Sharks Trade Nolan To Leafs

Archived from 2002-03 season.

NHL teams

The Toronto Maple Leafs reeled in the biggest fish of the season before the trading deadline by acquiring winger Owen Nolan from the San Jose Sharks for center Alyn McCauley, highly regarded 20-year-old prospect Brad Boyes and a first-round draft pick in the 2003 entry draft.

"I don't know what I'd do if I got sent to a team that wasn't a contender," Nolan said. "I guess if I'm going to go anywhere, I'm glad I'm going to Toronto where I have a chance to win."

Nolan was the Sharks captain and since arriving in San Jose in 1995 in a deal with Colorado, Nolan had become the Sharks' franchise leader in goals, assists and points.

"It's a tough decision emotionally when you've been with a player through a six-year rebuilding process and we're not where we hope to be," Sharks GM Dean Lombardi, who built his team around the moody power forward said.

"Given a contract with $13 million on it, we're not getting the play to reflect the contract. There's just a few teams interested in a top player. This was the best deal we could get ... and it's a good deal."

Nolan is talented, but sometimes inconsistent and except for 1999-00, when he had 84 points to finish sixth in the NHL in scoring, four of Nolan's last five years with San Jose have been statistically disappointing.

"He's disappointed like everyone else that he didn't reach the next step in his maturity here," Lombardi said. "Hopefully, he'll do it in Toronto."

There has also been reports that Nolan, who is not a natural leader and that was part of the problem in San Jose, had become a disruptive force in the Sharks dressing room.

"We did a lot of research on that," Quinn said. "We were puzzled by those reports but didn't find out anything like that. Is he Mr. Goodfellow? Probably not. But he does care about his teammates."

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