Toronto is back up to three designated players after agreeing to take on Eric Hassli, sending a 2014 first round pick and an international spot (through 2013) to Vancouver. The 31-year-old French striker will slot into the injured Danny Koevermans’ spot with the Reds’s XI while Martin Rennie will have to find somebody to take Hassli’s spot on his bench. Perhaps he could stack the remainder of Hassli’s $790,000 salary in the spot.
It’s an amazing deal, one that reeks of desperation from Toronto. It’d be too far to say you can’t blame them, but you can understand where Paul Mariner’s coming from. He’s doing everything he can to keep a good thing going. Koevermans, done for the year after tearing up his left knee, had nine of the team’s 24 league goals. None of those came during TFC’s current three-game winning streak, and given how rare those types of runs are, Mariner won’t want much to change. Bringing in Hassli allows him to slot in a player like-for-like, keeping the rest of the team the same.
There is the little matter of goals, though. Hassli has only two this year, and having scored only 12 times in a season-and-a-half in the league, there will be doubts as to whether Hassli can fill Koevermans’ hot shoes.
Mariner, however, sees something different: “Adding a player of Eric’s ability gives an immediate improvement to our club.”
Improvement, I believe, but the key word there is ability. Nobody doubts Eric Hassli’s ability, but at some point that has to lead to goals. Last season, he was inconsistent but dangerous. This season, he has two goals in 897 minutes. And at the time of the trade, he sat second on Vancouver’s depth chart.
So in exchange for this player who, because of his contract, Vancouver should have been thrilled to give away, the Whitecaps get a first round pick (and Toronto’s first round picks tend to be pretty good). They get a international player slot. They free up Hassli’s international spot. They get a designated player slot back, and they get to keep the cash they would have funneled to Hassli.
And to think: all Martin Rennie has to do is find somebody to take his spot on his bench.