Brian Burke Wants To Clean House In Toronto, Who Is On Thier Way Out?

G MONContributor IDecember 4, 2008

The Brian Burke era has begun and the reconstruction of the Leafs roster will begin shortly. It is no secret that Burke wants to dismantle the roster, but the question is, who will be staying and who will be leaving?

With some attractive trade bait, if managed well, the Leafs can get some solid draft picks and prospects for the future. I believe the best time to start making deals is close to the March 4th trade deadline. We have seen the past seasons how desperate teams get around the trade deadline to add those finishing touches to their roster and make a push for the Stanley Cup.

The Leafs may very well be in contention for a playoff spot come March. I think regardless of their place in the standings, they need to clean house while their current players have value on the market. Here is Toronto's four most valuable assets.

Tomas Kaberle

- If traded, Kaberle can give the Leafs at least a first round pick, a prospect and perhaps a little something else. First off, he will have to waive his NTC that is still in effect until the end of the season and his $4.25 million annual salary may be difficult for teams to squeeze him under the cap. I think Burke will do his best to make a deal for Kaberle, in my opinion his value is decreasing. Kaberle is a great defenceman, do not get me wrong, but this is a time for rebuilding, and the future on the blue line is Luke Scheen.

Nik Antropov

- I would hate to see this guy go because he is getting better but his situation is the most appealing to other teams. He is making only $2.1 million a season and is coming off a 26 goal campaign last season. Antropov would give the Leafs great return in either draft picks or prospects. Burke will market Antropov around at the deadline and I guarantee there will be bidders.

Pavel Kubina

- Another player on the Leafs roster with a patent JFJ no trade clause attached to his contract. If Burke can convince Kubina to waive the NTC and then find a team who will take his five million dollar a year contract, my hat will go off to him. Burke will do his best but I think the Leafs are stuck with him until the end of the season.

Alexei Ponikarovsky

- I do not care what the Leafs get in return for Pond-Hockey-Karovsky, just as long as they move him out. This guys value is decreasing fast and at $2.2 million a season, he is not worth it. His work ethic and defensive game are questionable but he does have two 20+ goal seasons that may interest other teams. If Burke can get a first or second round pick for Poni, I will consider it a win.

Other players on the trading block include:

Jason Blake

- Honestly, who would take this guy at $4.5 million a season, in my opinion this was the worst move JFJ made on a list of many. I think the Leafs are stuck with him for this season and will buy out his contract during the off-season.

Matt Stajan

- I doubt any teams will be interested in Stajan, but then again, who knows. I like Stajan's work ethic and hope he remains a Leaf for the next few seasons.

Jiri Tlusty

- A few water bottles and a bag of pucks would be reasonable.

Ian White

- White has played great this season after being a healthy scratch for the start of the season. I think Burke will keep him since he is only making $850,000.

As for the rest of the squad, I think the Leafs have a solid core to build around and I would not be trading any of these players just yet. Luke Scheen, Grabovski, Hagman, Moore, Finger, Van Ryn, Mitchell and Stempniak have all played very good hockey.

Burke did announce a personal "trade freeze" to start on Dec 9th until after Christmas, he feels the players deserve to spend the holidays with their families. That means we will not be seeing any deals being made until January at the earliest. One thing is for sure, next season will be a very different looking squad.