Leafs grab Grabner, shed contracts in trade with Isles
The Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired forward Michael Grabner in a trade with the New York Islanders. In return, the Isles have received forwards Taylor Beck and Carter Verhaeghe, defensemen Matt Finn and Tom Nilsson, and goalie Christopher Gibson.
Grabner is a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3 million cap hit. The 27-year-old speedster had a frustrating 2014-15, with health issues limiting him to just 34 games, in which he scored only eight goals.
From a recent Newsday article:
He needed hernia surgery in October that took away the second half of his training camp and the first half of the season, then he had trouble sticking in a lineup that had success without him.
He needed another hernia surgery in May but pronounced himself fit as camp approaches -- a camp he might not have thought he’d be attending, with the Isles trying to hard to unload the 27-year-old most of the summer.
“A fresh start, I guess,” he said. “Trying to get healthy, get stuff back working. I had a lot of time in the summer, I think I used it properly.”
Grabner’s best season came in 2010-11, when he had 34 goals for the Isles, including six shorthanded tallies.
Lou Lamoriello says the Leafs liked Grabner's speed. Ability to remove four contracts also a factor.— Jonas Siegel (@jonassiegel) September 17, 2015
The Leafs have a number of veterans coming to training camp on professional tryouts, including Curtis Glencross, Brad Boyes, Devin Setoguchi and Mark Fraser.
Lamoriello says deal creates flexibility: "We were pretty tight on contracts & we don’t know what may become available."— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) September 17, 2015
Key to TOR-NYI trade (6 players) was TOR losing 4 contracts, from 49 to 45, to get flexibility to sign PTOs or make waiver claim or trade.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) September 17, 2015
As for the five youngsters sent the Islanders’ way, here’s more on them from the club’s press release:
Beck, a 24-year-old forward, appeared in 62 National Hockey League games last season with the Nashville Predators, scoring sixteen points (eight goals, eight assists). Nashville selected the St. Catherines, ON, native in the third round (70th overall) of the 2009 NHL Draft.
Finn, 21, was Toronto’s second round pick (35th overall) in the 2012 NHL Draft. The Toronto, ON, native spent his first professional season with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League last season, recording a goal and two assists in 28 games. The defenseman led the Guelph Storm to an Ontario Hockey League Championship in 2013-14, while posting a league-best plus-57 mark.
Gibson is a 22-year-old goaltender from Karkkila, Finland. In 45 AHL games with the Marlies last season, he posted a 24-17-3 record with a 2.42 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage. The Los Angeles Kings selected Gibson in the second round (49th overall) of the 2011 Draft.
Nilsson, 22, played 44 AHL games with Toronto last season during his first year in North America. The defenseman from Mora, Sweden, was Toronto’s fourth-round selection (100th overall) in the 2011 Draft.
Verhaeghe, a 20-year-old forward from Toronto, served as captain of the Niagara IceDogs of the Ontario Hockey League last season. The Maple Leaf’s third-round (82nd overall) selection in the 2013 Draft, Verhaeghe won gold with Team Canada at the 2013 Under-18 World Junior Championships.