2011 NHL Trade Deadline: Who Will the Leafs Look At?
We are only 27 days away from the trade deadline and if all is right in the world, Brian Burke should be quite active in the days leading up to February 28th.
With the Maple Leafs currently standing 26th in the NHL, almost anyone on the Leafs roster should be considered trade bait. Phil Kessel, Luke Schenn, and Jonas Gustavsson are the only players that might be considered "untouchables."
But the question is: who might the Leafs acquire in any deal they make? There have already been many rumors involving the Leafs.
The Leafs cannot afford to simply acquire small pieces that are not going to help us in the long run. They need players who are going to make an impact now. Maybe it's too late to make a run for the play-offs this season, but at least we can make the Bruins draft pick as low as possible. Also, if we get better this year, chances are we'll be better next year.
While, there have been many players that have been talked about coming the Leafs way in deals, I am going to list a couple of players that may or may not have been brought up before who I think would greatly help the Leafs hope's for a play-off berth.
I'll get the most obvious one out of the way. Setoguchi has been rumored to be traded to the Leafs for most of the past year, usually mentioned in trades for Francois Beauchemin.
Setoguchi had what appeared to be a break-out year in the 2008-2009 season, scoring 31 goals and adding 34 assists for 65 points. Unfortunately, he has been unable to match that scoring output since. Last season, he only had 20 goals and 16 assists, while this season, he has 10 goals and 5 assists in 41 games.
While Setoguchi might help the Leafs, he might never regain his 30 goal form. I know a 20-goal scorer is nothing to sneeze at, but the Leafs need as much scoring as possible.
Travis Zajac Or Zach Parise
A lot of people have had the idea to sign Parise to an offer sheet in the off-season if the Devils don's sign him before hand.
That is impossible because we would need to give up multiple first round picks if the Devil's were unable to match it. Therefore, if we want him, it would have to be by trade.
Zajac has been mentioned in trade rumors involving the Leafs with the Devils getting Kris Versteeg in return.
Parise has been sidelined since November 12th due to knee surgery, but Parise's scoring touch is undeniable. In 419 career games, Parise has recorded 163 goals and 178 assists for 341 points.
Zajac has had a slow year, but then again, most of the Devils have. In 49 games, he has 7 goals and 19 assists, but in 375 career games he has 83 goals and 148 assists for a total of 231 points.
Once Parise returns from injury, the Devils will be over the salary cap and will either need to send some one down to the minors or make a trade. While the Devils would not want to trade one of their core players, they may have no choice but to part with Parise or Zajac. Either one would look good in a Leaf uniform
With the Ottawa Senators season going the way it has, many of the Senators players are, like the Leafs, trade bait. Mike Fisher is said to be one of the players most teams have been going for, but apparently, Sen's GM Bryan Murray says the price is high.
Like a few players on this list, Fisher is having a slow year, totaling only 13 goals and 9 assists for 22 points. Although, he has been a consistent 20-goal scorer for most of his career and could still make it there with a strong second half.
No offense to Clarke MacArthur, but Fisher is a more experienced player that would fit nicely on our second line.
The Rangers need power play help and might target Tomas Kaberle. If that were to happen, I think a player like Dubinsky would be coming back to the Leafs.
Dubinsky is the Rangers leading point scorer, giving them 17 goals and 21 assist for 38 points. Why would they give him up? Well, you have to give up value to get value, Kaberle is our top scoring defenseman.
Although, this trade is not very likely to happen, I believe that it fits the needs of both the Leafs and Rangers.
While not first in line to get traded if the Panthers are sellers at the deadline, it's been said that Stephen Weiss and Booth could be available if the right deal comes along.
Booth has totaled 14 goals and 12 assists for 26 points in 49 games a year after being sidelined for most of the year last season with a concussion. If he can fully rebound from that, the Leafs would be picking up a huge part of their future.
I'd propose a deal sending Kris Versteeg, Francois Beauchemin, and Fredrik Sjostrom to Florida for Booth and the rights to Erik Gudbranson. I know we would be giving up Versteeg, but him and Booth are similar players and we would also pick up a great defensive prospect in Gudbranson. Both players are highly regarded by the Panthers, so the Leafs might still have to throw in something else to make this deal go through.
While these players(including the player pictured) might not become Leafs this season or ever, they would definitely improve the Leafs play.
Brian Burke doesn't like to miss the play-offs and he will try anything to achieve a play-off berth, and he should. Even if he fails, he would more than likely climb out of the basement of the NHL.
With only 27 more days to wait, I guess we'll find out what he plans to do.