When it comes to supporters of the Toronto Maple Leaf hockey team, Justin Holl has become into somewhat of a contentious issue. It seems that most of the time, he is either deemed a competent top-four player or a guy who shouldn’t even be in an NHL lineup.
Why Ottawa and Toronto May Benefit from a Justin Holl Trade?
This seems to be the case more frequently than not. In point of fact, it’s probably going to be someplace in the center of those two options. Holl has some potential, but he also has his limitations to consider.
The Ottawa Senators is an example of a club that may benefit from having a player with Holl’s skills. Even though they are competitors, here are several reasons why trading Justin Holl might be beneficial for both teams.
The Justin Holl Trade May Be Beneficial for All Parties Involved
Holl’s name comes up in trade speculations every trade deadline and offseason. Ironically, right-handed shooters on defense are more sought for than traded.
Even though he consistently performs in the team’s top four, Holl only receives $2 million despite being a key cog in the organization’s fourth-place performance.
Even though he isn’t a superstar, he is a solid bargain for what he is: a right-handed, physically imposing defender who puts up respectable statistics. Kyle Dubas, general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, does not seem to be in a rush to move defenseman Justin Holl.
The speculation will reach a fever pitch during the 2022–23 season, Holl’s penultimate year under his present deal. Dubas has yet to sign restricted free agent defender Rasmus Sandin.
Sandin will need to be traded in order to make room for him on the team. It would seem that the odd guy out may at least consider Holl. It’s not always simple to find a trade partner, but Holl should be a breeze to transfer due to his stature, stats, and handedness.
Holl the Player
Holl is an athlete. His reputation depends on who you ask. Some see him as the required size in the Leafs’ “soft” lineup. Others consider him as replaceable cap space. Holl is a good NHL defenseman, on both teams.
Holl is predictable, despite his flaws. He won’t contribute much offence or skill, but he can move the puck at an NHL level.
Holl’s 5v5 CF% and xGF% were both 52% last year. Seventh and fourth among Leafs defensemen. These stats are decent considering this was a weak season. Holl is a bottom-pair player who can go up the lineup if required and play alongside a superior player.
Why Leave Toronto?
As we’ve established, Holl is a top-tier talent in the NHL. So it’s puzzling why Toronto would want to trade him away. Considerations of depth and expense determine the solution. The Leafs are deep down the right side of the cap, despite the tales about their defense.
T.J. Since then, they have added Jordie Benn and Victor Mete, both of whom can play right wing, to join Brodie and Timothy Liljegren on the right flank. Holl may be a better option than the other two, but he counts for $2 million this year.
Since both Mete and Benn are paid $750,000, the Leafs would have an additional $1,250,000 to use this year, allowing them to retain an extra player on the roster for the duration of the season. We must find ways to save costs.
The Leafs may decide it is not worth the extra money to have Holl on the roster even if he is just marginally better than their other alternatives. The Leafs would need a trade partner in any case to get Justin Holl. The Ottawa Senators have arrived.
Wishful thinking is needed. This story suggests that Ottawa is willing to spend money to enhance its blueline. The squad seems to want to, but how much? Nikita Zaitsev was rumored to be traded all summer. If Ottawa desires to qualify for the playoffs, this must happen.
Compare Zaitsev and Travis Hamonic’s RAPM Charts from EvolvingHockey to Holl’s. A squad that wants to compete can’t have two of these players. The Ottawa Senators must upgrade one. Both defenders drain opportunities and don’t offer offence.
No measure of physical playing can compensate for that, particularly when they’re ineffective on the penalty kill (Zaitsev especially). Ottawa might profit from a Justin Holl move. While not a top-four player, he’s better than certain choices.
Also, he’s a “veteran” on defense, which DJ Smith likes. Lassi Thomson or Jacob Bernard-Docker are right-side enhancements, but would the Sens trust them? Holl would provide them needed insurance.
Two Sides Could Match
At the end of the day, one team may not be able to afford Holl. Another must update their right side. Ottawa must decide what to do with Zaitsev or Hamonic. At this time, Zaitsev may be waived. Nobody would take his deal.
Waiving him would save the team $1.2 million. This wouldn’t be possible in Ottawa. Last year, they cut Michael Del Zotto. This, along the Senators’ directive to spend money this summer, makes it more probable they’d send a big contract to the AHL.
At least until a deal could be made. Justin Holl himself would complete a transaction involving him. he has a 10-team no-trade clause So why would he trade to Ottawa? His ice time would rise in Ottawa. Possibly an excellent mate for Thomas Chabot.
And even if he isn’t, the second or third defense pair is open on the right. Maybe not in Toronto. Ottawa is seeking to take the next step.
Players should put Ottawa on their no-trade list considering how horrible they’ve been. Looking at clubs with cap room for Holl, Ottawa is a good match. Extra playing time with a youthful, energetic squad isn’t a bad thing.
What Does a Trade Look Like?
Perhaps the most intriguing portion. Holl isn’t seeking a premium asset. Toronto’s desperation to sell him will determine the return. If they’re OK with Holl despite cap problems, he’s unlikely to be traded for less than a 4th round choice.
Perhaps even higher. If the Leafs need to relocate, the selection may drop. Or they may search for an inexpensive roster guy to assist with cap. A similar strategy was considered when Joey Anderson was traded for Andreas Johnsson.
Toronto handed up the best player, but Johnsson got nearly quadruple Anderson’s salary. Anderson was a key depth forward for Toronto. Johnsson made it unaffordable. Jayce Hawryluk + a draft pick? Hawryluk may be too old for the Leafs, but an NHL prospect may work.
Finishing Off The Discussion
Finally, it’s a viable alternative worth considering for the sake of everyone concerned. Ottawa might do well to get Justin Holl in a trade. Also, it would provide the Leafs some much-needed cap space to work with.
Further, they would be trading a player who now doesn’t figure prominently into their future ambitions. This means that Holl may have a shot at a new beginning and an opportunity to demonstrate why he should be given another medium-term contract.
It might be from the Ottawa Senators or another club. Holl’s contract with the Senators is up this next summer. So they wouldn’t be making any long-term commitments.
They have an additional fourth-round selection in next year’s draft to use on a guy like Holl if they so choose. There aren’t many trades at this time in the offseason, but if you could swing a Justin Holl swap, it would be a win-win for everyone.