As many followers of Leaf Nation and beyond realize, Brian Burke and co. are in dire need of a legitimate No.1 center. Many have drooled as well as snickered at the prospect of potentially landing one of the biggest names currently rumored to be available in the NHL.
That person is none other than Steven Stamkos.
To many, landing the coveted center seems far-fetched at this point, but here are three trade scenarios that I believe the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Tampa Bay Lightning could potentially make, that directly affect where Steven Stamkos signs.
This is the most obvious scenario, because an offer sheet would be the simplest route to take.
Although this is technically not a trade, it does involve two teams swapping assets with each other, and in principle, that is what a trade is.
However, this seems to be an unlikely outcome due to the fact that Tampa would arguably match any offer that any given team would make. This could also be a costly trade for the Leafs if they plummet in the standings once again, and lose out on potential franchise players like Tyler Seguin.
In my opinion, this would be a great trade for both teams. Toronto obtains their No.1 center (arguably a top three center in the league who is just 21) without mortgaging the future per se (i.e. four 1st round picks); Tampa receives well rounded depth that would undoubtedly help their club, as well as a bonafied shut-down defenseman to play with Hedman, for years to come.
I included Nate Thompson in this deal to even the trade out, as Toronto is giving up three proven commodities with oodles of potential as well as two high-end future picks; also to take another contract off of Tampa Bay's hands.
I should note that Nate Thompson had a career year in Tampa last season, scoring 10 goals and adding 15 assists.
I believe this trade to be a win-win for both clubs. A deal like this gives Tampa a lot more wiggle room under the cap to sign Steven Stamkos long-term, while at the same time, it rids them of Vincent Lecavalier's lengthy and expensive contract.
The Leafs land a No.1 center, while also shedding themselves of Komisarek's hefty contract. With the recent acquisition of Cody Franson, Komisarek becomes expendable and this deal would also allow the Leaf's to relieve some of the salary they have invested in their back end.
The major risk for Toronto is the length of Lecavalier's contract. However, they reportedly offered Brad Richards a six to seven year deal worth somewhere in the $45-50 million range.
This could signify that Burke is prepared to take on a longer and larger contract, if it means obtaining a number one center.
Thanks for reading...