Bobby Ryan, Brad Richards, James Neal, Vinny Lecavalier…these are names that have been thrown around during Maple Leaf trade talk over the past couple of months.
Many trade scenarios have been presented, mostly involving Kaberle, Grabovski, Mitchell and a wide range of Leaf prospects going the other way for one of the players mentioned above.
After reading many articles involving the same content, I figured I would throw a few more name out there to get people thinking beyond these usual suspects.
These players may not be as highly touted as Ryan or Richards, but in my opinion would fit nicely in on the Leafs second line. They are also a little more realistic for those who think getting a future 80–90 point player for Kaberle, Grabovski, and Mitchell is a bit far-fetched.
Here are some useful players I think Burke should target via trade. No specific trade scenarios here, just players that could be part of a package for a deal most likely involving Kaberle:
J amie Benn
Benn has been living in the shadow of James Neal over the past year or so, mostly because of the high expectations Dallas has for Neal. Benn was a steal for Dallas at the 2007 draft, going 127th overall out of the BCHL.
After only two season in the WHL, he made the jump to the big club last season and scored 22 goals. In my opinion, he was the most underrated rookie of the 2009-10 season.
Also, after Dallas was eliminated from the playoffs, Benn was sent down to the Texas Stars where he scored an amazing 24 points (10 goals, 14 assists) in 18 games in the AHL playoffs.
I think this guy has loads of potential, and if Neal and Richards are re-signed there won’t be much room for Benn in the Dallas organization. Also, with aging Stephane Robidas as their leading offensive defenseman there is plenty of room for Mr. Kaberle to step in and take the reigns on the power play.
A perennial 60-70 point guy who has great hands and is most likely in his prime. With highly skilled Buffalo prospects recently making the jump to the NHL such as Tyler Ennis and Nathan Gerbe, the Sabres may be able to let Pominville go.
Buffalo desperately needs a puck-moving defenseman, and have had their eye on Kaberle for the past year or so. There have also been reports recently that the Sabres won’t be looking to re-sign Tallinder and Lydman, so if they coming knocking on Burkes’ door, expect Pominville to be part of his asking price.
Backes is exactly the type of player Burke wants on the Maple Leafs. I know he has stated that the top-six forwards on his team should not have to play the physical role, but a guy who has scored 31 goals while racking up 165 penalty minutes would surely be the exception to the rule.
Since players like Backes are so hard to come by in the NHL, the Blues may be hesitant to give him up. Although, with only Erik Johnson providing consistent offense on the back end, they may have to give a major piece up to improve the team as a whole.
You would have to agree that Backes and Kulemin on the wings of a future second line would be very deadly.
These are just a handful of players that may be involved in a Kaberle deal this summer. I attempted to think beyond the top names mentioned recently, and I am anxious to hear your opinion on these and other players that may come out of nowhere and end up wearing the blue and white for years to come.