Originally posted on NHL Hot Stove  |  Last updated 10/4/11

From DC-to-Jersey-to-TO, David Steckel continues his trek north. On Tuesday, the New Jersey Devils traded the 29-year-old West Bend, Wisconsin-native to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for 2012 fourth-round draft pick.

The departure of Steckel likely allows the Devils to keep nonroster camp invitee and former Stanley Cup Champion Petr Sykora. Sykora impressed in camp and may find himself in the top six, perhaps with former “A Line” mate Patrik Elias.

Steckel posted a 30 goal season in the American Hockey League with the Hershey Bears in 2006-2007, but his forte in NHL is penalty killing and draws. The 6’5”Steckel won almost 58% of his draws in 2008-2009 and tallied an overtime game winning goal in Game 6 of an Eastern Conference Semifinals series against the Penguins that spring. Last season, Steckel lead in the department with a very stout 62.3% winning percentage. On February 28, 2011, the Capitals shipped Steckel up I-95 to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for the center of the aforementioned “A Line,” Jason Arnott. How about that for irony if indeed Sykora has made the Devils’ squad?

With the addition of Steckel’s $1.1 million cap hit, the Leafs move to within $1.9 million of this season’s cap hit. This includes the buyout of Darcy Tucker for $1 million. In addition to the on-ice skills in the face off dots and in shorthanded situations, Steckel adds veteran leadership to a young forward core. Steckel has tasted the NHL postseason in three consecutive years with the Washington Capitals, and the Leafs have not played a game 83 since prior to the lockout.

Slashes, head shots, and anything unsportsmanlike is fair game on Twitter @Gordsie.

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