Ever since the 2008 NHL draft, Toronto Maple Leaf fans and Steven Stamkos have been in mutual agreement that "Stammer"—as he's called by Bolts fans—would look great in the hallowed Blue-and-White.
However, since the day that he heard his name called first overall at that draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning, there has been a fairly large problem in the way. Why would the Lightning trade one of the three superstars of the game (the others being Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin) to Toronto?
I've read a number of articles on different websites and here on Bleacher Report. One recent article by Mark Gregory grabbed my attention and I thought I'd attempt to come up with a proposal that suits all parties concerned. Not easy when you're talking about a bona fide superstar!
Please bear in mind that this is all pure speculation at this point and simply my two cents.
I think it's fairly safe to assume that unless Brian Burke includes one of Luke Schenn or Phil Kessel in hypothetical trade discussions, Steve Yzerman hangs up the phone. In fact, when he hears Burke on the line saying, "I'm interested in Steven Stamkos," he probably hangs up anyway.
But hey, it's fun to speculate!
And I thought: Is it possible to create a mutually beneficial trade proposal without Schenn or Kessel? Probably not, but I'm going to try. What people don't realise is that the Leafs have valuable assets outside of these two players.
Even so, a (slightly) realistic trade proposal would have to include more than than just Toronto and Tampa in trade discussions.
Also bearing in mind that the only reason Yzerman would even think about trading Stamkos is if his wage demands are too rich for the Lightning ownership, and suffice to say I don't think that'll be an issue.
I think it's well documented that the Nashville Predators need scoring. With more scoring threats it's possible that they beat the Stanley Cup Finalist Vancouver Canucks. The Predators also have a glut of talented young defensemen, which makes them perfect trading partners in this blockbuster deal.
Let's be clear on this: If the Leafs want Stamkos, they'll have to pay a heavy price. In order to bring Nashville into discussions with the Leafs and Lightning this is what I could see going down:
To Nashville: Clarke MacArthur, Tyler Bozak, Korbinian Holzer, Boston's 2011 first-round draft pick and Boston's 2012 second-round draft pick.
To Toronto: Jonathan Blum and Ryan Ellis.
The assets needed to acquire Stamkos are still not quite there. So what better way of making a blockbuster even more crazy than adding a fourth team!
The San Jose Sharks are stocked with young premier talent in the forwards—so much so that Joe Pavelski, one of the stars of their 2010 playoff run, is playing centre on the third line!
It is also well known that the Sharks want to get younger and better on a reasonably talented but very thin blue line. To do that, they might just have to lose one of their scoring threats, which shouldn't be too much of a loss given the talent they possess.
Here is one outcome I could see happening:
To San Jose: Jonathan Blum, Carl Gunnarsson and Philadelphia's 2011 third-round draft pick.
To Toronto: Joe Pavelski and San Jose's 2011 second-round draft pick.
Now...the deal that everybody's been waiting for.
Is this a possible scenario for the Toronto Maple Leafs finally landing Steven Stamkos? Who knows. But it's interesting as a fan to examine all angles, likely or otherwise.
Here is a possible final trade between the Lightning and the Maple Leafs:
To Tampa: Joe Pavelski, Nazem Kadri, Ryan Ellis and San Jose's 2011 second-round draft pick.
To Toronto: Steven Stamkos.
Clarke MacArthur (Toronto), Tyler Bozak (Toronto), Korbinian Holzer (Toronto), Boston's 2011 first-round draft pick (Toronto) and Boston's 2012 second-round draft pick (Toronto).
To San Jose
Jonathan Blum (Nashville), Carl Gunnarsson (Toronto) and Philadelphia's 2011 third-round draft pick (Toronto).
Joe Pavelski (San Jose), Nazem Kadri (Toronto), Ryan Ellis (Nashville) and San Jose's 2011 second-round draft pick (San Jose).
Steven Stamkos (Tampa).
Well, there you have it: My take on what it could take to pry Steven Stamkos away from the Tampa Bay Lightning and into the blue-and-white of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Tampa fans: What's your take?
Leafs fans: Would you give this up to see Stamkos back in Toronto?
San Jose and Nashville fans: Are you happy with your returns?