Shawn Matthias to Avalanche: Latest Trade Details, Comments and Reaction

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIFebruary 21, 2016

Toronto Maple Leafs' Shawn Matthias  is  seen during an NHL hockey game against the Columbus Blue Jackets in Columbus, Ohio, Friday, Oct. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)
Paul Vernon/Associated Press

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Shawn Matthias was traded to the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday in exchange for a 2016 fourth-round draft pick and forward Colin Smith.

The Leafs' official PR Twitter feed announced the trade. Matthias has six goals and 11 assists in 51 games played this season.  

This marks the second time in three years Matthias is on the move just ahead of the NHL trade deadline. The 28-year-old spent his first six seasons with the Florida Panthers before being traded to the Vancouver Canucks as part of the deal involving star goalie Roberto Luongo.

As the Avalanche jockey for position in a tight Western Conference wild-card race, they add a savvy veteran in Matthias who offers good insurance up front on Colorado's latter two lines.

With leading scorers Matt Duchene, Nathan MacKinnon and Carl Soderberg already on the Avs roster listed at Matthias' center position, it will be difficult for the latter to climb up the depth chart before season's end.

But it stands to reason Matthias will at least embrace the change of scenery in light of his comments to Sportsnet's Chris Johnston about the possibility of being traded:

Johnston also pointed out how the deal gives Toronto 12 picks in the upcoming draft, which the Leafs could use considering the state of their franchise.

Toronto has made only one trip to the playoffs in the prior 10 seasons, and the club isn't faring any better in 2015-16, entering Sunday's action at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. Any assets it can accrue as a means of rebuilding will be a win.

Per Spotrac, Matthias was only on a one-year contract, so the Leafs did well to gain any compensation for him, much less a mid-round draft pick and a forward in Smith. Smith is only 22 and has racked up 34 points in 54 games for the AHL's San Antonio Rampage this season.