Dynasty Hockey League

All for Oliver

Toronto, On – You would be forgiven if you thought the one part of the Maple Leafs that didn’t need improvements it would have been its defense. However, on March 23rd, the Leafs and GM Alex Mathieu pulled off an early season trade that should bolster not only their top four defenders, but also lift them into the top echelon of DHL Cup contenders.

Word out of Toronto is that GM Mathieu and Columbus had been in talks regarding OEL for some time, and in varying levels of intensity. It wasn’t long into the season that talks intensified and a basic structure was starting to materialize. Coming to Toronto is one of the best defenders in the league, Oliver Ekman-Larsson. The 27-year Swede brings a top-pairing skill set that should compliment Kris Letang while simultaneously bolster the second pairing as Jeff Petry moves to the second pairing with Dougie Hamilton. Leaving Toronto is 27-year old Zikita Zaitsev, Sam Bennett, Prospect Aleksi Saarela and a second round pick.

“We sacrificed some future assets to secure the best chance in the present. We wish Sam and Aleksi the best of luck in Columbus, we hope they fine their stride.” Some pundits are thinking this is a similar push that Toronto made a few years ago, but Mathieu denies this sentiment. “Unlike a few years ago, we are really deep on forward talent in the system: Ryan Donato, Josh Ho-Sang, Kieffer Bellows, and John Quennville are high-ceiling talents that are showing very well.”

Ultimately, the Leafs are much better team after this deal and that should make the Eastern Conference a little worried.


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