The temperature is just right for the Toronto Maple Leafs to finally get the big forward they have been clamoring for, and a Ryan Malone trade suits the Tampa Bay Lightning quite nicely as well.
Damien Cox of the Toronto Star writes a tasty little rumor that makes perfect sense when you consider the lot each interested party finds themselves in currently.
He finds that the middling Toronto Maple Leafs could use a force at forward and has the perfect solution for such a conundrum. The Maple Leafs are third in the Northeast with 49 points, 10 off the pace set by the Boston Bruins.
Tampa Bay finds themselves in a similar disposition and may be ready to pack it all in. At the very least, a cash dump may be much more enticing than continuing to sink with high-priced talent on their squad.
Which brings us once more to Tampa Bay Lightning left winger Ryan Malone, once one of the more highly regarded power forwards in the game, now less of a force for the Bolts, who sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings right now...The money-losing Lightning might well like to shed that deal, particularly with more than $20 million annually tied up in Vinny Lecavalier, Steve Stamkos and Marty St. Louis.
The Ligtning's woes continue on defense, and they would be able to wrestle free some talent in exchange for a star like Malone leaving.
The Leafs have been clamoring for a sizable winger and may overlook some of the issues that have no doubt frustrated the Tampa Bay front office for weeks now. As Cox states:
He's (Malone) 32 years old, has only nine goals in 38 games this season and carries a contract that comes with a salary cap hit of $4.5 million the next three years after this one.
When the chance presents itself to get more help in defense or possibly get younger, it has to be examined. There is the added intrigue of also shedding a great deal of the hit from Malone's weighty contract.
Tampa Bay gets relief and Toronto gets bigger; everyone is happy. That is exactly what trades should look like, and now, we get to sit back and see if all plays out as it should.