As the trade deadline comes around, it's debatable just how much the Toronto Maple Leafs will be doing to improve the team. The Leafs currently sit in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, barely qualifying for the playoffs if they were to start today. If they manage to make it, it would be the first time since the 2003-2004 season.
The Leafs are hanging onto a playoff position with all their might. It may not be enough, and they could find themselves as buyers to be deadline day. To be buyers, they may need to part with valuable pieces of their team or prospects who could contribute in the near future. Here are six guys who might not be with the Leafs after the trade deadline on February 27.
Keith Aulie has moved up and down from the AHL between the starting lineup of the Maple Leafs club. Aulie has shown from time to time that he can be a good defender for the Leafs. Aulie has only played in 16 games for the Leafs this season.
If the Leafs are looking to make a big trade, he might be a throw in player in the package. At age 23, Aulie's potential makes him an interesting piece with whom the Leafs could be willing to part.
After being one of the most dominant Leafs last season with a 62-point season, Clarke McArthur has slowed down this past season for the Leafs with only 32 points in 52 games this season. After receiving a contract extension last year for his breakout season, the Leafs may be looking to move the dealer for something this deadline.
Either way, the Leafs lean in come trade deadline, whether it be for a prospect or to get even better, McArthur could sent to a new team on February 27th.
Mikhail Grabovski is one who many Maple Leafs fans speculate won't be with the Leafs after the deadline. If the team is looking to trade, Grabovski is most likely to be the one to get sent away. He is in the final year of his contract, and teams are interested in him.
If Leafs general manager Brian Burke doesn't think he can re-sign him for good value, the Leafs could see him go.
TSN's Darren Dreger reported on Friday that the Leafs had an offer on the table for the center that consisted of a second-round pick and a prospect. While that potential trade may not be the offer to move Grabovski, who probably has higher value than that, we could see Grabovski on the move if a better offer comes around.
Nazem Kadri is considered to be the best prospect still not receiving a full-time job in the NHL, but he may have to restart his career in another location.
Kadri, a 21-year-old forward who has played in 19 games for the Leafs this year, could be sent on his way on deadline day in a package to bring in a player who can contribute regularly for the Leafs right now instead of later.
He could also be moved for a prospect the Leafs feel have better potential than Kadri. After all, they've moved him up and down from the NHL to the AHL so many times they might not feel like Kadri can be a regular contributor in this league.
This may seem like a cop out and makes the list more of a six-player list, but it's too tough to decide between the two goalies which is more likely to be shipped on the trade deadline.
Jonas Gustavsson could be moved by the Leafs in an attempt to bring in a new goalie or a prospect. After three seasons in the NHL, Gustavsson has failed to turn into the "Monster" that the Leafs envisioned he would be after signing him in the summer of 2009. The goalie from Sweden is already 27, and maybe the Leafs would like to move him while they can.
James Reimer, on the other hand, hasn't been as consistent this year as he was last year, unable to push forth as the starter like he did last year. But at age 23 and with his performance in the 2010-2011 season still fresh in the minds of many, Reimer may be a piece in a deal to bring in a big name.
Both goalies are expendable with Ben Scrivens, 25, playing for the Marlies. Scrivens, could come up and take over the role as a backup goalie. After filling in well as a backup after Reimer's injury in October, Scrivens could jump in and do well. The Leafs also have Jussi Rynass, 24,in the system, who has received hype as a potential goalie of the future.