Leafs D Liles Sprains Ankle, Out Day-to-Day: Should Leafs Look at Bouwmeester?

Brad LeClair@beerad87Correspondent IMarch 24, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 09:  Jay Bouwmeester #4 of the Calgary Flames plays defense against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on March 9, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The Toronto Maple Leafs finally did it last night. They beat the Boston Bruins 3-2 on the strength of a game-winning goal by Frazer McLaren. The Leafs were outshot and probably outplayed the entire game, though.

Goaltender James Reimer stood tall and backstopped the Leafs to victory after the Leafs lost defenceman John Michael Liles to an ankle injury.

Initially, the injury looked as if Liles got cut by Daniel Paille's skate, but Liles luckily ended up only spraining his ankle. Liles, according to TSN's Jonas Siegel, is listed as day-to-day with the injury and won't accompany the Leafs on their road trip to Boston.

With defenceman Mike Kostka sitting in the press box, he's the obvious choice to replace Liles, as both he and Leafs star sophomore defenceman Jake Gardiner were nearly unstoppable this year with the Marlies prior to the NHL season starting.

However, I'm thinking bigger picture here.

After disposing of Mike Komisarek's contract to the AHL's Toronto Marlies, as well as the expiring Tim Connolly's deal, the Leafs are in great shape heading into the April 3 trade deadline. With so many teams still in play for a playoff berth, many clubs will be in buy-now mode as they try to make that final push for a playoff spot.

A team likely out of the playoff push is the Calgary Flames.

With rumors of Jarome Iginla submitting a list of teams he'd like to be traded to, the Flames appear to be in sell mode.

According to sources informing TSN's Darren Dreger,  "Iginla submitted a list of four teams he would approve a trade to; the Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings."

A couple of players who jump out at me are goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff and defenceman Jay Bouwmeester. Both are making a ton of cash ($5.80 million for Kiprusoff and $6.60 million for Bouwmeester); however, both players fill a glaring need for the Leafs.

Kiprusoff is that legit No. 1 goalie the Leafs have been longing for since the days of Ed Belfour and Curtis Joseph. However, with the way James Reimer is playing now, the Leafs might think going after Kiprusoff is a tad excessive.

One player that might not be excessive, other than the contract of course, is Jay Bouwmeester.

He's a smooth-skating, three-zone defenceman who plays in all situations. He's a top-four defenceman, and to a man, is probably a better shutdown defenceman than anything the Leafs currently have on their defensive core.

With Morgan Rielly playing in the AHL, and a few others nearing an NHL debut, the Leafs defence is definitely in need of some veteran experience to help them develop their youngsters.

Bouwmeester, who plays over 25 minutes a night, is a workhorse for the Flames, but his hefty price tag might mean he could come at a bargain.

Players like Joe Colborne, Stuart Percy, Jesse Blacker, Korbinian Holzer, goaltender Ben Scrivens, Brad Ross, Greg McKegg and Spencer Abbott are all guys the Leafs would be willing to include in a trade. However, I expect the Flames to ask for expiring contracts and/or draft picks in return for Bouwmeester.

The Flames have never been a team that has drafted well, so I would find it weird for them to ask for draft picks in return, when in reality, they should be asking for prospects.

The Leafs managed to get Dion Phaneuf for spare-part veterans, and I expect the Flames to learn from their mistakes and ask for something with a little more upside.

With the trade deadline nearly a week away, the rumors will continue to swirl, but like all trade deadlines, I have a feeling it will all be hype with little to no substance.


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