Several Scouts' Take In Leafs/Blues Tilt
As reported earlier today, there were seventeen scouts at last night's Maple Leafs game. That means nearly 57% of NHL teams had scouts in the building last night. To speak simpler, only thirteen teams were not represented last night at the Air Canada Centre.
The obvious is to point to Leafs captain Mats Sundin. With only 27 days to go before deadline day, there will be plenty of speculation surrounding the Leafs longest serving member. When asked this morning after practice about his stance on his no trade clause, Sundin remained firm he would prefer to stay in Toronto.
However, it was Bob McKenzie of TSN earlier tonight who shed some light on what else the scouts could be after in Toronto. McKenzie said that scouts were also on hand to take a closer look at Leafs players Jason Blake, Nik Antropov, and Tomas Kaberle.
Of the three, Kaberle is the lone player with a no trade clause, so moving him may prove to be more difficult than the others. What will happen remains to be seen. One thing that is for sure, though, is that the next four weeks should be very, very interesting in Leafs Nation.
Kilger Wont Play Against 'Canes
Maple Leafs winger Chad Kilger will not be in action Thursday night when the Leafs travel to Raleigh to take on the Hurricanes. Kilger did not travel with the team due to what the team is calling “personal reasons.”
Toronto Marlies forward Ben Ondrus has been called up by the big club, and could see some action Thursday. Ondrus has spent time in the Leafs roster over the past two years, and this season was named captain of the AHL affiliate Marlies.
Crowded Blue Line For Buds?
Although one can never be too quick to assume with the amount of injuries this team seems to suffer, if they can indeed stay healthy when Bryan McCabe comes back, they could be a crowded bunch. Once McCabe returns, the Leafs will have Kaberle, Kubina, McCabe, Stralman, Gill, White, Wozniewski, and Colaiacovo on the back end.
With eight defenseman to fill six spots, look for a demotion, or possibly a trade. Despite the fact he is playing well and hasn't looked out of place, the only solution to this may be to put Anton Stralman back in the AHL with the Marlies.
I certainly don't like the idea, as he has really shown everyone he can play in this league, but he is the only one of the eight who has a two way deal.
The most likely option is that Stralman will be sent down to help with the Marlies playoff run, while Wozniewski will be the seventh defenseman and serve only as a depth player. The more intriguing option would be that someone would be willing to make a trade for Pavel Kubina, or Tomas Kaberle.
Kaberle has been by far the Maple Leafs’ best defenseman, and really aside from Mats Sundin, the teams most talented player. He is a very vital part of the team, however it is certainly interesting as to what kind of return a smooth skating playmaker like Tomas could get.
It's not that I want to see him go, because believe me I don't, But if they do plan on a full rebuild, Kaberle could fetch valuable assets toward that. While at the same time for his sake, he gets to play on a cup-bound team in the prime of his career. Although he has a hefty price tag, there are also a few teams who could afford to add Pavel Kubina.
This is a pretty far off move, I don't personally see too many people jumping at Kubina, but he has played much better this season, so perhaps that option is there. Both however, have no trade clauses.
Next Game: Toronto@Carolina
Game Time: 7 PM (LeafsTV)
Those are your Leafs Notes for today, Wednesday January 30th. Be sure to check back tomorrow night following the game against the Canes, as I will have full highlights and analysis of the action.