I’ll be the first to admit that I absolutely love speculating the Leafs future roster and what type of moves they should make.
It’s always fun to read a lot of opinions regarding the situations with Kaberle and Kulemin, and who the Leafs might target should they follow the unrestricted free agent route.
Despite all this, none of us really know what will transpire over the next few months, but some will be closer than others in accurately predicting what’s next for the blue and white.
If you want to read up on some Kaberle scenarios or add your own, Maple Leafs Hot Stove has set up a brilliant “Kaberle Trade Pool ” where the most accurate Kaberle trade prediction gets an amazing prize; major props from the rest of Leafs Nation.
The hype train behind the Leafs has never been bigger than right now.
Last year after the Kessel deal, a lot of fans were excited for the new look Leafs but with the overhaul yet to be complete, a Leafs lineup filled with underachieving veterans dug the team into the pits of hell early on. Well, that’s a little harsh, but you get the idea.
Now, finally the excuses have dried up and the hype surrounding this off-season has Leafs Nation buzzing. But it’s wise to stay realistic about what’s coming up next.
No team, owner, general manager, player or coach owes any favor to the Leafs. Nobody wants to trade their star player for Leafs junk.
In order to pull off a deal of any magnitude you need assets. Or at least you need to make it look like you have assets (Sutter should take note.)
But right now the Maple Leafs only really have one trade asset in Kaberle, and outside of a swap for him there will be minimal moving around for the Buds.
That’s why the pending Kaberle trade is so important and why there’s so much buzz surrounding it.
And who knows? It may not even happen.
When talking about free agents some of the same rules apply. As much as we don’t want to believe it, there are 29 other teams in the league that UFA’s can deal with.
The Leafs will have to take what they can get if it makes sense, at the right price. So you can see where improving the team drastically and overhauling it into to a Cup contender is certainly no easy feat.
Everyone has their own idea of how to build the Leafs into a Cup contender. But Brian Burke is the only guy getting paid to actually do it.
And it isn’t like Ilya Kovalchuk & Patrick Marleau are calling him up to join the Leafs ASAP.
Burke’s job is one of the toughest in all of the league. And despite the fact that Toronto hails as the hockey mecca, players simply don’t fair well under the constant scrutiny.
The Leafs list of free agents to target is likely very small, and Burke will have to look at who else is moving around salary before really getting involved.
I don’t think there’s anyone out there that he’s trying to beat others to the punch to acquire.
With trades it’s tough to call as well. A lot of Leafs fans have Sharp, Versteeg, Ryan, Richards, and Neal all targeted.
But again, more teams out there can put together much better packages than Burke right now.
The Leafs don’t have the strongest prospect pool, are barren of draft picks, and have literally no assets outside of Kaberle.
It will require another Burke bombshell to land this team what it desperately needs; top six talent. Can he do it? I don’t see why not.
Ever read Al Strachan’s “Why the Leafs Suck and How They Can Be Fixed”?
Well despite the title, Strachan has little to no clue on how to fix the Leafs either.
His guess is as good as ours...actually it's much worse.
So, I say continue to be a fan and speculate all you want. But don’t be too surprised if the 2010-11 Leafs look at least a little familiar.