If we’re honest, we all understand that Leaf fans have a (unfair?) reputation for wanting to trade fourth-line guys that we don’t want in return for an elite player. That may be the way some of the fan base thinks, but by and large I don’t feel that really represents the “thinking” of long-time Leaf observers.
Those who follow the team closely and know its background understand that, generally speaking, you have to give something to get something, as the saying goes.
I guess my question today is: if you were in Burke’s shoes, who would you be looking to bring in this season, before the deadline. Down the road, who would you have your eye on as a free agent, or potential trade acquisition as the Leafs look to become serious players in the Eastern Conference?
It would be good if we could be realistic here. I don’t see us acquiring Giroux, Toews or Doughty, for example. But who would be on your “have to at least check to see if this guy could possibly be available” list?
I know Ryan Clowe—who I’ve written about here before as a guy who continues a nice Newfoundland tradition in the NHL—is on the radar of some Leaf followers. But his GM says he's not leaving town. That said, who else might be someone you would love to see in the blue and white—not just for the rest of this season, but for the next few seasons?
You don’t even have to say who you would send the other way. Feel free, but we can assume that we will have to give up something to acquire guys who will add to the puzzle here. Hey, maybe Burke manages not to give up roster players or good draft choices/top prospects. It’s happened before. But realistically, GM’s are not going to take what the Leafs don’t want. They want to build their own hockey clubs with valuable assets either right now, or for the future.
I’m guessing Schenn, Gunnarsson, Grabovski and MacArthur are indeed (not just because of rumours, but because it makes sense) among those whose names have been in trade talks, along with Kadri, who I feel has never been off the table. But again, my focus today is on who you would like to bring in, not necessarily who goes the other way.
Give it some thought and let me know. While we know the Leafs are building with the idea of being a contender year-in and year-out, it’s also clear they feel an urgency to make the playoffs this season. I believe they can make the playoffs with their current roster, because the East is so wide open and it’s entirely likely that Ottawa and Florida cannot maintain their first-half pace for the rest of the season with their limited rosters. (Ottawa has some nice players, but a lot of what they have achieved has been through determination—and good on ‘em. That’s what the Leafs need to show every night, too. But I just wonder if they can keep it up the rest of the way. I’d be shocked if the Panthers hang in there but I guess we’ll see…)
Bottom line, the playoffs in the East are up for grabs. But I’m guessing Burke and company would like a little roster insurance, just to make sure there is no slippage in the final weeks of the season.
No pressure, eh? It’s only been 8 years. Who’s counting?
Send your thoughts along…