While the Toronto Maple Leafs actually have a chance at making the playoffs for the first time since the lockout, it is quite evident that they definitely need to improve at certain positions to be in the playoffs, not just close.
This offseason, most Leaf fans' attention will be taken up by whether or not Brad Richards will sign with the Leafs. Don't get me wrong, I hope he becomes a Leaf, but all 30 teams have the same chance to sign him, and after Richards, there's not much in terms of forward help. Therefore, the Leafs will have to go the trade route.
The Leafs biggest needs right now are a number one center and a play-making defenseman to replace Tomas Kaberle.
While the Leafs now have at least a good list of center prospects in Nazem Kadri, Joe Colborne, and Greg McKegg, they might not be impact players in the NHL for a couple of seasons. We need someone immediately that can play with Phil Kessel and give us a first line that actually have to prepare for. No offence to the line of Clarke MacArthur, Nikolai Kulemin, and Mikhail Grabovski, but they should never be listed as our first line.
Many have said that Carl Gunnarrsson is our long-term replacement for Kaberle. He very well could be, but he might not turn out that way. So, it would be best for them to acquire a play-making defenseman now that could either stay with us until Gunnarsson has a few more years experience or stay with them if Gunnarsson doesn't become the player we think he can be.
The following ten players could be targeted by the Leafs.
There were rumors hovering around the trade deadline that Paul Stastny would have been moved, but they were never proven. If Colorado ends up drafting a centre, Stastny might be on the move. Not to mention the comments Paul's father Peter had to cause at least a little friction.
While Stastny's huge contract would scare off most teams, the Leafs desperately need for a number one center and would Stastny would definitely fit the bill.
I would see both the first-rounders we have and Philly's third-rounder going the other way, but I would try to see if they would take Mike Komisarek back as well. That way, they take a little salary back and they get a shutdown defenseman that they need who could just need a change of scenery.
Cap Hit- $6.6 million
2010-11 Stats- Games Played: 68 Goals: 20 Assists: 33 Points: 53
Career Stats- Games Played: 342 Goals: 103 Assists: 214 Points: 317
Trade Offer- To Toronto: Paul Stastny To Colorado: Mike Komisarek, Boston's first-rounder, Philadelphia's first and third-rounders
Another player who could have moved at the deadline, Stephen Weiss even said he would only go to Toronto. While Florida holding onto him could have been a sign that they want him as part of their core long term, I think there is a chance that if they can get a good deal on draft day, they will pull the trigger.
The asking price for Weiss at the deadline was a first rounder or high-end prospect as a starting point, and that most likely hasn't changed. Again, we would most likely give up the two first-rounders and that should be enough.
Even if Toronto were to sign Brad Richards in the offseason, Weiss would make a really good second-line center.
Cap Hit- $3.1 million
2010-11 Stats- Games Played: 71 Goals: 21 Assists: 28 Points: 49
Career Stats- Games Played: 552 Goals: 124 Assists: 209 Points: 333
Trade Offer- To Toronto: Stephen Weiss & second-round pick To Florida: Boston's & Philadelphia's first-rounders and Toronto's second-round pick
With Boston's depth at center, someone is bound to become expendable. They currently have Tyler Seguin, Patrice Bergeron, Gregory Campbell, Chris Kelly, Brad Marchand, Rich Peverly, the injured Marc Savard, and David Krejci. Krejci, in my opinion, would be the most expendable and the one who could get them back the most other than Seguin.
Krejci would probably only cost one of the first rounders and possibly a mid-level prospect, possibly a little more. He is another player who would also look good on the second line if Richards were to become a Leaf.
Cap hit- $3.75 million
2010-11 Stats- Games Played: 65 Goals: 12 Assists: 44 Points: 56
Career Stats- Games Played: 287 Goals: 57 Assists: 151 Points: 208
Trade Offer- To Toronto: David Krejci To Boston: Either first round pick depending on draft position, fifth-round pick & Korbinian Holzer
While not one of the most talked about Oilers, Andrew Cogliano could be a player the Leafs target. While his career has not gone as well as he might have planned, he just might need a change of scenery to reinvigorate his career.
Cogliano would be a second or third-line center for us depending on how he performed. Born in Toronto, I think he would be quite motivated to get back on track.
A restricted free agent, the Leafs could acquire him and sign him to about he's making now, as he's only making one million.
Cap Hit- $1 million
2010-11 Stats- Games Played: 73 Goals: 11 Assists: 20 Points: 31
Career Stats- Games Played: 319 Goals: 57 Assists: 85 Points: 142
Trade Offer- To Toronto: Andrew Cogliano To Edmonton: Philadelpia's third-rounder
Rumored to have been coming to the Leafs at the deadline, it was said that the Avalanche were asking for too much for Liles.
As some people have said, Liles is a Kaberle "clone". I say, if we've gotten rid of the real thing, let's replace him with someone who's compared to him.
With one year left on his contract after this season, he might not be with the Leafs for the long-term. Although, if he were to perform well, and there is no reason to believe he won't, than he could be signed long term if he doesn't ask for too much.
Cap Hit- $4.2 million
2010-11 Stats- Games Played: 70 Goals: 6 Assists: 37 Points: 43
Career Stats- Games Played: 516 Goals: 68 Assists: 204 Points: 272
Trade Offer- To Toronto: John-Michael Liles To Colorado: Either first-round pick and Philadelphia's third rounder
Involved in a far-fetched rumor with the Leafs at the deadline, it wouldn't hurt to see what it would take to acquire him. The rumor was that Toronto would send Clarke MacArthur to Nashville in return for Ellis and J.P. Dumont.
I believe that in order to acquire Ellis, we will have to take on Dumont's salary. I would not mind that because I also believe that Ellis will be a star defenseman in the NHL.
In three World Junior appearances, Ellis racked up 5 goals and 20 assists for 25 points in 19 total games.
2010-11 Stats(OHL)- Games Played: 58 Goals: 24 Assists: 76 Points: 100
Career Stats(OHL)- Games Played: 226 Goals: 73 Assists: 240 Points: 313
Trade Offer- To Toronto: Ryan Ellis & J.P. Dumont To Nashville: Either first-rounder
With the salary problems in New Jersey, someone is eventually going to have to go, and since Zach Parise is a restricted free agent, it most likely will be him.
Many people on this site have said that the best option to would be to sign him to an offer sheet, but that would cause them to lose draft picks for several more years. I don't think any Leaf fan wants to go another year without picks in the first round. Although in any trade for Parise, we would most likely have to give up both first round picks in this years draft.
He hasn't played this much season due to knee surgery, but could return to New Jersey sometime next week. Acquiring Parise and then signing Brad Richards would give us a downright scary first line.
Cap Hit- $3.125 million
2010-11 Stats- Games Played: 12 Goals: 3 Assists: 3 Points: 6
Career Stats- Games Played: 412 Goals: 163 Assists: 178 Points: 341
Trade Offer- To Toronto: Zach Parise To New Jersey: Both first-rounders, Philadelphia's third rounder, and Marcel Mueller
In the midst of the Ottawa Senators rebuild, Jason Spezza might be an unfortunate casualty. When Senators general manager Bryan Murray listed the untouchables on his team, he said two names: Erik Karlsson and Daniel Alfredsson.
It could be said then, that Spezza could be had for the right price. With the Sens targeting draft picks, if we offer the two first-rounders and Philly's third rounder, I think that Spezza would be ours. Maybe they would even take some salary back considering Spezza's salary
While his production has dropped the past few season, you have to remember that the drop started after Dany Heatley was traded. Therefore, if he were to come here and create some chemistry with Phil Kessel, he might be able to get back some of that production.
Cap Hit- $7 million
2010-11 Stats- Games Played: 53 Goals: 16 Assists: 28 Points: 44
Career Stats- Games Played: 517 Goals: 187 Assists: 332 Points: 519
Trade Offer- To Toronto: Jason Spezza To Ottawa: Mike Komisarek, both first-round picks and Philadelphia's third-rounder
So what do you guys think? Which of these eight players would you want see in a Leafs uniform the most?