With the NHL season just about half over, chatter about potential trades around the league is sure to pick up.
After last season's disappointing finish, many were speculating that the Anaheim Ducks would trade Ryan Getzlaf or Corey Perry, or both, before they depart as free agents. Now that Anaheim is one of the league's top teams, however, the chances of the Ducks dealing either of their stars is slim-to-none.
Yet for the Toronto Maple Leafs, maybe there is still a deal to be made with Bob Murray's southern California squad.
Instead of trading for big-bodied center Ryan Getzlaf, Toronto should look to ship a player the other way. This, of course, doesn't necessarily mean that the Leafs should be sellers this season, but if a deal can be made that keeps the core of this team in tact while also building for the future, GM Dave Nonis should pull the trigger.
The type of deal I'm talking about would see Maple Leafs forward Clarke MacArthur heading west, with Toronto bringing back Anaheim's first-round draft selection in 2013.
When you consider what each team would be gaining in this potential deal, it really does seem to be mutually beneficial.
For starters, the Leafs would add another first-round pick in this year's fairly deep draft, while Anaheim would be adding a secondary goal scorer who is known to score 20 or more goals per season (across 82 games, that is).
Furthermore, MacArthur would be an ideal target for the Ducks, as his contract expires after this season, which means that his $3.25 million salary wouldn't be a hindrance in Anaheim's quest to lock up both Getzlaf and Perry this offseason. The Ducks may also be more willing to give up their first pick in the draft at this point, since the team is playing so well and the pick could come in the latter stages of the first round.
For Toronto, losing MacArthur (who has been bumped to Toronto's third line) would not hurt its playoff chances, yet he is a piece that could help bring in an asset to build for the future. With Joffrey Lupul expected to return in the next few weeks, MacArthur isn't likely to make the jump to Toronto's top six anytime soon.
With Toronto and Anaheim being familiar when it comes to making deals (the two teams came together in 2010 when Toronto shipped Jason Blake and Vesa Toskala to Anaheim, as well as in 2011, when Toronto acquired Joffrey Lupul and Jake Gardiner from the Ducks), and former Leafs GM Brian Burke (who signed MacArthur to his current contract) back in Anaheim, there is no reason to believe that this deal can't get done.