Monday Morning Musings With Me The Big E: Is Kris Versteeg on the Way Out?

Eric WarrenCorrespondent IIJanuary 3, 2011

PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 23:  Kris Versteeg #32 of the Toronto Maple Leafs shoots the puck in a hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on October 23, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

Welcome to Monday Morning Musings, or should I say welcome back? After a little hiatus and a failed experiment, I have decided to bring the weekly feature back to Bleacher Report just in time for the start of the new year.

I am thinking of doing a couple of different things with this feature this time around so if you have any ideas that are a little unique but you think you would like to see, please leave them in the comment section.

Firstly, a very happy New Year to all of you, be healthy and rich!

Secondly, a heart felt congratulations to Mikhail Grabovski and his girlfriend Kate who celebrated the arrival of their little girl Lily.

Lily came into the world during the third period of the Leafs loss to the Blue Jackets last Thursday and by all accounts is perfectly healthy and happy.

As we all know, the Leafs and their GM Brian Burke are looking to shake up the current roster. This is not a rumor, it is fact as we know that was first reported by Vinny Melon of the after he had lunch with Mr. Burke a little over a week ago.

While there has been remarkably little speculation on potential trades the Leafs might explore, one player that has been the subject of a few rumors already has been relatively new Leaf, Kris Versteeg.

The Leafs had acquired Versteeg in a five player deal that also netted them prospect Bill Sweatt from the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.

The trade has, to date, gone the Leafs' way in that Versteeg is on pace to score 22 goals and 55 points and Stalberg only 13 goals and 30 points.

Though Versteeg is currently a minus 12, he is tied for third in team scoring with 25 points and is still just 24-years of age, which is certainly not young but still holds lots of time for improvement.

The only real speculation I have found on Versteeg was an unsubstantiated rumor about a deal with the Devils that would include 25-year-old center Travis  Zajac

Depending on what else is included in a potential package, there is really no way I see Burke doing this deal.

Though Zajac is locked up until 2014, he carries a cap hit of a little over $3.8 million and is having a bad year on a bad team.

Zajac has had two consecutive 60+ point seasons but is only on pace for 12 goals and 42 points this year and Burke, in my opinion, has already made enough risky moves and likely won't make this one.

That being said, there is no guarantee the Leafs won't wind up with Zajac as part of a Versteeg deal. Zajac is one of the few pieces that the Devils can move in order to free up some much needed breathing room under the cap as no fewer than nine players on the current roster have no movement clauses.

While Burke has said publicly that he is not afraid to take on a bad deal and bury it in the minors to make a deal work, look for Burke deal for a veteran forward with size and  first line scoring ability.

The last thing the Leafs need is to make another risky move. So far, Leafs fans are still, for the most part, on the fence with Burke.

One more deal that doesn't immediately make the team better could change that.


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