With the Anaheim Ducks still 10 points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference, there continues to be trade speculation regarding their top forwards. Ryan Getzlaf in particular very well may be the missing piece the Toronto Maple Leafs are looking for.
According to Bob Mitchell of the Toronto Star, there have been a couple trade rumors regarding the Leafs and Ducks. The most sensible seems to be a deal that would involve the Leafs sending forwards Tyler Bozak, Nazem Kadri, Joe Colborne and defenseman Luke Schenn to Anaheim for Getzlaf. A first-round pick could possibly replace Colborne in the proposal as well.
That may seem like a hefty price to pay, but Toronto needs an impact player if it is serious about making a playoff run. General manager Brian Burke has said that he doesn't want to make the playoffs simply for the sake of making them. Once in the postseason, he wants to do some damage.
Getzlaf is certainly the type of player that can make the Maple Leafs a very dangerous team. At 6'4" and 240 lbs., Getzlaf is the big, tough, playmaking center that every team wants. Getzlaf has obviously struggled this season compared to his normal output with just eight goals and 26 assists so far this season.
Essentially Anaheim's entire roster is underachieving this year, though, so it's hard to put all the blame on Getzlaf. He is just 26 years old, so it isn't as if he is over the hill or anything of that nature. If anything, Getzlaf could use a change of scenery, so the Leafs would be wise to make a run at him.
Prior to this season Getzlaf has four straight seasons of at least 69 points and he was a "plus" player in every one of those campaigns. Getzlaf has never been a big goal scorer as his career-high in that department is just 25, but he would be effective as a setup man in Toronto with players like Phil Kessel, Joffrey Lupul and Clarke MacArthur to feed.
Toronto would undoubtedly be giving up a lot of young talent in the rumored deal, but in order to receive quality, a team has to give up some quality. Bozak is a decent player, but he is never going to become the first- or second-line center many expected, so trading him shouldn't be an issue.
Kadri and Colborne both have a ton of potential, but it comes down to whether the Leafs want "maybes" or a proven commodity like Getzlaf. Kadri has had a couple cracks at then NHL and has largely disappointed. While that doesn't mean he's going to be a failure, there may be some reason to worry.
As for Schenn, he certainly isn't the elite defensive defenseman Leafs fans thought they had following his rookie season, but he is a solid defender nonetheless. He is a good shot blocker and body checker, but he is obviously expendable in a deal for Getzlaf.
Since Colborne has a lot of potential, the Leafs would be best served to offer the Ducks Bozak, Kadri, Schenn and a first for Getzlaf. The big pivot has one year and a $5.32 million cap hit remaining on his current deal, so Toronto will have to be sure it can re-sign him before making the deal.
Prior to this season I doubt the Ducks would have even considered the rumored deal. With the way the season has gone, though, it is no longer out of the question. Anaheim be able to squeeze a better deal out of the Leafs, but that could be enough to land him, especially if Colborne is included.
Leafs fans generally seem to love their younger players, but a legitimate stud like Getzlaf would be invaluable. The Leafs can't just pull a player of his caliber out of thin air, so they should take a risk and deal some of their youth for a player who can be a big-time difference maker.