NHL Trade Deadline 2013: Is Ryan O'Byrne Enough for the Toronto Maple Leafs?

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NHL Trade Deadline 2013: Is Ryan O'Byrne Enough for the Toronto Maple Leafs?
Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Well, another NHL trade deadline has come and gone, and once again, the Toronto Maple Leafs were fairly quiet on deadline day.

Other than dealing for Colorado Avalanche defenseman Ryan O'Byrne, the Leafs elected to stand pat and move forward with the team they've got and the farm system they've built.

Yet, in O'Byrne, the Leafs acquired a big, 6'5", 234-pound defender and only had to give up a fourth-round draft pick in 2014.

Seems like a decent pickup on the surface. A big-bodied, defense-first blueliner, which is precisely what this team needs.

Unfortunately, dealing for O'Byrne doesn't really help the Leafs at all. At minus-eight, O'Byrne has one of the worst player ratings among all Colorado defenseman, and he averages less than 19 minutes of ice time per game.

On a positive note, O'Byrne was among the team leaders in both hits (76) and blocked shots (49).

The problem with this acquisition lies in the fact that O'Byrne doesn't really provide an upgrade over a guy like Mark Fraser or Cody Franson.

O'Byrne only plays about one minute more per game on average than the Leafs' Cody Franson and about three minutes more than Fraser.

His plus-minus is considerably worse than both Fraser's and Franson's (keep in mind that he was playing about the same level talent for most of his minutes as Fraser and Franson), and he has fewer hits than both Leafs defensemen and fewer blocked shots than Mark Fraser.

So essentially, the Leafs went out and picked up another third pairing defenseman. Something they aren't lacking at the moment.

If the Leafs were going to try and make a deal for a defenseman, they should have looked to add another top-four defenseman, like Mark Giordano or Keith Yandle.

Bringing in O'Byrne doesn't help this team become a second-round threat in the postseason.

It doesn't really help their possession game or their inability to clear the zone when pinned behind their own net.

On the bright side, at least O'Byrne is an upgrade over Mike Kostka and won't be blocking the young defensemen in the organization as a pending free agent this offseason.

 

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