The Toronto Maple Leafs made some noise late Tuesday, acquiring 29 year old centerman David Steckel from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a 2012 4th round pick.
On the surface, the move looks shallow, and may strike fans as a depth move. Of course with the news today that Tim Connolly is likely out for the beginning of the season, and given the history of Matthew Lombardi, the centre position in Toronto is quite thin. Steckel may have been brought it to provide some depth, and of course fill in for the injured players.
However, if you think about Steckel and his role in previous years, you know him as a gritty, hard nose, almost Burke-esque type of guy. Yon can see him playing in crucial situations on the penalty kill, and definitely in own end face-offs near the end of the game. Steckel lead the NHL in face-off percentage last year, winning an absurd %62.3 of them. He is likely to play on the fourth line, which speaks volumes to how Toronto feel about 26 year old Phillipe Dupuis, who is likely to be the immediate victim of the move.
However, if Steckel is able to play well and provide any spark of offence, he could very well be promoted to line 3, bumping Tyler Bozak. Bozak’s spot on the first line is all but lost upon the return of Connolly, and Lombardi can shift into the 4th line role. Bozak was recently signed to a 2 year deal, so it would be hard pressed to see the Leafs throwing in the towel on him now, but as the season progresses it’ll be intriguing to see what implications this trade has.
Either way, for a 4th round pick, you can’t over analyze. It’s a solid deal by Burke who picks up a hard working player that’ll will save you some possessions by winning key draws.