NHL Trade Rumors: With Van Riemsdyk Out, Maple Leafs Should Pursue Paul Stastny

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NHL Trade Rumors: With Van Riemsdyk Out, Maple Leafs Should Pursue Paul Stastny
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
With van Riemsdyk rumors being put to rest by an injury, a trade for Paul Stastny may be the Leafs best hope of improving come the trade deadline

It looks like the Toronto Maple Leafs and their fans can end their speculation around the team acquiring talented winger James van Riemsdyk from the Philadelphia Flyers.

After much speculation surrounding a potential swap of 22-year-old youngsters (with the Leafs rumored to be sending defenseman Luke Schenn to Philadelphia), the deal appears to be all but dead after it came to light that van Riemsdyk is out indefinitely with a concussion.

This doesn't mean, however, that the Maple Leafs won't be making a move sometime before Feb. 27.

The Leafs have also been tied to rumors surrounding Ducks' center Ryan Getzlaf (though Getzlaf has indicated he does not want to be moved), but the price may be too high (potentially Luke Schenn, Nazem Kadri and a first round draft pick).

Considering these facts, Getzlaf may not be a realistic possibility for the Maple Leafs.

So where does that leave the Leafs?

We know that general manager Brian Burke is looking to add a bona fide No. 1 center. 

He's also looking for someone who will fit into the long-term plan he's installed—meaning a younger player who will be in Toronto for longer than a season or two.

One such center who may be available is Paul Stastny of the Colorado Avalanche.

While Colorado may still be in a rebuilding phase, Stastny is one of the older players among their young core.

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He has also been a major disappointment this season for the Avalanche, who have struggled offensively as a whole.

It's natural for some to think Colorado won't move Stastny; they are close with the team they have and he could develop into a leader.

But why not trade him for a few more young pieces?  The Avalanche would still have plenty of young talent in Gabriel Landeskog, Ryan O'Reilly and Matt Duchene.

Trading Stastny to Toronto for Nikolai Kulemin, Cody Franson and a third round draft pick in 2013 (as it stands, Toronto does not have a third or fourth round pick this year) could get this deal done.

If there was a time to trade for Stastny, it is now. 

He is now expendable on a young Avalanche squad, his price may be lower than it will ever be and Toronto has the pieces the Avalanche may be looking for.

Kulemin would give them depth on the wing, while Franson would provide a big body with a great shot on the blue line.

With all factors considered, it may be Toronto's best and most realistic trade possible to improve their lineup before the Feb. 27 trade deadline.

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