Why the Toronto Maple Leafs Need Nathan Horton and Stephen Weiss

Jack PorterCorrespondent IJune 21, 2010

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 11: Nathan Horton #16 of the Florida Panthers skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on December 11, 2009 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Ah yes, only five more days till the 2010 NHL draft, which of course means five more days of rumours from the realistic to ridiculous (see: Eklund's Semin for Brodeur).

But among the more realistic claims, there is a trade pool waiting to explode in Florida. With new GM Dale
Tallon grabbing the reigns there is going to be change in the Sunshine State.

What matters to Leafs fans, though, is how can our beloved
Burkie capitalize on this? Well it is very widely speculated that the Leafs will make an effort to acquire one of the pair of Nathan Horton or Stephen Weiss, I myself find the "one of" part kind of strange.

If they're going to make a run at one, why not go for both?

The 25-year-old Horton, as it has been said before, comes with baggage
. But you know what? I think a Welland kid playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs can find a way to get motivated (leaving Miami and all it distractions helps too).

On the hockey side of things, Horton is the definition of a "Burke type player"—size, toughness and skill. It's a match made in heaven.

Weiss, at the age of 27, is another Toronto area boy (Markham) who could help form the core the Leafs dream of having. He doesn't have the size that Horton does, but he does have the offensive talent.

The most important aspect in this whole thing is the chemistry. Horton and Weiss have proven that they to play well together and if they bring that to Toronto it would be a thing of beauty.

Now you may be saying to yourself, "Hey, those two could look good with
Kessel next year," but that's not what I'm going for here. Both Kessel  and Horton are right wingers. which of course means they would likely play on separate lines. No, grabbing these two players would give the Leafs get a 1-2 punch.

Others teams would have to worry about two lines, which in turn would give both lines better
opportunities because the opposing team's shut down pair can't cover both lines.

The wrench in these plans, however, is how to get both Horton and Weiss to Toronto.

As expected,
Tomas Kaberle would have to be involved. Kaberle straight up for Horton is about even, with Kaberle maybe even taking the slight edge.

But what about Weiss?

Well, Florida would need a center capable of playing at least a second line role. Enter Mikhail  Grabovski .

Despite the criticism , Grabovski is capable of being a secondary scorer. That trade would not be nearly as even as Kaberle for Horton, so of course more would have to be added.

Leaf prospect Jimmy Hayes is intriguing, as he possesses
a fair amount of upside—enough upside that adding him may tip the scale again towards Florida. Burke wouldn't be to happy with that so he may cross another thing of his wish list by requesting the Panthers 2 nd round (33rd overall) pick, but sweeten the pot himself by pitching in the Leafs 2011 3rd round pick.

Basically the deal would shake down like this:

To Toronto:
Nathan Horton
Stephen Weiss
2010 2 nd Rd Pick (33rd)

To Florida
Tomas Kaberle
Mikhail Grabovski
Jimmy Hayes
2011 3rd Rd Pick

Yes, all you cap followers out there, this deal is basically a wash. To those who say this could never happen because the blockbuster trade is a thing of the past, I have two words: Dion Phaneuf .

Remember, this is not a rumour. But it is a fun prediction, so don't take it to seriously.  


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