We have seen many changes in the Leafs' lineup this offseason—losses of fan favorites and addition of young stars.
One major move remains—Bryan McCabe.
It is now September, and McCabe's bonus has been paid. It will only be a few hours until the McCabe trade is announced—but the question remains, who will he be traded for? And is this the Leafs' last move of the summer?
It is likely that McCabe will be leaving, along with another member of the Maple Leafs roster. Some speculate that it will be Alex Ponikarovsky, due to the fact that with Nik Hagman now on the team, Ponikarovsky has become dispensable.
This is quite possible, as the Leafs have made many signings already. It would not shock me at all if Poni left the Leafs in the near future. So, they might as well capitalize on the chance to throw him in along with McCabe, and thus sweeten the pot.
It has become obvious that Mike Van Ryn is the name being tossed around for who the Leafs could get in return. I’m not sure why. Van Ryn only played 20 games last year, and has only had one year in the NHL where his plus-minus was positive.
I would much rather see them go after Bryan Allen. Allen has had a few good seasons these past years. He is a solid defenseman, and could really help the Maple Leafs' "mediocre” blue line. If they throw in Poni, this could be a possible trade.
Hopefully, leaving Toronto is just the thing that McCabe needs to help his career. He can have a fresh start in a warm place with no natural ice. I’m sure not being able to go on ice will help McCabe from making a fool of himself.
With that out of the way, will Cliff Fletcher be happy enough with his new team to send them out against the Buffalo Sabres on Sept. 22? Fletcher has said that he is satisfied with the team he has put together, but he has also said that “trying to build a team can't be fast-tracked."
He is absolutely right—it will be a few years before anyone can say they are happy with the Toronto Maple Leafs, as it has already been 42 years since the last Cup. I pray it won’t be 50.
With that said, as a Maple Leaf fan, this year will be, if nothing else, entertaining to watch—speedy skaters, big defenseman, and none of them definite top-liners.