One Trade the Toronto Maple Leafs Should Look Into With Dallas

Michael OrlottiContributor IJuly 28, 2010

MONTREAL, QC - JUNE 26:  President & General Manager Brian Burke (L) of the Toronto Maple Leafs talks with Genral Manager Joe Nieuwendyk of the Dallas Stars prior to the first round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft at the Bell Centre on June 26, 2009 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images


It’s simple.

The Dallas Stars are in need of boosting their defense. Dallas’ top D-man is Stephane Robidas with 41 points, which is not bad. Second is Trevor Daley with 22 points, four points less then Francois Beauchemin at 26 points, and with the rest of Dallas’ defense having less than Luke Schenn (17), Dallas should be questioning what they have on the back end.

This is where Brian Burke can discuss a possible trade with his old student, Joe Nieuwendyk, another Leafs connection. The players hopefully involved are as follows:

To The Dallas Stars

Tomas Kaberle

Mikhail Grabovski

Jeff Finger                                                          

To The Toronto Maple Leafs

Brad Richards

James Neal

Future Considerations

This trade will satisfy both team's needs where the Leafs are are looking for a top Center and Forward, where as Dallas can strengthen their defense crop.

Here is the breakdown of the trade for both teams

Kaberle is Kaberle. There is no need to beat a dead horse regarding Kaberle’s situation with the Leafs. Enough said.

Dallas needs to fill the void on the blueline, as the team is without an experienced puck-moving defenseman to quarterback the powerplay. Cap hit of $4.5 million for this coming season.

Mikhail Grabovski this past season has been in the dog house and needs to move to a small market, i.e. Sergei Kostitsyn to Nashville. Last year Grabovski had 20 goals 28 assist for 48 points in 78 games. With Dallas losing two forwards in Brad Richards and James Neal, Grabovski can help fill the hole at center along with Jamie Benn at left wing, a Dallas prospect, with a cap hit of $2.9 million for two years.

Jeff Finger is not as bad a defenseman as Leaf nation portrays him. In 39 games last season, Finger collected 10 points. This ties him with Mark Fistric, who played 67 games or five points behind Matt Niskanen with 74 games played.

Last year Finger had 23 point in 66 games and his last year in Colorado, 19 points in 74 games. Remember, Finger was not signed for his offense abilities. Finger was signed for his toughness, hitting and clearing the man in front of the net, with a cap hit of $3.5 million for two years.

Bead Richards, 30, is a top center that the Leafs are looking for and can be a mentor for the younger centers as well. Richards is a playmaking center that exhibits leadership abilities, has a Conn Smythe Trophy and Stanley Cup ring under his belt. Last season Richards had 24 goals, 67 assists for 91 points in 80 games. Richards is entering the last year of his contract at a cap hit of $7.8 million, and if the Leafs so choose, Richards can sign an extension at a lesser amount.

James Neal can fill the Leaf’s needs of a top-six forward and compliment Phil Kessel on the first line. Neal is 22, scored 27 goals and 28 assists for 55 points in 78 games last season. He is 6'2" and 210 pounds, so he has the size and skill that Brian Burke likes. Neal has the potential of being a 30+ goal player where the Leafs can offer a four-year contract worth $4.5 million per season. Dallas cannot match the same offer, due to their internal budget. Neal is a RFA this year, who could earn in the area of $4.5 million for four to five years.

Salaries going each way

To Leafs: 7.8 + 4.5 = 12.3 million

To Dallas: 4.5 + 3.5 + 2.9 = 10.9 million

Dallas Stars Owner Tom Hicks has the team in bankruptcy. While ownership is attempting to sell the team, this puts GM Joe Nieuwendyk in uncertain financial circumstances. This trade can save Dallas $1.4 million. Also, by adding Finger to the trade it helps Dallas meet the Cap Floor requirement.

Projected Leafs Roster

Phil Kessel - Bead Richards - James Neal

Nikolai Kulemin - Tyler Bozak - Kris Versteeg

Colby Armstrong - Nazem Kadri - Fredrik Sjostrom

Colton Orr - Christian Hanson (signs for 1 million) - Mike Brown

  Dion Phaneuf - Carl Gunnarsson

Mike Komisarek - Brett Lebda

Luke Schenn - Francois Beauchemin       

Avg Age


Roster Size


Salary Cap


Darcy Tucker (Buyout)


Team Total Payroll




Cap Space



Hopefully this trade can be a possibility where the Leafs have Richards and Neal as their next targets. Brian Burke wants to fast track his way to the playoffs and this can be an option for him without giving up any young prospects or signing old veterans past their prime like other Leafs GMs did in the past.

Hope you enjoyed the read. This is my first article posted and I’m looking forward to your comments.


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