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Sharks Acquire Polak, Spaling from Maple Leafs
- Updated: February 22, 2016
San Jose Sends Torres, Picks to Toronto
SAN JOSE, CA-With the NHL trade deadline one week away, teams that are fighting for playoff positioning will be trying to add pieces they feel will put them over the top on their quest to win the Stanley Cup. Teams outside the playoff chase, on the other hand, will look to build for next season and the future. The San Jose Sharks and Toronto Maple Leafs find themselves on opposite sides of that spectrum and today made a deal both felt will help them in their current state.
The Sharks acquired defenseman Roman Polak and forward Nick Spaling from the Maple Leafs in exchange for two second-round picks and forward Raffi Torres.
San Jose currently finds itself in a comfortable playoff position, seven points clear of the Arizona Coyotes for third place in the Pacific Division. Sharks general manager Doug Wilson felt that his team can compete for a Cup this season, which is the reason he made the deal.
“We wanted to give this group the ability to compete and they deserve it,” Wilson said while speaking to the media today. “They’ve worked really hard. We’ve put ourselves in a really good position to compete. You want to keep that momentum going. The team’s playing well and you want to build upon that.”
Polak has 13 points in 55 games and was fourth on the Maple Leafs in average ice time per game at 19:44. Spaling has seven points in 35 games.
Wilson stated that the team was looking for a physical, right-handed defenseman and found that in Polak. They were also intrigued by Spaling’s versatility at the forward position and his ability to create offense.
Toronto, meanwhile, is clearly rebuilding. They currently find themselves in last place of the Eastern Conference. This is the third trade the team does in the last three weeks. They traded then-captain Dion Phaneuf and others to the Ottawa Senators two weeks ago and on Sunday they traded forward Shawn Matthias to the Colorado Avalanche.
Apart from acquiring players in all three trades, the Leafs also acquired draft picks, which is what general manager Lou Lamoriello stated he wanted to do. The trades have given Toronto as many as 12 picks in the 2016 draft, and as many as seven picks in the first two rounds of the next three drafts.
Torres more than likely will not see much action with the Leafs, if any at all. He has not played a regular season game this season after being suspended for 41 games by the NHL Department of Player Safety for a hit on the Anaheim Ducks‘ Jakob Silfverberg during a preseason game Oct. 3, 2015. He has zero points in six games with San Jose of the American Hockey League, and the Maple Leafs announced he would remain there as a condition of the trade.
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