NHL Trade Ideas: 10 Offseason Deals That Make Sense for the Toronto Maple Leafs

Matt WisemanCorrespondent IIIApril 7, 2011

NHL Trade Ideas: 10 Offseason Deals That Make Sense for the Toronto Maple Leafs

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    Brian Burke is no stranger to the world of trading in the NHL. He has pulled the trigger on numerous big-time deals during his career and seems poised to continue that trend in the offseason.

    Given the recent success that the Maple Leafs have enjoyed over the past few months, a surplus of trade action in the summer seems highly unlikely. However, there remains glaring holes on the Leafs roster that management must address prior to training camp.

    The following is a list of 10 possible trades that Leafs brass may pursue in the near future.

    Let it be known that just because I mention a possible scenario does not mean I endorse such a trade. There are names on this list that I personally think Burke should not trade, but needed to be mentioned regardless.

    Please feel free to post comments, including your own possible trade scenarios. I will pool all trade talk together and discuss the most intriguing possibilities in the weeks to come.

     

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Jonas Gustavsson

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    It may be a bit difficult to move the Monster because he has yet to prove himself in the NHL on a consistent basis and has lingering health concerns.

    But Burke has publicly stated that the Leafs will not pursue a big-name No. 1 goalie in the offseason, insinuating that James Reimer will take on that role come next season.

    The Leafs cannot afford to go into training camp with the starting position up for grabs. Burke must show faith in Reimer by trading the Monster and bringing in a veteran backup.

    The Tampa Bay Lightning are in need of a No. 1 goalie for next season, and while they will most likely fill that void through free agency, the Monster could be a solid backup and good future investment.

     

    Possible Trade Scenario:

    Toronto: Charles Landry (defensive prospect) and second-round pick

    Tampa Bay: Jonas Gustavsson


Mike Komisarek

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    Komisarek has to go for reasons that have to do with money, more so than poor play.

    Burke has to re-sign Luke Schenn, Keith Aulie and Carl Gunnarsson in the offseason. When he does so, it will leave little room for the ridiculous $4.5 million salary of Komisarek.

    The Islanders are in severe need of veteran leadership. Komisarek could help solidify a defensive core with increased playing time.

    In return the Leafs would get prospect Ty Wishart. Originally a first-round pick, Wishart is a 6'4", 215 pound defenseman who has not lived up to expectations. Burke would, however, be willing to take a chance on him because of his size alone.

     

    Possible Trade Scenario:

    Toronto: Ty Wishart and third-round pick

    New York Islanders: Mike Komisarek

John-Michael Liles

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    John-Michael Liles was rumored to be a target of the Leafs at the deadline, so for that reason, I have included his name.

    However, with the departure of Tomas Kaberle, the Leafs are in need of a decent puck-moving defenseman. Liles may fit the bill.

    The Avs have a plethora of centermen, but are weak at the wings. While Brunnstrom hasn't lived up to expectations, he still has great offensive skills that could flourish in a role with increased ice time.

    Moving Liles would also free up $4.2 million in salary, which would help the rebuilding process going forward in Colorado.

     

    Possible Trade Scenario:

    Toronto: John-Michael Liles

    Colorado: Fabian Brunnstrom and second-round pick

R.J. Umberger

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    The Columbus Blue Jackets are currently very deep at the center position. R.J. Umberger is rumored to be the odd man out and could fit nicely on the Leafs second or third lines.

    In exchange, Burke could send Komisarek to Columbus to replace the likes of Craig Rivet and Jan Hejda, who may very well be lost to unrestricted free agency come July 1st. Hanson would be an added piece, and is easy to part with after the addition of Joe Colborne. 

    This trade would give the Leafs a solid depth-forward and also free up cap space on the backend for Burke to re-sign Schenn, Aulie and Gunnarrson. 

     

    Possible Trade Scenario:

    Toronto: R.J. Umberger

    Columbus: Mike Komisarek and Christian Hanson

Stephen Weiss

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    Reportedly at the deadline, Weiss had agreed to be traded to the Leafs. Rumors aside, Weiss is a potential player that could fit in as a top line center in Toronto.

    The Panthers are in a rebuilding mode and will more than likely wish to retain the services of Weiss going forward. So he will be difficult to pry out of the Sunshine State.

    But if Burke were to offer a decent package, a deal could possibly get done.

     

    Possible Trade Scenario:

    Toronto: Stephen Weiss

    Florida: Philadelphia's first-round pick and Boston's second-round pick

    *Boston's second is a conditional pick that the Leafs will receive if Kaberle re-signs or if the Bruins make the Stanley Cup Finals.

Clarke MacArthur

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    When MacArthur burst onto the scene in Toronto, no one was sure what to expect. He turned out to be a pleasant surprise for Leafs fans. Finding chemistry on a line with Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin, MacArthur has been able to notch 21 goals and 41 assists.

    Burke has made it clear that he would like to retain the services of MacArthur if the price is right, but if not, don’t be surprised to see him elsewhere next season.

    The Lightning may be losing Sam Gagne to unrestricted free agency come July 1st. If so, they could use the likes of MacArthur to fill the void.

    In return, the Leafs receive future help in prospect, Alex Hutchings. He was drafted in the fourth round in 2009 but has since increased his offensive output drastically. This past season in the CHL, he scored 47 goals and added 34 assists to go along with a plus/minus rating of +44.

    While Hutchings will not help the Leafs in the immediate future, the deal would give Burke added cap space and roster flexibility going forward.

     

    Possible Trade Scenario:

    Toronto: Alex Hutchings and third-round pick

    Tampa Bay: Clarke MacArthur

Travis Zajac

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    The Devils already have over $50 million committed to player salaries for next season. They need to clear some cap space.

    Although they would preferably retain the services of Zajac, their first priority is to re-sign RFA Zach Parise.

    Zajac may be the odd man out, and he could step in as the Leafs go-to center.

    Possible Trade Scenario:

    Toronto: Travis Zajac

    New Jersey: Philadelphia's first-round pick and Boston's second-round pick

David Backes

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    The St. Louis Blues are a cash-strapped organization. Although Backes is within their core group of players, he is signed to the tune of $4.5 million through to the 2015-2016 season.

    If ownership decides to relieve some cash issues for the long term, Backes may be the first to go. Burke would jump at the opportunity to acquire Backes, even with his lengthy salary.

    In exchange, the Leafs would have to give up Bozak and a pick, which doesn't sound like much for Backes, but it's reasonable considering the fact that the Leafs would be helping the Blues out financially.

    Possible Trade Scenario:

    Toronto: David Backes

    St. Louis: Tyler Bozak and second-round pick

Paul Stastny

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    The Leafs must grab a legitimate No. 1 center in the offseason, and a trade may be the only way to do so if free agency doesn't bring the likes of Brad Richards.

    Since being drafted, Kadri has had difficulties cracking the Leafs roster for various reasons. Above all else, he is small and weak in the defensive zone. To say the least, he is not exactly a Burke-type player.

    Although being drafted in the fourth round, Paul Stastny has evolved into the prototypical top line center that the Leafs need. 

    I don't want to see Kadri go because of his remarkable offensive abilities; I think it would be a mistake to trade him.

    But if Burke wants to land Stastny, Kadri will be the starting price.

    Possible Trade Scenario

    Toronto: John-Michael Liles

    Colorado: Nazem Kadri and Boston's second-round pick

Ryan Ellis

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    While I don't think this deal will happen, I had to mention it. First suggested by Sportsnet at the trade deadline, the rumored trade would see the Leafs sending MacArthur to the Blue Jackets in exchange for Ryan Ellis.

    The Leafs would have to take on the salary of J.P. Dumont in order for the deal to happen. 

    In my mind, I like this potential trade for the Leafs. Keep in mind, Burke will not hesitate to trade MacArthur is he demands too much money in a new contract.

    It's highly doubtful that the Blue Jackets would be willing to part ways with young prospect, Ellis, but they could use some added offense that MacArthur would bring next season.

     

    Possible Trade Scenario:

    Toronto: Ryan Ellis and J.P. Dumont  

    Nashville: Clarke MacArthur