NHL Trade Scenarios: 5 Trades the Toronto Maple Leafs Should Consider
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Once the winter trading freeze has ended, it is likely that Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke will be in search of another piece to put his team into the postseason. The Leafs' recent drop-off has many fans thinking the midseason slump leading to another year without seeing postseason hockey is under way.
This article will take a look at some major moves Leafs GM Brian Burke should consider heading into the trade deadline. To make the postseason and potentially make a run, it is likely the Leafs will have to do more than just tweak their current roster, while not losing too much NHL talent.
Here are my five proposals for making the current Leafs roster a true playoff contender.
The Flames don't look like they're in position to make a run over the final season and a half of Iginla's contract. It may be time to trade their captain.
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A trade for Jarome Iginla may be one of the tougher deals for Brian Burke to pull off, but there is reason to believe it may be achievable.
The main obstacles to get this deal done would be Iginla's no-movement clause, as well as both teams' salary caps. Toronto and Calgary only have about $400,000 and $600,000, respectively, so any deal being made here would necessarily have to be almost even in terms of the salary of the players involved.
Now, assuming that Iginla decided to waive his no-movement clause to play for a potential playoff team in Toronto, what exactly would it take to get this deal done?
Consider Calgary's best offensive players are Iginla and Olli Jokinen, both of whom are old and have little time left on their contracts, I'm sure Calgary will be expecting some offensive talent in return for its captain. This could be the perfect opportunity for the Leafs to move Nazem Kadri who has yet to live up to expectations.
Assuming the Leafs could convince Iginla to stay in Toronto after next season, moving Kadri, speedy prospect Jerry D'Amigo and a second-rounder may entice the Flames to get this deal done.
The other piece to this deal would likely be Mike Komisarek. This would almost even out the deal salary-wise (a throw-in like Philippe Dupuis would also be necessary) and would allow the Leafs to move the contract of Komisarek and free up a permanent spot for Cody Franson, who's been performing very well in the place of Komisarek. Komisarek would also provide veteran leadership and defensive play in Calgary in front of Miikka Kiprusoff.
To Calgary: Mike Komisarek, Nazem Kadri, Jerry D'Amigo, Philippe Dupuis, Leafs second-round pick in 2012
To Toronto: Jarome Iginla
Ryan may only have 17 points this year in Anaheim, but the potential to be a superstar is there.
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Another possibility for the Toronto Maple Leafs is Ducks forward Bobby Ryan. Anyone who has been following the National Hockey League this year knows the Ducks were shopping their highly talented but underachieving left winger, before saying he was no longer going to be traded about two weeks ago.
At the time he was being shopped the word was that the Ducks would be looking for another center to play on a line behind Ryan Getzlaf and a top-tier defenseman. Both of these demands can be met with relative ease by the Leafs. First off, the Leafs would re-sign Mikhail Grabovski to another contract and include him in the deal.
The next pieces would be defenseman Cody Franson and defensive prospect Korbinian Holzer. However, with Bobby Ryan's ability, it is likely the Ducks would demand that the Leafs' first-rounder be included in the deal as well.
This would give Anaheim a high draft pick of its own this offseason, as well as a middle-of-the-pack first-rounder to build with, while still acquiring NHL-ready talent. Some Leafs fans may say it's a big price to pay, but is there really such thing for a 24-year-old three-time 30-goal scorer?
Also, one other thing to keep in mind, Leafs fans, he will likely play on a top line with Phil Kessel and playmaker extraordinaire Tim Connolly.
Anaheim gets: Mikhail Grabovski, Cody Franson, Korbinian Holzer, Toronto's first-round pick in 2012
Toronto gets: Bobby Ryan
Carolina may take a look at their team come the trade deadline and realize it's time to move their valuable goaltender.
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Now I know to many this trade will come out of left field. However, when looking at Carolina, what is there to suggest its won't rebuild? Sure the Hurricanes only narrowly missed the postseason last year, but talent-wise, you'd be a fool to think this team is only a piece or two away from being a contender.
Outside of Eric Staal, Jeff Skinner, Aaron Ward and maybe Jussi Jokinen (Patrick Dwyer still has plenty to prove), this team doesn't have anything to suggest its is a playoff-caliber team (boasting the likes of Jay Harrison, Tuomo Ruutu, Tim Brent, Jiri Tlusty and Alexei Ponikarovsky may be an indicator it's time for a rebuild in Raleigh). Trading Ward and Staal for a haul of young talent may be what Carolina needs to do to rebuild its team.
Toronto is likely a team willing to put in a bid for Cam Ward (should he be willing to waive his no-trade clause, of course), seeing as James Reimer has still yet to complete upwards of a full season's worth of play. Plus, when Reimer has played, he's posted numbers that are slightly better than average. Whether or not he is a bona fide No. 1 goalie is still up for debate. What is not up for debate is the fact that Cam Ward is an elite player at his position, regardless of his numbers this year playing behind a lackluster Carolina team.
Sending Reimer back to Carolina, along with veteran denfenseman Mike Komisarek (primarily to even up the cap situation) and young gun defenseman Carl Gunnarsson and Toronto's first-rounder in 2012 could get this deal done. It would allow Carolina to have a starting goalie who can develop into a solid above average netminder, while also providing a leader on the blue line and a young defenseman who has the potential to head the Hurricane's powerplay at a much cheaper price than a Joni Pitkanen.
To Carolina: Mike Komisarek, Carl Gunnarrsson, James Reimer, Toronto's first selection in 2012.
To Toronto: Cam Ward
Semin is a prime candidate for a change of scenery, and Toronto could be that place.
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This trade would be more of a "change of scenery" kind of deal. Everyone knows both Nikolai Kulemin and Alex Semin will be solid NHL players for years to come. However, they are both struggling mightily at the moment and could use a change of scenery.
Many may believe Washington wouldn't pull the trigger on this deal unless Toronto includes a few other pieces. This may not necessarily be the case. Consider this, Nikolai Kulemin is still a restricted free agent at the end of this season, meaning Washington should be able to re-sign him for cheap or bring in draft picks from a team that is willing to overpay for him. Either way, they're getting a fairly good bargain for a player who is unhappy in Washington and eating up $6.7 million of cap space.
Because of salary ramifications, this deal would need to include Matthew Lombardi and Philippe Dupuis going to Washington as well.
The final thing to add when talking about this deal is that you can be sure Brian Burke won't consider this unless there is a guarantee that Alex Semin will play longer than just this season in Toronto (and likely for $1.5 million less).
To Washington: Nikolai Kulemin, Matthew Lombardi, Philippe Dupuis, Toronto's second-round pick in 2012.
To Toronto: Alexander Semin
If Tampa continues to struggle, you may see Lecavalier and an aging St. Louis on the move.
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A Vincent Lecavalier trade is much less likely but may still be on the table should Steve Yzerman find his team continuing to struggle come trade deadline time. The contracts of Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis are putting a major strain on the Tampa Bay budget, and moving one of them may not be the worst idea if they can remain competitive while simultaneously dumping salary and adding some young talent.
This trade, however, would require Lecavalier to waive his no-movement clause. If that were possible, this could be the bona fide No. 1 center the Leafs have been looking for. He would come at a price tag but would be well worth it—if the Leafs can stick him between Kessel and Joffrey Lupul for the rest of the season.
In return, Tampa will be looking for salary that will come off the books quickly (Mikhail Grabovski and Jeff Finger, whose 3.5 million will come off the books at season's end) and some young talent. Giving up Nazem Kadri and Keith Aulie would certainly be a steep price to many Leafs fans, but having a player like Lecavalier on your team to anchor the No. 1 center spot for years to come would be worth it. A player like Grabovski would also provide Tampa Bay with the flexibility of either letting him go in the offseason and dumping his salary, or re-sign him, keep $3.5 million on the books and have depth at center.
To Tampa Bay: Mikhail Grabovski, Jeff Finger, Nazem Kadri, Keith Aulie, Toronto's 2nd round selection in 2012.
To Toronto: Vincent Lecavalier
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Now that the actual trade proposals have been written, I want to end by mentioning a few things. You may have noticed that throughout the article I included many of the same pieces in most of the deals. This is because most of the pieces serve a universal purpose (Kadri being the young talent any team could use and Komisarek being the salary equalizer and strong defenseman anywhere he goes). This was done, because I wanted to make these trades seem realisitc. Including players like Jake Gardiner and Joe Colborne in any deal would take away from the likelihood of it actually happening as those are the two pieces that are most likely untouchable in Brian Burke's book.
My final note of the article will be to apologize if there were any spelling errors, especially on words like defenseman or center (forgive I'm Canadian and we spell those words differently).
Thanks for reading my first article, feel free to comment with any thoughts you may have.