Gearing up for a postseason run, Toronto Maple Leafs acquire veteran forward Nick Foligno

The Columbus Blue Jackets traded captain Nick Foligno to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday.

The Blue Jackets received a 2021 first-round pick, as well as a 2022 fourth-round choice, and will also retain 25% of Foligno's contract, which expires this summer. Foligno is in the final season of a six-year contract with a $5.5 million cap hit, and waived a no-trade clause to complete the deal.

"This is an opportunity for me," Foligno said. "Let's be honest: It's been a tough year here in Columbus, and I take a lot of that responsibility, so this is an opportunity that I get that I'm not going to waste."

The San Jose Sharks served as a broker in the trade, and sent forward Stefan Noesen to Columbus for a fourth-round pick. Since the Sharks are retaining a percentage of Foligno's cap hit also, the Maple Leafs are on the hook for only 25% of Foligno's salary.

"Nick Foligno has been everything you'd want in a captain, in a representative of your team and ambassador for your community. His contributions to the Blue Jackets franchise and the impact he and his family have had off the ice is immeasurable," Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen said in a statement. "We are grateful for everything he, Janelle, and their family have done for and with us over the past nine years. Given where we are right now, this move made sense for us as an organization and for Nick."

The Maple Leafs also acquired goaltender David Rittich from the Calgary Flames for a 2022 third-round draft pick. His playing time was way down this year after the Flames signed Jacob Markstrom this offseason. Calgary retains half of Rittich's $2.75 million salary, and he'll be an unrestricted free agent after the season.

The Leafs have been fortunate to have Jack Campbell star as a starter after Frederik Andersen went down. He is on long-term injured reserve with a lower-body injury, and it's uncertain when the longtime starter will return.

Columbus has made the playoffs in four straight seasons, often overachieving despite big free-agency losses, such as Sergei Bobrovsky and Artemi Panarin. Things haven't gone as smoothly this season, as Columbus is seventh out of eight teams in the Central Division.

"I really appreciate Jarmo allowing me the opportunity to go and chase my dream of winning a Cup with a team that I feel has a great opportunity of doing that," Foligno said. "I feel really good about the decision we made."

Already, the Blue Jackets have jettisoned unhappy center Pierre-Luc Dubois for Patrik Laine, but the transition hasn't gone smoothly. The Blue Jackets are now looking at a retool.

On Saturday, the Blue Jackets also obtained a first-round pick by trading away defenseman David Savard, who spent his entire 10-year career with the Blue Jackets.

Foligno is a high-energy forward who plays a sound defensive game. He'll add value to the bottom of the Maple Leafs' star-studded lineup.

"I felt like they were a team that learned a lot about themselves," Foligno said. "I just felt it was a fit for me just in the sense of just what I can bring and help."

Toronto currently leads the North Division. Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas made it an emphasis to add veteran grit this season. The Maple Leafs added 32-year-old Wayne Simmonds and 41-year-old Joe Thornton in free agency.

"I'm full steam ahead with the Toronto Maple Leafs," Foligno said. "That's my focus, and that's what they deserve, and I'm excited about this opportunity. I'm thrilled to get going with these guys and see what I can do and how I can help and hopefully it's all good things."