NHL Trade Deadline: Why the Toronto Maple Leafs Must Not Trade for a Forward

Jon Reid@@JonReidCSMCorrespondent IIApril 2, 2013

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 23:  David Clarkson #23 of the New Jersey Devils in action against the Florida Panthers at the Prudential Center on March 23, 2013 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Panthers 2-1.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

We're now just a matter of hours from the NHL's trade deadline.

With the first dominoes already dropping in Jay Bouwmeester to St. Louis and Jaromir Jagr to Boston (both per TSN.ca), the time is ripe for the Toronto Maple Leafs to make a move and improve their chances of competing both this season and in the future.

Don't get me wrong, the Leafs do need to do something in the next 24 hours.

This team isn't quite good enough to get past the first round of the postseason unless it meets the third seed in the Eastern Conference.

However, some Leafs fans want to see the team go out and acquire a forward with size, physical presence and offensive skill.

That kind of move may be something the Leafs should consider, but not at the trade deadline.

Up until now, the Leafs haven't had problems scoring goals. They sit fourth in the league, averaging over 3.1 goals per game.

In the six games that Joffrey Lupul has played since returning from injury, Toronto has tallied at least four goals on four occasions and has a record of 4-0-2.

At this point, Toronto's offense is just fine. As for size, Lupul has been a physical presence since returning (perhaps too physical, considering he has already been suspended), Nazem Kadri has been playing with an edge, Colton Orr and/or Frazer McLaren are in the lineup most nights and Nikolai Kulemin is another forward who holds his own on the physical front.

Acquiring a guy like David Clarkson may be a wise move, but he's not the type of difference-maker that helps a team jump from the first round to the second. Especially a team in Toronto's position.

Furthermore, a guy like Clarkson is available as a free agent this offseason, so why not wait until then to sign him at no added cost?

For those forwards that aren't available as free agents, the case can still be made that waiting until the offseason to trade for them is the better move, as the price to acquire such players then isn't nearly as high as it would be at the trade deadline.

All in all, the smartest move for the Leafs right now would be to acquire help on the back end and wait until the offseason to pull off any other kind of signing or trade.