Monday Morning Musings with Me "The Big E": A Busy Deadline for Leafs?

Eric WarrenCorrespondent IIMarch 1, 2010

TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 8:  Tomas Kaberle #15 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates in the warm-up prior to a game against the San Jose Sharks on February 8, 2010 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario. The Sharks defeated the Leafs 3-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Silver medal winners, Brian Burke, Ron Wilson, and Phil Kessel won't have a lot of time to rest with little more than 48 hours between Sidney Crosby's electrifying overtime winner, and the NHL trade deadline coming up at 3 pm this Wednesday.

For his part, Brian Burke, Toronto Maple Leafs' GM, has stated that he does expect to be busy.

With that in mind, what do the Toronto Maple Leafs need going forward?

The hot button phrase is of course is draft picks. Of course if you're Burke, you wonder what you have that is worth a pick.

There are two obvious choices of course: Tomas Kaberle and Alex Ponikarovsky.

Let's take a look at some of the possibilities in regards to those two players.

Alexei Ponikarovsky

Soon to be 30-years-old, old Alexei Ponikarovsky is a perennial 20 plus goal scorer; he doesn't take penalties; and is pretty dependable in most situations. He will be an unrestricted free agent this coming offseason and will be looking for a bit of a raise from the $2.5 million he currently makes.

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Several teams would benefit from the presence of this 6'4" Ukrainian winger including the Pittsburgh Penguins, for example.

Although I don't believe Toronto has an immediate need for a center, a straight-up trade for Tyler Kennedy could make sense for both clubs. Kennedy is just 23-years-old and has, according to most sources, a great amount of potential.

Of course Burke would like to to snag a first round pick in exchange for Ponikarovsky, but it may just not be in the cards according to Burke.

Ponikarovsky, for his part would prefer to stay with the Leafs. He is on record as stating that he loves being here and playing here.

Unfortunately for him, he is on a roster with few other serviceable assets, because of this, he will likely be dealt before the deadline.

Tomas Kaberle

Tomas Kaberle has been a consummate professional for the Toronto Maple Leafs; he's always in the top five in team scoring; and he's a perennial Leaf.

Arguably the most sought after defense man this year, Kaberle has a no trade clause. That being said, if Burke went to him with a deal that could immediately provide him a great chance at a Stanley Cup, I can't see Kaberle turning down the chance.

Burke has alluded to the fact that he will in fact be busy leading up to the trade deadline. He has also alluded to the fact that Kaberle will be moved, but not before the deadline.

The Toronto Maple Leafs will have complete control of Kaberle at the time of the NHL Draft.

Kaberle will not likely be enough to pry the overall No. 1 pick away from whoever gets it, but he may be enough to get one in the Top 10.

There may be a deal out there that will see Kabby leaving the team at the deadline.

I can't see it, but anything is possible.

Luke Schenn

Burke has gone on record as saying that Luke Schenn is not going to be traded. I have to believe though, that if an opportunity presents itself to get a top five draft pick, it may be too much to turn down.

The arrival of Dion Phaneuf and Keith Aulie coupled with the emergence of Carl Gunarsson and the presence of Mike Komisarek, takes some of the pressure off of Burke to protect Schenn so much.

Mikhail Grabovski

Mikhail Grabovski's welcome may have been worn out. As much as both Burke and coach Ron Wilson have down played Grabovski's intermittent disruptions, that kind of player tends to get old eventually.

That being said, Grabovski has started to this year to show flashes of the all around potential that a great many people thought he had. His physical game has come along; his shot total is down but his assist to goal ratio is up, which indicates that he is not only looking around more but he is starting to see the ice better.

At a little less than $3 million for each of the next two years, if a team out there thinks they can reign him in a little and help him realize a little more of his potential, he could be an attractive piece that may bring back a high second round pick.

At the end of the day on Wednesday and after the dust settles, you can bet the Leafs will look at least a little different.

Burke is not one to fold under pressure, but he'll have to be a little cautious.

Teams know that the Toronto Maple Leafs are stuck between a rock and a hard place— in more ways than one—and will be out to try and take advantage a little.

With still no talk out of the Leafs camp regarding re-signing any of the several restricted, and un-restricted free agents currently in the Leafs system, you have to wonder just what the Toronto Maple Leafs will look like when the team hits the ice come October.

Don't forget! It's that time of year again, or getting there.

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