The Toronto Maple Leafs have made a trade on Friday. They acquire Riley Nash from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2022 NHL draft. Nash is currently injured with a knee sprain and expected to miss at least the next month. He will fit into the LTI room with the Leafs and then go on LTI himself. As Pierre LeBrun wrote, “He is a player the Leafs like when he gets healthy.”
The seventh round draft pick will become a sixth round pick if Nash appears in 25 per cent of the Leafs’ playoff games this season.
Health is the real question here as the player was taken out of game action with a lower-body injury. But, if he can return for the playoffs, he is arguably the best shut-down fourth line centre in the NHL. He doesn’t offer much offence, but he limits chances against. He has seven points in 37 games this season.
Nash, 31, signed a three-year contract with Columbus as a free agent on July 1, 2018. “Riley Nash is a terrific person and hard-working player that has been a solid contributor to our club over the past three seasons,” said Kekalainen. “We appreciate everything he has done as a Blue Jacket and wish him the best in the future.”
This Was As Much a Cap Space Move as a Roster Move
The Leafs have placed Nash and goaltender Frederik Andersen on LTIR, allowing them to exceed cap by $7.5M. This will leave Toronto $5.8 million more annual cap hit that can be added. In essence, GM Kyle Dubas increased the cap hit the Leafs can pick up for the remainder of the season while adding a player that could be useful in the playoffs. This was one of those little Dubas-like cap moves he likes to make to get the Leafs just a bit more space to be active. Expect Nash to stay on LTIR through end of regular season.
Keep in mind, this extra cap space reduces by $5 million with Andersen back in the fold before the regular season ends. In the meantime, Toronto will need to call up a netminder for Andersen’s spot, and that goalie will will count against cap (not eligible for emergency exception) since they’ll have LTIR room.
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