Paul Stastny may be the right fit for the Maple Leafs, but only under the right circumstances.
When Dave Nonis announced that the Toronto Maple Leafs would be looking to make more moves and that no one on the roster was untouchable after acquiring Jonathan Bernier, it set off a chain of NHL trade rumors involving one of hockey's most popular franchises.
According to Darren Dreger of TSN, the Maple Leafs are open to moving just about anyone on the roster, should other teams phone with any interest:
Some rumblings Phaneuf may be in play. Nonis says he will trade just about anyone, but says no one has called on the captain...yet. #TSN— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 23, 2013
That deal, to put it lightly, would be an absolute disaster from the Leafs' standpoint.
For starters, Phaneuf is an incredibly important part of the team's defense.
Not only was he among the team's leaders in points, hits, blocked shots, time on ice, penalty killing time and shots on goal, but he was also among the league leading defensemen in some of those categories—he was a top-10 defenseman in hits, points, total time on ice and total time on ice while shorthanded.
If an already-lackluster defense were to lose Phaneuf, there's no telling just how shaky they would be in 2013-14.
Then there's the Paul Stastny half of the equation.
With a price tag of $6.6 million this season, Stastny is the highest-paid player the Colorado Avalanche have on their roster.
That probably wouldn't be too much of an issue, so long as Stastny had been producing at a level that warranted that kind of salary.
Then there's also the fact that the Avalanche already have another two centers, both of them being more productive, younger and cheaper.
And, if that wasn't enough, the Avs executive vice president of hockey operations, Joe Sakic, told Dater that the team was looking at passing on top defensive prospect Seth Jones in favor of one of the ultra-talented forwards with the first overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft on June 30.
What do you think of the Leafs pursuing Paul Stastny?
With two of those three forwards also being centers (Nathan MacKinnon and Alexander Barkov), that statement by Sakic could be the nail in Stastny's coffin.
Should they elect to draft MacKinnon, that would give Colorado three younger, cheaper and more controllable centers to build around than Stastny.
Factor in Stastny's hefty price tag and you've got yourself the perfect recipe for a compliance buyout.
So why waste valuable assets (or in this case, one of your most important roster players) on a center who may become available in the next few days anyway?
Let me be clear, it's not that the Leafs shouldn't look into signing Stastny should he become available, it's that they should avoid trading for him and parting with assets unnecessarily.
At the right price, Stastny could be the perfect the pickup for the Leafs. A change of scenery and explosive linemates like Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk could help revive his fading career.
Toronto just has to remain patient.
All things considered, the Avs buying out Stastny seems inevitable.
Not to mention, even if the Leafs don't manage to land the 27-year-old Quebec City native, it's not the end of the world.
Stastny coming to Toronto isn't just a risky proposition, but it would also be a luxury.