Fantasy Impact: The Colorado Avalanche have traded John-Michael Liles to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a second-round draft pick in 2012.
The Avs get: $4.2 million in cap space and a pretty good draft pick. With two of the best blue-line prospects in the game on the way in Stefan Elliott and Tyson Barrie, they could afford this move.
The Leafs get: An expensive, inconsistent, but very skilled offensive rearguard. And his contract has just the one season left, so the risk in adding this puck-mover is minimal.
Fantasy Players Impacted: In Toronto, Liles has just about killed any hope for Matt Lashoff. Barring an injury, the offensive blue-liner has probably run out of chances. In Liles, the Leafs have added a 40-point blueliner with potential for 55. But they may have bought high. After all, his 46 points last season was his second highest of his career and the highest in his last four campaigns. One concern that I have is the fact that Dion Phaneuf was terrible on the power-play when Tomas Kaberle was around. Both are left-handed shots and it wasn't until Kaberle was moved before Phaneuf finally stepped up. Liles is a left-handed shot. This move also hurts Carl Gunnarsson, who also saw some improvement after Kaberle went. I don't believe this will help the likes of Phil Kessel, or other forwards any. The points just shifted from other players to Liles.
In Colorado, they have just cleared space for Elliott. I think Barrie needs a season in the AHL, but Elliott is ready now. They also cleared space for Kyle Quincey to return, although he is more of a secondary PP element with 30-point expectations. The Avs did well in getting such a strong pick for an asset that they no longer needed.
Players this deal helps, in order:
3. Jonas Holos
Players this deal hurts, in order:
In a nutshell, I don't believe the Leafs needed this player. It doesn't really hurt them, unless the impact on Phaneuf is far greater than even the pessimist in me thinks. But it doesn't really help them, either. As for the likes of Erik Johnson and Kyle Cumiskey, I wouldn't change my forecast on those players because of this deal. And I don't think any forward on either team will be impacted.