Another blockbuster move has been made and we’re almost a month away from the trade deadline. This is an excellent start to the trade season. This is a trade that was not a surprise and it involves forward Ryan Dzingel and D Ilya Lybushkin in a deal made between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Arizona Coyotes.
Also before you continue reading on I want to give a quick shout out to Maeve Hushman as we both worked together on this article.
Toronto Maple Leafs Acquire: D Ilya Lybushkin and F Ryan Dzingel
Arizona Coyotes Acquire: F Nick Ritchie, A conditional 2023 Third Round selection
Keep in mind that the conditions of the draft pick sent to Arizona are as follow: Arizona has a choice of either Toronto’s third round selection in 2023 or Toronto’s second round selection in 2025
Toronto Maple Leafs Side:
Lyubushkin is a stay at home right-shot defenseman, who doesn’t generate many scoring chances but will stop the other team. The Leafs have been looking to bolster their shutdown pair since the Muzzin-Holl pairing’s drastic drop off this season. The Leafs have other defensemen in Morgan Rielly and Rasmus Sandin who can generate chances, what they were lacking was a dependable defensive-defenseman. This move also makes one of Dermott or Holl a tradable asset. Plus he is a very cheap option only making 1.4 million against the cap and will be an RFA at the end of the season giving the Leafs more control over his movement this off-season.
Dzingel is a solid defensive forward that will likely slot in on the third line, deemed the shut down line with David Kampf which has excellent defensive upside but limited offensive contributions. The Leafs known weak spot is defense so having as many players who are strong in their own zone as possible is a definite win for the Leafs.
The trade is also a good cap move as the Leafs bring on two players for the equivalent of Ritchie’s salary. Dzingel makes only 1.1 million against the cap. Both player’s salaries come off the books at the end of the season as well which gives the Leafs more flexibility to re-sign UFA goalie Jack Campbell this off-season
This move made by Toronto absolutely has the feeling of going all in. It’s kind of like you are on a hot streak and are trying to go all in to get the maximum goal of winning the big one. Of course the big one is getting the Stanley Cup. Especially as the team is currently on pace to have the most points in the standings in franchise history. It looks like this group is on pace to be the best Leafs team in recent history and it would be idoitic to waste the talent of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, and John Tavares by not going for it all.
Arizona Coyotes Side:
Nick Ritchie is a solid gritty depth forward but was unable to get it done in Toronto hence his demotion from first line to the AHL. Ritchie’s stats indicate a solid depth forward who is strong on the forecheck but has very little finishing ability. He has scored twice all season for the Leafs and now will get his chance with the 31st place Arizona Coyotes. His dissatisfaction at his spot on the team was well reported and Kyle Dubas, Leafs GM, is well known for trying to help out players unable to get a roster spot. This deal was obviously for assets to help the Leafs at Right Defense but it was also very much Dubas doing Ritchie a solid by moving him to a team where he might see NHL ice time. Ritchie’s stats indicate a solid depth forward who is strong on the forecheck but has very little finishing ability.
Plus the true value for Arizona is in the growing Draft Capital. Arizona is punting the season and are in firesale mode along with the Montreal Canadians who are selling anything for the future. Whether it is in prospects or draft picks the Coyotes are interested. In this case it was obviously in the growth of draft picks.
The stats in question:
Grades for Ilya Lybushkin and Ryan Dzingel Trade
Toronto Maple Leafs: A-
Arizona Coyotes: B+
This is a win-win trade for both teams of course but I give the edge to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Especially as this helps them in their deep playoff push. For Arizona they at least got value for guys who were not going to be a part of the future. Plus they get extra draft capital to play with. Overall Great move by both teams in general. Hopefully it pays out well for both teams.