Anaheim Ducks General Manager Bob Murray has recently admitted that both Bobby Ryan and Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf are in play. Murray went on to say the only untouchables on the team were Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne.
Since taking over as GM he has made countless trades with the Ducks, acquiring the likes of Brad May, JS Giguere, as well as current Leafs Mike Brown, Joffrey Lupul and Jake Gardiner. Recently the Leafs have sent Marlie Luca Caputi to Anaheim for left winger Nicolas Deschamps.
Burke is also known for making big deals well in advance of the trade deadline. The Phaneuf, Lupul and Kaberle trades are obvious examples of that. So it's no surprise that Leafs fans would be anxious to hear big name players like Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan are available.
The third member of that line isn't someone that should be overlooked. The reigning Rocket Richard and Hart Trophy winner Corey Perry is also a player that is available according to GM Bob Murray.
The question is, who do the Leafs acquire of the three, if any?
Bobby Ryan was rumoured to be available earlier on this season, with the Leafs having serious interest in acquiring the 6'2" winger. He was a Brian Burke draft pick, and would give Toronto two legitimate scoring lines. In three seasons with the Ducks, Ryan has yet to score less than 30 goals.
He would also likely cost Toronto the least amount of assets of the Big Three.
Peterborough native Corey Perry had a breakthrough season last year. He followed up a 27 goal season by nearly doubling that total and scoring 50 goals and 98 points. Perry has the size and scoring ability to be a difference maker in Toronto. His hard play makes him the type of player Brian Burke covets.
He would also bring the Stanley Cup ring that he won with Burke back in Anaheim and the playoff experience that few of the current Leafs have. Perry has proven to be a winner at every level he has played. The winger has a memorial cup win, World Junior gold medal, Olympic Gold Medal, and the aforementioned Stanley Cup ring.
Which player should Brian Burke target?
Last but certainly not least is likely the most appealing of the three from Toronto's perspective.
Getzlaf is not just the playmaking centre that the Leafs so badly covet, he would also answer a number of other needs that have concerned the Toronto faithful. The 6'4" Getzlaf would greatly improve the special teams as he is reliable in his own end.
With Kessel set to have a career year and shatter his previous 64 point career high, he also is on pace to score 45 goals. So playing with someone like Ryan Getzlaf, the 50 goal scorer that Leaf fans hoped Kessel could be, is a very realistic goal.
Getzlaf, like Corey Perry, would bring a winning mentality. Getzlaf played alongside Perry and current Leafs Clarke MacArthur and Captain Dion Phaneuf in their 2005 World Junior Gold Medal win.
He, being Anaheim's captain, would bring leadership to the team and would be the only player to have won an Olympic Gold Medal and the Stanley Cup.
While Getzlaf seems to be the obvious choice, the question is whether the Leafs have the assets to pry him out of Anaheim. After losing Lupul and Gardiner to Toronto, it raises the question of whether Murray will want to make another block buster trade with Brian Burke.
With the trade deadline drawing nearer, these questions will be answered sooner rather than later.
If they're is one thing we have learned from Brian Burke's time in Toronto, it's that he always has something up his sleeve.