On the eve of a press conference set in Chicago to announce the signing of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Duncan Keith to multi-year contract extensions, Leafs fans sit anxiously salivating.
Well they are one of just a few clubs that the Blackhawks could dump some salary on in order to allocate enough cap space to lock up their young core of players.
It is the price a team like Chicago has to pay for drafting well in the "new" NHL, and unless you're a Leafs fan, it is a sadder state of affairs than Tiger Woods and his casino cocktail waitress.
While it is common knowledge that Leafs GM Brian Burke has had discussions about acquiring Brent Sopel and his $2.33 million annual salary, the savy manager is also interested in obtaining Patrick Sharp and his $3.9 million per year as well.
This has thrown a wrench in the trade plans, though Hawks GM Stan Bowman knows Sharp will most certainly have to be dealt as he is a player that has attracted the most interest from clubs.
It is a tough pill to swallow for a team that is one of the favorites to make a run this season.
Burke has faced more media scrutiny than a Britney Spears breakdown so far this season, even though the club has gone 7-5-6 since their dreadful 0-7-1 start, and he has only been at the helm a little over a year.
The fact is the Maple Leafs aren't nearly as bad as their record suggests, and to bring a player like Sharp into the mix would only right the ship even further. While adding Sopel gives them one more NHL calibre defenceman to lure to another team for a topnotch forward.
Heck, by the time Brian Burke is done he may just have every defensemen in the NHL playing for the Leafs.
Which may be very handy come the trade deadline.
If Toronto can indeed perpetrate a deal and pilfer Patrick Sharp away from the Blackhawks, than the Maple Leafs are going to be a very dangerous club down the stretch.
They may just make life miserable for the playoff contenders in the East.
And it will be just one more brilliant move pulled off by Burke, who may just be the NHL's answer to the smartest man on TV—Seth Macfarlane.
One has to wonder just how good this Leafs team could have been if Phil Kessel and Jonas Gustavsson would have been healthy to start the season.
They definitely wouldn't have been seven points back of the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Until this deal is completed, this is just another piece from a wannabe sports columnist who is about as well known as the guy who really sang for Milli Vanilli.
Though after tomorrows' press conference in Chicago, the Leafs may be a lot closer than you think.
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