had 270, 214, 114 and 104.