Sunday, February 6, 2011
Toronto Maple Leaf trade rumors
It's the silly season where trade rumors are rampant. It's hard to know where they start. Everyone claims to have spoken to an unnamed sources but I don't believe any of it. Many of these bloggers that churn out these rumors are only trying to generate hits on their websites. The most notorious is Eklund on HockeyBuzz.com.
The most prevalent rumors out there continue to involve Tomas Kaberle. Perhaps it will finally happen but I'm not convinced. Despite suggestion to the contrary Kaberle has not provided the Leafs with a list of teams he would go to. So far Brian Burke has insisted he will not ask Kaberle to waive his no-trade contract. Will Burke finally approach Kaberle if he gets a deal to his liking? Who knows. Kaberle has to get his head around wearing another team's jersey. If he does before the end of the month then a trade is possible but still slim. It appears Kaberle wants to remain in the East. The possibilities are Montreal, Boston and Washington. The Bruins have had a long term interesting in acquiring Kaberle but so far Peter Chiarelli and Burke have never been able to agree on a deal.
The other veteran defensemen that could be made available are Mike Komisarek and Francois Beauchemin. Both have no-trade contracts. Even if Komisarek were to waive his no-trade, his contract is definitely not trade-friendly with 3 years remaining at a cap hit of $4.5 million. Beauchemin is a different story. His contract has one year remaining at $3.8 million. Someone may be willing to take that on. One team mentioned is San Jose and the player must often mentioned coming to Toronto is Devin Setoguchi and at 24 is in the age profile that Burke covets. The reason he might be available is that his production has fallen off. Two years ago he scored 31 goals, last season just 20 and so far this season only 11.
One player who has been the subject of trade talks has been Kris Versteeg. Shortly after New Years Burke admitted he had received a very good offer for Versteeg but in the end he turned down. I can see Versteeg being moved but the chances aren't too good. The Leafs thought they had a player who could play on their first line with Phil Kessel but that hasn't been the case. But Versteeg is a talented player who can fill a lot of roles. They are thin in the forward position so moving him doesn't make sense. The rumor mill has suggested a trade with New Jersey for the underachieving Travis Zajac. Makes no sense to me.
Obviously, one player that will be on the market will be J-S Giguere. He has indicated a willingness to move on since it is obvious the Leafs will not be bringing him back next season and there is a risk that he may sit on the bench for much of what remains of this season. Right now he has over $2 million on his contract and even on trade deadline day (February 28) he will still be owed $1.6 million. Contenders don't have cap space like that available. Yet Vesa Toskala was moved a year ago so if the Leafs take back some salary then a deal is possible.
The most intriguing rumor has John Mitchell and Tyler Bozak going to St. Louis for former Leaf prospect Brad Boyes. All 3 players are underachieving so this makes some sense since a change of scenery may help all involved. Several years ago Boyes had 423 and 33 goal seasons before dropping off to just 14 last season. So far this season he has scored just 11 goals. So why would St. Louis move him? Well he has two years left on a contract with a cap hit of $4 million. That's cap friendly at 30 goals per season but not at 15. He is a centre so obviously the Leafs would be interested.