NHL Trade Rumors: Could John-Michael Liles Be a Toronto Maple Leaf By Next Week?

Jeff LangridgeCorrespondent IIIFebruary 22, 2011

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 20:  John-Michael Liles #4 of the Colorado Avalanche takes a shot against the Nashville Predators at the Pepsi Center on January 20, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Predators defeated the Avalanche 5-1.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Yesterday, Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke addressed the fact that he has been looking to add a defenseman.

“We have a couple of things going, and I don’t know if anything is going to come of it or not, but I spent a good chunk of time this morning," Burke told reporters yesterday. "We’re trying to add by tomorrow if we can, trying to put a player in the lineup to help us soon as possible. Our priority is to add a defenceman.

When asked about who he might target he replied, “I can tell you, but I would have to kill you...It’s tampering. I am not trying to be a smart ass.”

I don't blame Burke for not revealing who he is after. The last time a member of the Maple Leafs organization mentioned a name, it got him fined. However, that doesn't stop us from speculating from who it might be.

Darren Dreger mentioned in his daily Dreger Report that the Leafs have a list of five defensemen and offers have been made, but the only player that has been named is John-Michael Liles.

In 506 career games, Liles has compiled 68 goals and 197 assists for 265 points, which is only 15 points less than what Tomas Kaberle had in the same time frame in his career.

Liles carries a cap hit of $4.2 million for this season and next and, according to capgeek.com, has a no-trade clause that contains a list of 18 teams he will not accept a trade to. If that list contains the Maple Leafs, then this is all for not.

Colorado has stated that the asking price for Liles is high. One would assume that the third-round pick we received in the Kris Versteeg deal would be in play, but what else? If Clarke MacArthur's salary demands are too high, then he could also be on his way to Colorado. If anything else, we could send a late-round pick as well.

If Liles was to be Toronto bound, it might not be until trade deadline day as Dreger said that the Avalanche might wait the rest of the week to decide where the team is.

If not Liles, I am pretty confident that there will be a new defenseman in the Leafs lineup by the time next Tuesday comes.