Top Ten Toronto Maple Leafs That Could Be Gone Come Trade Deadline

Shane House@sghcantcopyAnalyst IFebruary 17, 2009

With trade talks heating up and the Trade Deadline looming in the not-to-distant future, teams are shopping around looking for the best deal.

Seeing what assets teams are willing to give up or seeing what future assets teams are willing to give up.

Brian Burke and the Toronto Maple Leafs will be most active.

They are in the midst of a rebuilding season where the goal is a high draft pick.

Most likely John Tavares but the Islanders are probably going to win that race.

Regardless, the Leafs have a lot of assets that they are willing to get rid of in order to gain as many prospects/draft picks they can.

Here are the top ten players that are available come trade deadline: 

10. Lee Stempniak

When the Leafs traded for Stempniak near the beginning of the season, I thought that we got a legitimate second-third line player who could score 20-goals a season.

Sadly, it hasn't panned out that way.

Ever since arriving to Toronto, he hasn't been playing with the confidence he showed in St. Louis and has dropped right off the map.

I don't see there being a lot of demand for him, but he still has the potential to bounce back and can provide depth for a playoff team that doesn't have a lot.

Will most likely stay but don't be surprised if he fetches a mid-round draft pick when the Trade Deadline rolls around.

9. Anton Stralman

When this guy came over to Toronto from Sweden, some people were comparing his talent to Niklas Lidstrom even, but the Leafs made a mistake that might have screwed this kid right up, they rushed him into the NHL.

He wasn't ready.

He wasn't used to the speed and size of the NHL yet.

He showed glimpses of excellence in some games, but they were usually over-shadowed by major mistakes and bad misfortune.

Besides, can you really see him fitting into a Brian Burke type of team?

I don't think so.

I think that he will be traded, if not this season then eventually because the Leafs might have jumped the gun on bringing him up from the AHL and ruined his confidence.

Look for him to be sent to a team that has a rebuilding defense for another prospect.

8. Jason Blake

Most people have counted Jason Blake out at the Trade Deadline, because he apparently has too big of a contract and is not worth the money.

What people seem to be forgetting is that ever since late November, Blake has been on fire scoring at a point-a-game pace …

… He may not be cheap, but the Leafs might trade him now for another player that has a big contract or just offer to pay some of the contract every year till it runs out.

Either way the Leafs could be able to get out of his contract if he keeps playing well, but in all honesty why get rid of the guy, he is producing and playing very well.

7. Dominic Moore

A fan favorite and for all the right reasons: Dominic Moore has been the biggest surprise of the season.

He went from a borderline fourth line player to a solid two-way player who can play on second-third line—not bad for a waiver wire pick-up.

His value cannot get any higher at this point and with a $900 thousand contract is probably the best deal a team can get.

It is all just a matter if whether Brian Burke likes him or not.

If he does, then he will stay.

If not then he will receive a lot of demand on Trade Deadline.

Look for a team to pick him up for a second-third round pick.

6. Justin Pogge

I guarantee I will get a lot of arguments about this one, but hear me out.

Every time that the Leafs have called up Pogge, it has been against a team that, at the time, had problems scoring and instead of waiting till the Leafs moved Toskala at the Trade Deadline and giving him consistent playing time at the end of the season, they bring him up for one game and send him back.

Now, me being a Leafs fan, the thought of even considering trading Pogge is brutal to think about.

Brian Burke said he had a plan, but he never illustrated it to the media.

Maybe he is bringing him up to show teams what the kid has or maybe he has a plan that has to do with developing the goaltender.

Either way, this idea is an interesting prospect.

We can trade him now and get something guaranteed back or we can wait it out and see if he can develop.

It is all up to Brian Burke, but if for some reason he does trade Pogge, look for Toronto to get a big prospect back or an experienced player that is in his prime.

5. Alexei Ponikarovsky

Ponikarovsky's contract is over at the end of the season and with a big overhaul being predicted for the team, it is almost a guarantee that he will be traded—it’s just a matter of where.

The issue here is Poni's lack of consistency.

When he is hot, he is a good player. When he is cold he is almost absent from the ice.

Right now, Ponikarovsky is cold, which means that he will not sell at a high price, which Burke will not like.

Regardless of how he is playing when the Trade Deadline comes, he will be dealt.

Look for him to fetch a third round pick; maybe a second round pick if he can get “hot.”

4. Pavel Kubina

Controversy surrounded Pavel Kubina during the off-season.

Everybody thought that he would be traded, because the clause in his contract that if the Leafs didn't make the playoffs that there would be a small window of opportunity where he can be traded.

I am guessing when this window was open; Kubina was on pins and needles.

Luckily for him, he wasn't traded and is having a good season.

The problem is the team is still not doing well and Kubina is once again swirling in trade rumours.

Brian Burke asked both Kaberle and Kubina for a list of teams that they would be willing to lift there no-trade clauses for.

At the end of the season, the no-trade clauses will be once again lifted and then Kubina will have no control of where he will go, so I am guessing that he will give his list eventually.

Look for Kubina to fetch a first round pick and a lower pick, along with a conditional pick for next years draft.

3. Vesa Toskala

At the beginning of the season, Toskala was considered to be the Maple Leafs best player, but after consistently playing poorly all season, he is looking more and more like he will be gone by the end of the season.

Burke has already called Toskala out in the media and said he was fed up with his play.

The only thing yet to be determined is whether he will be leaving at Trade Deadline, or at the end of the season.

Vesa Toskala is still a good goaltender and looks like he just needs a change of scenery.

The problem is, because of his contract and the lack of good play, his value is not very high. Burke will still receive offers for Vesa Toskala, the issue is that they might not be to his liking—the offers being too low or just unacceptable.

Brian Burke is a smart man though and I am sure that he can find a way around the situation.

Look for Vesa Toskala to fetch a second-third round pick, along with a conditional pick in this years or next years draft, depending on Toskalas personal performance for the team.

2. Nik Antropov

He’s the most talented forward on the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The problem is he is also one of the most inconsistent.

Nik Antropov is a huge body that is almost impossible to move from the front of the net.

When he is on, he has amazing puck-handling ability and is hard to stop. When he is off, he makes mistakes and the only thing you notice is his lack of speed.

This is the second person that Brian Burke has called out, saying that Antropov's play "does not warrant a new contract," meaning that if Antropov wants to stay, then he should step up his play.

Ever since the comment was made, Antropov's play has gotten better, just not amazing.

I am guessing that Brian Burke said that to get him to play better so he would get more in return for the big forward.

Antropov is relatively cheap for a top six forward and is impossible to move from the opposing teams net.

Look for Antropov to get a first-second round pick, along with a prospect and maybe a conditional pick as well. Matters how well he is playing when he is traded.

1. Tomas Kaberle

Kaberle is easily one of the top 15 defenseman in the NHL.

He has always been able to produce no matter who he has played with and his stats this season are suffering, because of the mediocrity of the team.

He can run any power play and has one of the best first passes in the NHL, but the issue here is that the Maple Leafs are making there team younger and Kaberle is there top asset.

Kaberle has already handed Burke the list of the ten teams he is willing to be traded to which means that he will he traded eventually.

The only issue is the fact that Kaberle's hand is broken and there hasn't been a return date set, meaning that his value might drop slightly when the Trade Deadline rolls around.

Still, Kaberle will receive the most interest for a defenseman behind Jay Bouwmeester and will give Toronto the most assets coming back our way.

He is a top defenseman who, for his skills, has one of the best-valued contracts in the NHL, only making 4.25 million for two more seasons.

Because of this, look for Kaberle to give Toronto a first round pick, a top prospect, and another high pick or a very good player.


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