I know its been months since the Toronto Maple Leafs were snuffed by no trade clauses at deadline day, but one has to wonder what would the Leafs look like if Kubina, Kaberle, McCabe and Sundin had all waived their no trade clauses?
It would have been a shame to see Thomas Kaberle go—but if not for the NTC, Cliff Fletcher would have undoubtedly pulled the trigger. A trade was in place that would have sent Kaberle to the Flyers for Jeff Carter and a first-round draft choice that turned into D-man John Carlson.
John is great at making the first pass and moving the puck. He is also very responsible in his own end. Carter would have been a leader and potential first-line center for the Buds.This was no rumour, either—this trade was written up in the league office, but Kaberle enforced his NTC and put an end to it.
The second player who refused to waive his clause actually had originally agreed to leave, but following a game changed his mind. Pavel Kubina rejected a trade to San Jose that would have seen Toronto receive Kyle McLaren and a first-round draft choice, which was instead traded to Buffalo in the Brian Campbell trade.
The pick turned into center Tyler Ennis, who fell a bit in the draft and would have been a nice prospect for the Leafs. Also Kyle McLaren would have been a nice player to help build the back end.
Third was another D-man—Bryan McCabe—who was recently traded to Florida for Mike Van Ryn. A rumoured trade was McCabe to the NY Rangers, and in return Toronto getting a fourth-round pick, Peter Prucha, and Marek Malik.
This trade must have been just like the eventual trade to Florida—all about dumping McCabe salary. It would have made little sense for the Leafs, as the only aspect of it that could fit into their rebuilding plans is a fourth-round draft pick, and maybe a forward who has been slipping over the last two years in Prucha.
The final player is captain—or former captain—Mats Sundin. This would have been a boost in the rebuilding process, had Sundin agreed to waive his no-trade clause.
A rumored trade would have seen the Leafs receive almost the same value as Atlanta got for Hossa—Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Angelo Esposito, and the first-round pick.
The Toronto trade would have been the same but with Jordan Staal instead of Armstrong. Erik would have been a good player add to the rebuildng roster, and Angelo Esposito still could develop into a superstar.
Also, the first-round pick turned into Daultan Leveille. I personally have seen Daultan play a lot, as he grew up playing St. Catharines AAA with my brother. I could see Daultan potentially growing into an NHL player. He has blinding speed and good hands, but he needs to become stronger on the puck and play more physical.
I don't think Toronto would have taken the gamble on him, and they would probably taken Thomas McCollum or Vjateslav Voinov. Of course, the gem of this deal would have been Jordan Staal, who will develop into an elite first-line center.
The Leafs were restricted by the no-trade clauses, and that is disappointing as a Leafs fan. But Cliff is still doing a great job, and the Leafs are on track to becoming a playoff team once again.