Toronto Maple Leafs Trade Speculation: 5 Pre-Draft Trades to Consider
What's a Leaf fan to do between the months of May and September, except argue with fellow fans about the recently finished season and fantasize about the upcoming one?
The following five trade proposals will attempt to remedy this problem without sacrificing the Leafs' playoff chances for the 2012-13 season.
Please leave your thoughts below regarding these trade proposals and feel free to leave your own wacky trade ideas for the rest of us to tear apart.
Acquiring the Second Overall Pick
The following trade proposal assumes that the Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired a starting goaltender, such as Roberto Luongo or Josh Harding.
CBJ second overall pick
TOR 35th overall pick
By acquiring the second overall pick from Columbus, Toronto will be able to rest easy that Alex Galchenyuk will be available when they pick.
The Jackets don't have a lot of depth at any position, but their biggest weakness is, arguably, their goaltending.
Curtis Sanford is KHL-bound, which leaves Allen York to serve as the full-time backup to Steve Mason.
However, Mason is still young, as is James Reimer. Both still have time to rediscover their game and to develop further. A healthy goaltending battle between two young netminders could help both of them emerge from their slumps (I use this term loosely).
In Holzer, the Jackets get another young piece to the puzzle, a solid shutdown defenseman who is on the cusp of being NHL-ready.
Joe Colborne is a good prospect who also might be NHL-ready, but won't get too much playing time with the Leafs this coming season. The big club has too many centremen already, and it doesn't appear any of them are leaving anytime soon.
Clarke MacArthur can be relied upon for 20-plus goals and 50-plus points a season. He won't be part of the future for Columbus, but he'd be a good stopgap for the club while they acquire and develop their young talent.
The value of the 35th overall pick, of course, is evident.
This trade would speed up the rebuilding process for the Jackets without cutting any corners (like the Kessel trade did for Toronto, some would argue).
There is no guarantee that whoever is picked No. 2 overall will be able to make the jump to the NHL immediately.
Assuming the Blue Jackets want to make the playoffs sooner rather than later (i.e., "The Edmonton Model"), they would be wise to at least consider trading their second overall pick for immediate help.
Trading Up for the Second Overall Pick
CBJ second overall pick
TOR fifth overall pick
Should the Leafs even trade up? The consensus seems to be that Alex Galchenyuk is their man.
The young centreman could be drafted anywhere between second and fifth overall.
Would the Leafs be happy with a defenseman like Ryan Murray or Morgan Rielly? What about Filip Forsberg, a winger, or Mikhail Grigorenko, another centreman?
If the Leafs don't mind picking any one of those players, then there isn't any point in giving up assets to acquire a higher pick when said assets could be kept or used to acquire a more useful piece.
Again, this trade assumes that the Leafs have acquired a starting goaltender, so James Reimer (or Ben Scrivens, if you like Reimer) becomes expendable.
Holzer is also expendable because of the Leafs' depth on the blue line. It is unlikely that he'll see anything more than spot duty for the big club during the 2012-13 season.
This trade doesn't hurt the Leafs' playoff chances for the upcoming season and provides depth and some degree of stability in goal for the Blue Jackets.
As a bonus for the Leafs, they are guaranteed to get the player they want with their top-five pick.
Matthew Lombardi to the Anaheim Ducks
VAN 87th overall pick
The Anaheim Ducks have a couple of expiring contracts in Jason Blake and Niklas Hagman. While nobody will be sad to see them go, their departure will leave a small void.
That small void could at least be partially filled by Matthew Lombardi.
Lombardi is versatile, and can play as a centreman or as a winger.
His $3.5 million contract will expire after the 2012-13 season, so the Ducks can use him as a stopgap.
He might be slightly overpaid, but this should not cloud the fact that he can be an effective top-nine forward when he is healthy.
For Toronto, this is a salary dump that does not hurt them at all because there are young players in the Leafs organization who are willing and able to take his spot in the lineup.
For Anaheim, this is a case of low-risk, good reward.
Korbinian Holzer to the New York Islanders
NYI 34th overall pick
The New York Islanders don't have much depth on the blue line.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have plenty, so sending Holzer to another team would not hurt at all.
A high second rounder for an unproven prospect might seem a bit steep, but as seen during the recently concluded Calder Cup playoffs, Holzer is an effective shutdown defenseman.
The Islanders would be wise to part ways with aging defensemen Steve Staios (38 years old) and Mark Eaton (35 years old), and bring in some youth to replace them.
Last season, they went minus-19 and minus-17, respectively. Nobody will miss them.
If the Islanders want a little more for their pick, Toronto has plenty of prospects to toss into the deal.
Just for kicks, the Leafs should then trade for Anaheim's 36th overall pick so they can have three picks in a row (like in the fifth round of the 2008 NHL Draft, except better this time).
James Reimer to the Chicago Blackhawks
TOR 35th overall pick
CHI 18th overall pick
Again, assuming the Leafs have traded for a goalie like Luongo or Harding, one of Reimer or Scrivens will become expendable.
Corey Crawford had a pretty good year with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2011-12. He went 33-18-10, had a goals-against-average of 2.30 and a save percentage of 0.917.
This past season, his numbers dipped. His record wasn't bad at 30-17-7, but his GAA rose to 2.72 and his save percentage dropped to a mediocre 0.903.
One good season and everybody loves you.
One bad season and some of your fans start turning on you.
Sounds awfully similar to James Reimer's situation, doesn't it?
The Hawks have Ray Emery under contract for another year, but I'm sure they can find a creative way of letting him go.
Reimer and Crawford could battle it out for the top spot. After all, at 24 and 27 years of age, respectively, both still have room to grow.
At the 18th spot, the Toronto Maple Leafs would have a shot at drafting Toronto native Malcolm Subban, who is probably the best goalie available in this year's draft.