Barely a week into the real NHL offseason and Brian Burke and the Toronto Maple Leafs have already made splash. They began by shocking the league and fans alike by drafting Morgan Rielly and Matt Finn in the first two rounds when it had been widely speculated they would draft a forward. While shocking, they are two excellent picks who have the ability to stabilize the Leafs' blue line for years to come with Dion Phaneuf, Jake Gardiner, Jesse Blacker and potentially Justin Schultz.
Not long after the draft, Burke shipped Luke Schenn to Philadelphia for James Van Riemsdyk. While this trade had been rumored for several months, it is still hard to determine whether it is beneficial or not. Sure, Van Riemsdyk adds much needed size up front, but he is coming off an injury and carries a large cap hit at $4.25 million per year.
I personally don't mind the deal but am very sad to see Schenn go. While he had been very inconsistent throughout his time with the Leafs, he still has a lot of potential. With more work on his skating and gained confidence, he could be a great defender for years to come. Maybe a reunion with his younger brother Brayden is just what he needs to move in the right direction.
Now that the Leafs have gained more depth in the back end, it opens up more possibilities when it comes to trades, which they used to address a need in the Van Riemsdyk deal. Now the Leafs have a few more holes that need to be filled according sportsnet.ca columnist Mike Brophy. He says the Leafs have other needs, like acquiring a top line center, solidifying their goaltending situation by acquiring a legitimate number one guy and all-around leadership in his column here.
While there are plenty of options available through free agency, the Leafs will likely get most of their changes done through trades. While obvious players to be traded like Tim Connolly, Colby Armstrong, Matthew Lombardi and Mike Komisarek come up, this article will focus on other players who could be traded and which teams would likely target them.