Maple Leafs deal draft pick to Canucks for veteran Luke Schenn

What was already an active day for the Toronto Maple Leafs was even busier Tuesday when they reacquired defenseman Luke Schenn in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks.

Getting Schenn, whom the Maple Leafs drafted with the No. 5 overall pick back in 2008, meant Toronto parted with a 2023 third-round pick to acquire one of the more sought-after defensive options ahead of the deadline. There are several qualities that made Schenn, who spent his first four NHL seasons with the team that drafted him, so coveted.

He's a 6-foot-2, 227-pound top-six option who can do more than just play a physical game. Schenn is also having what might be the strongest offensive campaign of his career. He has three goals and 21 points in 55 games, which leaves him two points shy of setting a new career high.

The 33-year-old is also a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Tampa Bay Lightning, who provides playoff experience and can be trusted to log key minutes in several situations. He played in 11 postseason games for Tampa Bay in 2020, compiling two points, and eight more in 2021, scoring once.

Then, there's the financial component. One of the narratives around this year's deadline is the reported asking prices for teams interested in moving defensemen. Schenn, as a pending unrestricted free agent carrying a team-friendly $850,000 cap hit, was a more affordable option for teams with little cap space.

Schenn's arrival means the Maple Leafs have nine defensemen on the roster, including Erik Gustafsson, who came to the team earlier in the day in a trade with the Washington Capitals that also saw the Leafs acquire the Boston Bruins' first-round pick. That now leaves the Leafs with three draft picks -- Boston's first along with Toronto's fifth-and sixth-round selections -- going into this summer's upcoming draft.