Toronto Maple Leafs

Toronto Maple Leafs: Providing a Little Perspective

NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 06:  Nazem Kadri #43 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on April 6, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Jack HilbrichContributor IIJune 3, 2011

After reading through a collection of articles, both on and other various websites, blogs and fan sites, there seems to be some notion that signing Brad Richards isn’t the way to solve the problem of not having a bona fide No. 1 centre.

Fans and writers alike have relished the possibility of acquiring the likes of Paul Stastny, Jeff Carter or Stephen Weiss through trade. All sorts of trade scenarios have been thrown out there, ranging from sending our two first-rounders, Nazem Kadri and Carl Gunnarson to Colorado for Stastny, to a first- and second-rounder for Stephen Weiss.

Personally, whenever I read possible “predictions” of what could happen via trade I laugh. They are ridiculously one-sided, one way or the other, and I find it difficult to agree with any of them. Plus, readers love to mock a writer’s ability to predict the future, critiquing it to the fullest extent. Is it warranted?

Of course, that writer is essentially selling an idealistic possibility that ultimately has no influence on the reality of the situation.

It is also intriguing how Maple Leafs fans love to seek out a scapegoat. For the last two seasons it has been Tomas Kaberle. Now it has seemingly shifted to our top prospect Nazem Kadri, and Carl Gunnarson, an emerging mainstay on the Maple Leafs defensive core.

The trade for Phil Kessel has been chastised because GM Brian Burke relinquished two first-round selections. Now Leaf fans want to do it again?

Call me crazy, but I just don’t get it. Would you rather have a budding elite prospect in Nazem Kadri? Or more cap space?

Burke has re-stocked the cupboard full of young, emerging talent; he has rid the locker room of its sense of entitlement, and implemented competition for playing time, both in the NHL and in the minors. He has also created a space where youth is at the helm, all of whom have something to prove.

So is it time to show a couple prospects the door? Surrender some more assets in terms of draft picks?

Hardly, this team is still rebuilding.

So, bringing it back to Brad Richards. Cap space seems to be the problem here. There are some individuals that are having a hard time dealing with the possibility that we may have to equate somewhere around $8 million in cap space for our No. 1 centre-man. Interestingly, if it was $6 million, I think the general opinion would be very different.

But the reality of the situation is that teams need to commit $7 million-$10 million in cap space for their No. 1 centre.

Oh, it is an immovable contract if he busts, what if he gets another concussion? Just think what we could do if we didn’t have that $8 million committed to this one player.

I’ll tell you what we could do, sign a No. 1 centre-man.

Could Stastny or Carter bust in Toronto? Certainly, and we would have given up far more than just cap space.

Stop over analyzing and critiquing possible trade scenarios, stop overthinking and trying to predict the future. Most things in life are a gamble, rarely are they ever a sure thing.

Don’t forget, the quickest route between point A and point B is a straight line. Think about it.

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