The Toronto Maple Leafs are pushing in all of their chips.
General manager Kyle Dubas paid a steep price to land Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno and exercised some serious creativity to entice Columbus into moving one of its longtime talents.
Dubas used the San Jose Sharks to significantly circumvent Foligno's expiring $5.5-million cap hit, which cost him an additional fourth-round pick on top of the first and fourth-rounder he dealt to Columbus. The Leafs' Stanley Cup window is wide-open, and the gritty veteran brings invaluable attributes that could put the Leafs over the top in the playoffs.
Foligno checks all the boxes for Leafs
Foligno's days as a dangerous offensive player are behind him, but the 33-year-old is a unique two-way skater who can slot into the lineup virtually anywhere. He's capable of filling all three forward positions, can play on both special teams units, and is still skilled enough to play alongside the Maple Leafs' high-flying talent.
The 6-foot-1 grinder has put together a strong body of defensive work in recent years. Foligno's done a terrific job of nullifying his opponent's attack by limiting shot attempts at five-on-five, according to Hockey Viz's isolated impact.
Foligno also brings 51 games of postseason experience, and the Leafs witnessed firsthand how his feisty game translates come playoff time. During last season's five-game series loss to the Blue Jackets, Toronto was outscored 4-0 at five-on-five with Foligno patrolling the ice.
Potential line combinations
Foligno gives the Leafs plenty of different looks, but before we dive in, it's worth mentioning the club will need to make some difficult decisions deeper down the lineup with a pair of extra bodies in the mix.