The Penguins and Maple Leafs got together for another pretty big trade today, with Jared McCann going to Toronto in exchange for prospect FIlip Hallander. There were clear expansion draft considerations, here’s a sampling of the reaction around the internet from various voices of interest and note:
How is nobody giving more than that for McCann? Dubas with a robbery https://t.co/Vxx6GXl2ok— Bryce Chevallier (@FauxCentre) July 17, 2021
Can only protect so many guys. We can debate whether the #Pens moved on from the wrong guy. But getting assets for someone you weren’t sold on and could lose for nothing is a win.— Matt Vensel (@mattvensel) July 17, 2021
Plus, Seattle may now be more likely to take a bigger contract off the books. https://t.co/jpzwd4IkBa
Hextall probably figured McCann was gone in the expansion draft. He can protect Carter and/or Blueger now. Hallander could be ready for next season (but probably not). He's in his 21 year though, so soon or never.— Ian Altenbaugh (@IanAltenbaugh) July 17, 2021
This opens up potential cap space to retain ZAR.
I guess. ♂️
In the end the Penguins are essentially going to lose two players as a result of the expansion draft (McCann, and whoever Seattle takes) instead of just letting Seattle take one of your fourth liners who would have been easy to replace. Feels like they over throught it.— Adam Gretz (@AGretz) July 17, 2021
In this section, which I’m calling “charts and graphs” the loss of McCann is going to give the Pens’ a big hole to fill.
Leafs acquire Jared McCann who will probably regress from last season's incredible output, but should still be an extremely useful piece on a very cheap deal. Projects as second line caliber. pic.twitter.com/YzmXNkLAvl— dom at the athletic (@domluszczyszyn) July 17, 2021
Jared McCann is very good pic.twitter.com/gXgZc7u0N7— Evolving-Hockey (@EvolvingHockey) July 17, 2021
Jared McCann (traded to Toronto for what appear to be packing peanuts) is an extremely good all-around forward. pic.twitter.com/PXW95vbgPe— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) July 17, 2021
Only one player on the Penguins had more rush shots per 60 than McCann, which I think backs up what we saw on video. A higher number of entries/60 with more fruitful shots as a result. Data per @ShutdownLine pic.twitter.com/xKhqXqRmOt— Jesse Marshall (@jmarshfof) July 17, 2021
If any Leafs fans are interested in learning a little more about McCann, here’s an article I wrote in April on his breakout season.— Danny (@shireyirving) July 17, 2021
He isn’t a game-breaker, but he’s a great complementary player to any middle-six.
Kyle Dubas just waxed Ron Hextall.https://t.co/pJ9uTRuLQO
Ridiculous.— Alex (@hockeywatcher31) July 17, 2021
Crosby is still extremely good and the thought their window to win is closed is wrong. pic.twitter.com/fokRXyxtMZ
McCann played junior hockey with the Soo Greyhounds of the OHL. Toronto GM Kyle Dubas is from there, as are a host of others now with the Maple Leafs:
Shout-out to fellow UAA Seawolf alum Spencer Carbery on his NHL gif with the Leafs, well deserved for a good guy.— Justin Bourne (@jtbourne) July 17, 2021
Quick note on Jared McCann, obviously another guy Dubas/Keefe had in the Soo. Quality add for the Leafs there.
Since taking over in May 2018, Leafs GM Kyle Dubas has drafted Rasmus Sandin, traded for Jake Muzzin, hired Sheldon Keefe, traded for Jack Campbell, signed Joe Thornton and traded for Jared McCann, all former Soo Greyhounds. Tony DeAngelo and Michael Bunting are on the clock.— Chris Cuthbert (@CCpxpSN) July 17, 2021
This portion is kinda the sad “wtf” face guy gif reaction of the trade.
Ngl I haven’t been this demoralized by the Penguins since they traded for Gudbranson lol.— Danny (@shireyirving) July 17, 2021
Cannot fathom trading a versatile middle-six player on a value deal in his prime when you should be going all-in on winning now.
Why are you trading McCann for Hallander while u still have Crosby and Malkin though? Phenomenally stupid trade— Kevin (@ntrider825) July 17, 2021
two teams that value analytics are going to fleece Hextall in a matter of days. probably need to get used to that as they dismantle a good team for mid-tier futures— ck (@404ResponseCode) July 17, 2021
And now some food for thought..
Turning Kasperi Kapanen into Rodion Amirov and Jared McCann is a masterclass in asset management from the Leafs.— Josh Simpson (@joshsimpson77) July 17, 2021
Amirov was the 15th overall pick last year, which Pittsburgh could have made. It’s two trades made by two different GMs for the Pens, but it is interesting to look back over a year and see how the assets have flowed organizationally.
The other good news for the Pens is at least they got Filip Hallander back, a center prospect for a talent pool that previously had zero centers with reasonable NHL chances. So, that’s not insignificant today, even though it doesn’t really factor into the total equation.
Navigating expansion is the first step of the off-season, and you can’t judge a haircut in the middle, so we will see what happens in following steps. The Pens certainly have some work on the back-end to find a way to boost their NHL team for next season, they’re usually not the team that trades the best NHL player in a deal.