No doubt there were many changes for the Leafs over the off-season. New faces came in to begin the “first” year of the Leafs rebuilding process, while many fan favourites left to make cap room, and to make room for some younger guys.
However, this article isn’t about what the Leafs did over the off-season, but rather about the changes that might come at trade-deadline day.
Although the day is set for March 4th, which is well over a month away, I say, why not start now? Distance in time has never stopped me before; I did write an article about the (2009) draft back in September. So here we go; who stays, who goes?
Nik Antropov: A few rumours surround this leafs, such as he may be involved in a package deal with Kubina. Despite the rumour, I don’t see Antropov going anywhere. He's the top guy and one of the best leaders on the ice. It may have taken him longer to grow into the player he was expected to be, but now he is one of the guys they can build around in the future. Stays!
Jason Blake: I, myself would like to see Blake stay in Toronto. I think he is a skilled player, but since coming to Toronto he hasn’t been playing the way people thought he was going to play unfortunately. Now that Brian Burke is the Leafs GM, older guys, especially the ones that aren’t contributing to the team on a regular basis, will have no place in the Leaf locker room. Going.
Grabovski/Hagman: They just came in this season. Both are playing well and there is no reason to trade them at this time. Therefore, it likely will not happen. Stay.
Ryan Hollweg: If Brian Burke has any sense at all, he will trade Hollweg. Since he came to Toronto, all he has managed to do is show us how much of an idiot he is. The total of games he was suspended this season is greater than his point total, which happens to be two. People say he brings grit, but they are wrong. He’s worse than Sean Avery, at least Avery can put the puck in the net on occasion. Going!
Jamal Myers: He may only have a few more points than Hollweg, but at least he hasn’t been suspended and hasn’t made himself look like a complete moron. Myers is all the grit we need (well...Brad May might help). Myers is a fighter and is here to stick up for teammates, aside from that he has some skating ability and jumps in on the rush. Myers is helpful in the corners; he is big and not afraid to go in hard on the puck. He has the ability to be a leader and will be an important part of the team. Stay
Dominic Moore: Some thought he was washed up when he came to Toronto, but since arriving in the city his game has improved and he looks rejuvenated and speedy on the ice. He has 23 points in 45 games which is about a point every second game, good enough for a second or third liner. Stay
Alexei Ponikarovsky: One of Toronto’s few Star players. He has 30 points through 45 games and the Leafs would be struggling (more than they are) without him. The only way Poni would leave is if they get a descent player and a draft pick in return for him. It is unlikely any GM will give up that much for him. Staying
Matt Stajan: Impressive young talent Stajan is becoming a valuable member of the Leafs, not only as a player on the ice, but, perhaps as a piece of trade bait later on. To a team that wants a skilled young forward to bring speed to the line-up Stajan may not be safe from a trade at the deadline. Possibly going.
Lee Stempniak: When he came to the Leafs no one knew of him and now a month later!...they still don’t? Stempniak hasn’t done, well, anything really. I expected him to be one of the hard working guys and that is great on the back check and fore-check. On occasion, Stempniak has done so but more often than not, he seems to be lagging and hardly noticeable on the ice. However, I think he may get a second chance from Brian Burke. Staying
Thus concludes the forwards, later in the week I will be making a similar list for defenseman. My original intention was to include the entire team, but due to the lack of available time I was forced to cut this short and I am unsure when I will be able to write the follow up to this.
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