September 2nd 2008 — Leafs Ex-GM Cliff Fletcher sends disgruntled defenseman Brian McCabe and a 4th round pick to the Florida Panthers in exchange for defenceman Mike Van Ryn.
Brian McCabe is the captain of the Panthers and a staple on the blue line.
Mike Van Ryn has played a grand total of 27 games with the Leafs due to injuries.
Van Ryn is now an undeclared free agent, as his contract with the Leafs has expired. The Leafs now face a problem: Do they re-sign a player who they have only got 27 games out of or let him walk?
The obvious choice is to let him walk, and I think you'll find most of Leafs nation agreeing with that as we have an abundance of quality NHL defenseman.
Not so fast. According to www.penisonplanpuppets.com, Van Ryn has had succesful re-habilitation from his injury and is ready to play again.
"I’ve said all along, I’d like to be here and be a part of [the Leafs’ rebuilding]," Van Ryn said yesterday. "Whatever role they want to put me in, I’d be happy just to get back on and wear the uniform and play again. It’s a fun room to be around."
"We missed him last year, and I think to an extent we’ve missed him a lot this year," Wilson said. "You look at our record last year, when he was in the lineup, and it was five or six games over 500 [13-8-6]. … He’s a good guy, great in the room, too. Hopefully, things will work out for him and we can help in his comeback next year."
Van Ryn has always been a solid blue liner, and if he can stay healthy he will be able to help a young Toronto Maple Leafs team push for the playoffs.
If they were to re-sign him, he would come back at a very cheap price on a one year audition contract.
This of course would cancel the possibility of Juraj Mikus, Phil Oreskovic, or Keith Aulie suiting up for the Leafs, as they would have to spend the season in the AHL and wait for injury call ups.
Burke would likely be fine with that, as he doesn't want to rush his prized defensive prospects into the show — they would do well with some seasoning in the American League.
Possible defensive pairings for the next season, assuming that Kaberle and Exelby won't be returning, and Leafs sign Van Ryn:
Extra: Finger(maybe in the minors)
Don't count Van Ryn out of your 2010-2011 Maple Leafs roster Leafs fans.