Maple Leafs Continue Rebuild, Deal Matthias To Avalanche, Polak, Spaling To Sharks

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Feb 22, 2016 12:49 PM EST
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Shawn Matthias
Shawn Matthias is congratulated by Tyler Bozak after scoring as the Toronto Maple Leafs play the New Jersey Devils at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. February 4, 2016."

The Toronto Maple Leafs are continuing with their rebuilding plan, as the team has traded Shawn Matthias, along with Roman Polak and Nick Spaling in separate deals ahead of the trade deadline.

The Maple Leafs pulled off the deals on Sunday and Monday, making trades with the Colorado Avalanche and the San Jose Sharks. According to the Associated Press, the Leafs traded forward Shawn Matthias to the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night in exchange for Colin Smith and a 2016 fourth-round draft pick.

On Monday morning the Maple Leafs continued dealing, trading defenseman Roman Polak and forward Nick Spaling to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for forward Raffi Torres, according to ESPN.com. The team also acquired second-round picks in the 2017 and 2018 drafts. The Maple Leafs felt moving the players was the best move for the long-term success of the team. Polak, Spaling and Matthias are all set to be free agents after the season, and the Leafs were unlikely to sign them back.

Maple Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello spoke on a conference call about the move with Matthias, calling him "an exceptional pro." Lamoriello added that the deals give "us an opportunity to stay along the plan that has been put in place. That we've consistently stuck with and will continue to do so."

The Maple Leafs are going through a major rebuilding phase this year, and the team now is set up for the 2016 draft with a huge haul of picks. According to Yahoo Sports, the team now potentially has 12 total picks in the 2016 NHL draft, including multiple picks in Rounds 3-5. The team has the chance to add more picks based on certain conditions from trades over the past year.

The Maple Leafs have the chance to add conditional picks from the Penguins and Blues based on whether the teams make the playoffs, and how far they advance. If the Penguins make the playoffs, the Leafs will receive Pittsburgh's first round pick as a condition from the Phil Kessel trade. The pick for the Blues is a sixth-round selection and will come to the Maple Leafs if Olli Jokinen plays in the Stanley Cup Final.

The Maple Leafs are currently in last place in the Atlantic division with 50 points, and they are tied with Edmonton for the fewest points in the NHL this season.

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