Throughout the past few weeks, trade rumors have run rampant through Toronto, with fans crying for Brian Burke to pull off another blockbuster trade. There are many names being linked to the Maple Leafs, but the most reoccurring are Rick Nash, Bobby Ryan, Eric Staal, and Ryan Getzlaf.
However, Leaf fans should be hoping that Brian Burke only targets Ryan or Getzlaf. By acquiring Nash or Staal, Burke would not only have to give up quality talent but would also leave the Leafs in financial strain for the immediate future.
Let's compare the contracts of these four:
Rick Nash: $7,800,000 cap hit through 2017-2018
Bobby Ryan: $5,100,000 cap hit through 2014-2015
Ryan Getzlaf: $5,325,000 cap hit through 2012-2013
In this group we have four physical power forwards with two wingers (Ryan and Nash) and two centers (Staal and Getzlaf). Take note of the large cap hit and contract length deferential between the players.
The contracts of Nash and Staal have a higher cap hit of $5,625,000 per year over the contracts of Ryan and Getzlaf. On top of that, their contracts last an additional 7 years over the contracts of Ryan and Getzlaf. That's a lot more money over a lot more time for two very similar players.
Who should the Leafs target?
In regards to their age, Staal and Nash are both 27 years old, while Getzlaf and Ryan are 26 and 24, respectively.
But their closet comparison comes in point totals over the previous two years, excluding the woeful season each player is currently having. Over that span Nash has scored 133 points, Staal has 146, Ryan with 135 and Getzlaf with 145. The similarity in points scored between the four is incredible, especially when you group them by position.
The one thing that these stats make abundantly clear is that if Burke is going to sell the farm to bring one of these stars to the Maple Leafs, it doesn't make sense to trade for Nash or Staal, especially with the availability of equivalent younger and cheaper talent.