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What’s the next Leaf shoe to drop? I think something is brewing and here are some (likely?) possibilities….

It’s funny.  Because things appear to be quiet in Leafville, we probably tend to make the assumption that not a whole lot is going on.  Oh, Kulemin re-signed but really, it’s not like someone was going to slide a 50-million dollar offer sheet in front of him after a 7-goal season, right?  So that was going to happen.  We all knew it.  It was just a case of what dollar amount the Leafs would put against Nik hopefully being the “old” Nik again- and what Kuelmin wasn’t too embarrassed to ask for after what was, c’mon, a pretty lousy year for the young winger.

But that slam-dunk aside, my guess is quite a lot is actually going on.  What, exactly?  Well, here’s what I see “happening” at the moment…

  1. Despite all the talk to throw us off the trail, I really believe the Canucks and Leafs are still talking about a trade involving Luongo.  It may be have to be a lot bigger than that, so both sides can save face (and it still may be a three-way trade), but I think that is still very much on the table, regardless of what some “insiders” suggest.  I’ve said before that Luongo in Chicago makes the most sense to me, though he seems to “want” to be in Florida.  (Funny, he couldn’t wait to get out the last time…).  But Gillis can’t just play ball with only one team on Luongo’s list, or his ability to acquire anything of value will shrink.  Tallon won’t bid against himself, right?
  2. Is Stastny on Burke’s radar?  I have no idea.  Why the Avalanche would move him baffles me but it’s a nice summer talking point.  The guy is still young at 26, has played some nice hockey in his career and ought to be a real contributor for years to come.  He could certainly be a 1A type center here, splitting that role with Grabosvki.
  3. The Bernier thing is interesting, too.  Here is a young goalie who is more reputation and promise than delivery so far in his young career, but let’s be fair:  he hasn’t really had the opportunity to be the top guy in LA.  He will be moved somewhere—as soon as Dean Lombardi can find a team that a) needs a goalie and b) is willing to part with something that is worthwhile, from his perspective. Are the Leafs in on this one?  Again, there are conflicting “reports” out there, but I think they are kicking the tires on anything that could make their club better.  Would the newly-signed Kulemin go the other way?  He seems like the kind of useful piece that would be a very effective third-liner on a good team, or a solid second-line winger on a roster that is similar to the Leafs.  Now, whether Leaf fans would be any more excited about Bernier than they are about Reimer or even Scrivens, I don’t know.
  4. We can criticize Paul Holmgren all we want, but if we’re honest, a lot of Leaf fans must have Holmgren-envy.  Knock him if you want for peddling Carter and Richards last summer and signing a talented but not always dependable big-game goaltender (Bryzgalov), but he got some very good young talent in return for the first two guys, and with Weber possibly in tow, has the makings of an excellent—if cap-curtailed and goalie-starved—team yet again.  The guy takes risks and you have to admire his guts.  The Flyers are competitive every year and a lot more entertaining than the Leafs have been in recent years.  They have some team toughness, too, which I like.
  5. I don’t think we’re sincerely interested in Semin, and I can’t see that we have any shot at Shane Doan. (The latter has had a wonderful life in the best climate in the hockey world down in Phoenix—and zero stress.  Why on earth would he come here at this point in his career, to a team that is not even as close to a Cup as the owner-challenged Coyotes?)
  6. Could we go after Mike Knuble?  I doubt it.  I would have loved him a few years ago, but at 40, though he would provide leadership and grit, I don’t know what he has left.  While the Leafs are looking for those two attributes, I sense they want someone a bit younger than Knuble.   But he’s been a fine character player for years. I wonder who might be a younger Knuble for us- someone who would bring size, grit and veteran savvy??
  7. Similarly, Jason Arnott performs everywhere he goes, but at 37, how much has he got left in the tank for a re-build franchise?
  8. I just have this feeling that the Leafs would like to add an experienced defenseman like Kent Huskins to the organization.  He’s still not that old at 33 and he has a history with Burke and Carlyle, having played in 21 playoff games for the Ducks in their Cup year in the spring of 2007.
  9. I believe the Hawks need to make some moves and therefore they will be active traders before training camp.  I would also expect GM’s like Tallon in Florida and Garth Snow on the Island to be active.  What might shake loose from those trees that could be of interest to the Leaf brass?  There are some interesting assets on both of those teams.  Any thoughts on that front?

This all leads us to the related question:  who are the Leafs willing to move?

My guess is there are few “untouchables”.  Burke won’t deal Phaneuf because even if the deal felt right to Burke, he has put too much into building Dion up as his “captain”.  Burke is already being questioned for altering his re-build strategy in mid-stream.  Phaneuf won’t be moved.

The Leafs desperately want to hold on to Gardiner, though, if we’re being honest as Leaf fans, he is about the only thing that would excite rival GM’s- if we are seriously expecting to attract a big name like Bobby Ryan or Rick Nash.  But since the Leafs won’t move that piece (Gardiner), I don’t see us landing a big-name guy like Nash or Ryan (even if Nash was willing to come here, which it appears he still is not…)

So who are players that the Leafs would part with, and that other teams might fancy?

Kulemin remains one such player, I believe.  Certainly Kadri, though I’m not sure other organizations rate him as highly as we—or the Leafs—would like to think.  Franson could have some value.  (The Predators may look his way now that Weber may be gone, along with Suter…).  I believe Matt Frattin would excite some GM’s because of his speed and the ability he has shown to attack from both wings and go to the net. But do we want to let go of the one promising young forward (who cost us nothing) who actually projects as something more than a garden-variety NHL’er?

Otherwise, it’s pretty slim pickings.  We don’t want to trade high-end prospects, but I’m not sure how many we really have, anyway.  The Hawks are looking for a second-line center.  I suppose Grabovski would fit there, but who would we get back?

I’m hoping you have some thoughts on all this.  My point today is simply this:  we may feel nothing is going on.  But I think plenty is under discussion, and something will shake before too much more time passes.


  1. A few thoughts and off-the-wall possibilities that percolated through my mind as a result of your post:

    1. I imagine that the Luongo negotiations are still simmering (or coming to a boil under the media lid, as it were) and feel like other ingredients are in the mix. Why? It seems that Gillis has probably realized that the albatross nature of the contract is too much for any team other than the Leafs. Therefore, in order to save face, Gillis would need to ‘hide’ the actual return amidst a larger deal. Perhaps the Canucks quick playoff exit provides enough reason for a bit of a shake-up (that has more to do with the Lou situation than the early exit). It seems that an injury-recovering Kesler might just be the secret ingredient in such a deal.

    Vancouver’s present need for a center plus the loss of Kesler could bring 2 of the following names into the mix for a deal: Connolly, Bozak and/or Steckel. Just spit-balling, but this could become a 3 or 4 (plus a pick/prospect) for 2 kind of deal that would look like a reasonable return to save face for Gillis.

    2. If Kesler is in the mix, then I see no reason to pursue Stastny, but if not, then this would be no surprise to me.

    3. I feel that Bernier may be a ‘reasonable decoy’ respecting both the resigning of Scrivens and the Luongo negotiations. The only reason that it might happen is if Luongo disappears from the trade scene…. If so, then I could see Scrivens + going to LA. It would create a real competition for the net that would probably be less risky (for Burke’s job) than going with Scrivens (who I like). It would also give the latter an NHL opportunity behind a now, well-established Quick.

    4. Re: Holmgren vs. Burke - I refer back to my comment pertaining to possible aspirations for the Commissioner’s position when Bettman retires. Burke would lack credibility if he pursued Holmgren’s path, however, it would be interesting for us if those options were on the table!

    5. Can’t see either coming here (I like Doan, but can’t see a multi-year deal that I believe he wants whether he stays with his first choice Phoenix, or not; Semin just doesn’t seem like a Burke guy).

    9. I’ve had a Lombardi/Franson-like thought pertaining to the Islanders (should the possibility to amnesty a contract become part of the new CBA). I could see our Leaf bankroll accepting DiPietro in order to obtain Tavares! I believe a player with potential would have to go the other way (Like Kadri) along with the oft-mentioned Komisarek. DiPietro could be given access to the deep pockets of the Leafs and also be given the option/condition of resigning for a one-year low-cost deal to provide a 3rd goalie in the press box (or waive if Reimer/Scrivens are doing well). Sure would be a great way to pick up a great young center while solving a huge problem for the Isles. Perhaps I’m dreaming, but do wonder if other deals are merely simmering while the Leafs determine if such a possibility could exist in the near-term future.

  2. Another blockbuster, Michael, nice one.

    My thoughts on who is available:
    Not so sure about Kulemin being on the block. My reasoning is based around them being so overt about trialling JvR at centre. Why do that unless you didn't want to break up the MGK line? Otherwise you've got a sweet second line with JvR-Grabo-Kulemin or you promote Grabo to the first and have a number of reasonable 2C options to play inside your wingers (Connolly, Bozak, Lombardi, maybe even Colbourne). And, to be honest, I really like that. Giving MGK another year seems like a nod to those things about our team which seem positive, for all that last year wasn't as good as the year before for those three. They're our only danger line at both ends and Burke loved that asset at Anaheim.
    I think you're right that Gardiner isn't going anywhere but can't help but think that, if they can tease out a stay at home D from somewhere, he is a Liles in the making with a higher ceiling - does that make Liles expendable?
    Steckel or Bozak must be on the table given the depth of average centres we have. You keep the latter if you want a young rip or bust 3rd line or the former if you want extra responsibility at C in the depth chart. Both could go if they like where Colbourne is at leaving at Centre JvR-Grabo-Colbourne/Connolly-McClement.

    As for your list of simmering prospective trades, I hope, like you do, that there's plenty on the go.
    (1) I agree that Burke's still hanging in there. I just don't buy Gillis wanting to send an elite goalie to Vancouver's biggest playoff rivals in Chicago and if Florida take him they're sending all the wrong messages to Markstrom, they're big investment.
    (2) Can't imagine them making such a public point of wanting JvR at C if they were still in the market for a 1C. We'd have to be sending both Connolly and Lombardi the other way for it make sense. I think they'll try JvR in the knowledge that they have Connolly or Grabo as a potential upgrade if he doesn't work out.
    (3)-(7) God, I hope not.
    (8) you could be onto something there. I think we definitely still need some veteran D - a Komisarek deal that works out, if you will. Tampa have stocked up significantly and it wouldn't be the first time Burke has taken a punt on a good player under an injury cloud (Lupul, Connolly, Lombardi) if he went after Ohlund.
    (9) Not sure who we'd want from Florida and I doubt we'd get anything like a steal out of Snow and we all know how much Burke likes to be able to screw someone on a deal so that he can crow about it afterwards. I think he'd be too nervous to play with NYI.

  3. I forgot to mention that i believe Burke will go hard after Doan, could even have been the 4 year @ $30M offer that was publicised earlier this week. Whether or not I like it, I think he's just the kind of guy Burke and Carlyle would die for to stiffen up the resolve of the current group of forwards.

  4. The names you dropped in your post certainly caught my attention, InTimeFor62. Kessler, for one. While his star has fallen a tad, he's a player, for sure. We're on the same wave length that any Luongo negotiations may now have to be a broader deal, with some other "names" to make it acceptable to both sides- and their respective fan bases. I would think Bozak would be the possible attraction for the Canucks of those you mention. (Frattin could be in that mix, as well.)

    But you really grabbed my imagination with the reference to DiPietro. I didn't quite fall of my chair, but in the context of an amnesty clause, who knows? We know Burke likes Tavares a lot (so do I). He's a name that is indeed under the radar in any Leaf trade talk "rumours". He'd be a tremendous fit with Toronto, though (and about 29 other teams!). Whether the Isles would ever move him, I don't know. But even if we're taking DiPietro off their hands (theoretically), I have to believe we would need to give up some quality to also net Tavares.

    Great stuff....a lot of fodder for discussion there, InTimeFor62. Thanks.

  5. InTimeFor62 - great post, good stir.

    It had never even crossed my mind that Vancouver might consider Kesler expendable, particularly after sending Hodgson to Buffalo. But if they are worried about him being in decline for whatever reason, I'd send Reimer back the other way for Luongo and Kesler.

    Similarly, it would never have occurred to me that NYI might part with Tavares, even to be rid of DiPietro. But if you're right, I am officially drooling.

  6. Great stuff, KiwiLeaf, especially on the heels of some eye-popping possibilities raised by InTimeFor62.

    I don't think you're off base in anticipating that the Leafs want another good look at Grabbo between Mac and Kulemin this season. (I raise Kulemin's name as a guy being available because I'm of thinking that Kulemin may be someone opposing GM's may want to entice away from the Leafs while his value is perceived to be low...)

    As for Liles, yes, he could be moved, absolutely. Not sure what he would bring in return. If GM's remember his first half with the Leafs, he was very good. Post-injury, we all saw that he was not quite himself.

    You may be right about Gillis keeping Luongo away from a Conference rival.

    On the back end, Ohlund is an interesting name that you raise.

    InTimeFor62 covered the Islander angle!

    Thanks KiwiLeaf...

  7. KiwiLeaf....I would love sense, though, is he won't come to the East, but who knows!?

  8. Michael, you're right that Liles in and of himself wont make too many people leap for their wallets but it seems to me that we need big players now who will require package deals going the other way. Whether it's 1C or 1G or a defenseman who actually wants to play D, we aren't going to making too many more deals like Schenn for JvR this off-season. If we're after a Ryan or (please) Getzlaf or whoever, it could be a good hockey trade for us to be sending 2 or 3 second tier players off for an elite.

  9. No question, KiwiLeaf, if we can acquire a high-end talent for second-tier players, that would be worth pursuing- much like the Phaneuf trade.

    I'm a bit skeptical that rival GM's will give up an elite player for less than something less than that in return.

    Bottom line, I think things are happening. We don't know what, but we can piece the clues together that something is close....

  10. The DiPietro/Tavares angle has been simmering in my mind ever since I heard the amnesty possibility, however, I've been reticent to say much because I'd truly like to see it happen and am concerned that if the idea 'has legs' then I only hope to have tweaked the ears of some Leafs staffer that may follow the most intelligent and considerate blog that I've found pertaining to our beloved Leafs - it would not surprise me to find out that the team might check in to hear from you and your fans, Michael!

    I actually wondered about the idea 'getting out there' too soon, which could possibly 'blow the opportunity' if other franchises (with some cash) decided to co-opt the idea themselves.

    I hope the Leafs are thinking along these lines (or are now considering the idea) and that they'll contact you to remove this post :) for the reasons stated above!

    Glad to hear some real Leaf fans like the idea!

    I should mention I'm probably an honourary 'KiwiLeaf' (perhaps CanuckLeafKiwi) since I lived there for one of the best half years of my life. Beautiful country and wonderful people!

  11. As for Doan, you're absolutely right that he has an established preference that has nothing to do with Toronto and even an assumed second preference - going to a contender - that has nothing to do with Toronto, but the dude is in danger of being this year's Vokoun, leaving it all too late and getting massively underpaid.

    I'm all for players in this era showing some loyalty but he's in danger of starting to sound a little pathetic if he keeps pining for a Phoenix that will never be. With Philly sweating over this Weber offer sheet, maybe Burke can high-ball the remaining interest?

  12. I don't for a moment doubt the Leafs would consider taking on DiPietro's contract under the circumstance you describe- if it meant they could potentially acquire someone of Tavares' stature, InTimeFor62. None of us can say if it's "realistic", but it certainly falls within the realm of creative trades, for sure.

  13. I'm all in if Burke can convince Doan to play here, KiwiLeaf....I've been (like a lot of people, I'm sure) a quiet Doan fan for years!

  14. InTimeFor62, I'm very glad you enjoyed my country as much as I did yours. I had 2 years in London, Ont., the first 2 weeks of which were sufficient to turn me into a Leafs fan forever, then another year in Victoria, B.C. which is a city a aspire to return to (though never as a 'Nucks fan) it was so much fun.

    I'm still struggling to imagine NYI wanting to move Tavares for any reason but it's a beautiful dream - which is exactly what we all need right now until September rolls around.

    Like you I have a very high opinion of Michael and this blog - since leaving Canada I've looked over a lot in the interest of keeping up some fresh dialogue about hockey while living on the wrong half of the sphere. This has been the only one that has moved me to regular comment.

  15. KiwiLeaf: My hope to see Tavares in a Leaf uniform is almost entirely dependent upon the financial situation under which the Isles appear to operate. If they need to get out of that contract with DiPietro, I don't see them having the financial backing to accomplish the task.

    The Isles would have to 'sell' the 'double-departure' to their fans even more than their owners, therefore, a substantial return (with potential) would have to go the other way, hence Kadri plus others (and it would probably hurt), but I can't imagine passing on the opportunity to gain a young talented Tavares!

    I had the joyous experience of significant time on both the South and North Islands, loving both for what they provide in beauty and hospitality. A special memory... Glad you liked Victoria, too. I grew up on that island - where I grew up under the Leaf loving influence of my dad.

  16. Mehh. That is probably my overall feeling this summer. I really don't think the leafs have anything brewing at the moment. Mostly because there really isn't anything other teams really really want. That isn't to say there are no good leaf players just none that really stand up and grab other GM imagination.

    Kessler might be on the move, but I really doubt it. Having given up on Hogdson the Canucks would no longer have a second line center. They would need Grabovski back to make that deal. At best that is simply going sideways and does not make the leafs signifigantly better.

    Dipietro to get Tavares is interesting but I'll ask this, if there is going to be a one time buy out why would the Islanders need to get rid of Dipietro? Secondly, the Islanders are usually struggling to get to the salary floor, so a cap hit of 4 million is actually of benefit to them.

    Our best young players are second tier NHL players excluding Gardiner and Rielly. So I'm guessing any opposing GM is looking at those two in any sort of big name trade and when the Leafs finally have two blue chip players they can't get rid of them. They are starting another rebuild yet again and are at least 3-4 years away from actually making a push.

    The kinda deals I see are MacArthur, Kulemin, maybe Frattin. Guys who are third liners maybe second liners. They aren't going to bring much in return simply other players of the ilk. The big trade just isn't out there for Burke. My best guess is despite Burke claiming not to be done the leafs you see today are essentially the Leafs that start the season.

    Unless he caves and sends Gardiner to Vancouver as part of a Luongo deal or to Columbus as per Nash. Both scenarios give me cold sweats at night.

  17. I absolutely understand your perspective on this, Willbur. I agree that the Leafs are somewhat limited: the high-end prospects/assets they do have, they simply don't want to part with. A lot of the rest of the deals they might be discussing would have to include some cap-related drama.

    But I'll just throw in my two cents that I think the brass is looking, and trying to make a move. At the very least a "minor" UFA signing that would upgrade the current roster. And I still think a deal is brewing!

    Thanks as always Willbur.

  18. This off season has been a major disappointment.
    Draft - disappointment
    UFA - disappointment
    pre-season - so far more disappointment

  19. I do understand, leaferboy. But I just sense something is afoot....

  20. The next shoe to drop?

    Maybe just a sock...

    I predict they will soon re-sign Cody Franson.

    I don't think there will be that much happening before training camp. Burke said he wanted to make changes over the summer but he also said he wasn't trading Luke we don't have to believe every word Burke says.

    I think the real activity will come after training camp and maybe a few months in to the season. They will probably give Conolly another chance on the top line. Lombardi will be given another look.

    Kadri should make the team. (More time in the AHL won't help him that much.) Kadri should be motivated and in good spirits. If kadri plays well and Conolly and/or Lombardi don't, then Kadri could force one or both of them out via trade or become prime trade material himself...maybe to Vancouver?

    Riemer and Scrivens will be given a chance for a least a few months in order to further drive down the price of Luongo.

    Then there is the matter of our fringe guys: Colborne, D'Amigo and to lesser extent Holzer Ashton and Fraser. If any starts burning it up in the AHL (most likely Colborne or D'Amigo) then they could also expedite the departure of Conolly and/or Lombardi.

    If I was more sure about the ability of Riemer to comback, I would be feeling pretty good about the upcoming season. However, if things an't going well in the first two months of the season there will be all sorts of trades...add names like Bozak, MacArthur and Steckel to the list.

  21. As for any deal involving Luongo, I share a similar view that the deal may have to involve several players simply to cloud the issue for Gillis so it doesn't look like he is getting little in return. I'm of the opinion a goalie has to be going back to VAN in any deal involving Luongo. Burke is not likley to give up on Reimer, so it could be Scrivens or even Bernier.

    Now if Luongo does not get dealt to the Leafs, Burke may still be interested in Bernier just to give Reimer a push for #1G. Bernier has some NHL experience so could be an okay back-up for a year or two. If the tandem falters though Burke will look even more foolish, and then be desperate for a veteran quality netminder.

    Like you Michael I sense there could be something bigger in the works. Burke obviously is not content with the team as it is, and won't give up trying to find the right deal. Problem for Burke is the type of player he is looking for, comes with a very big price tag, or is simply not a player the other team wants to part with. So I'd say probably of a big deal is about 25%, and 75% that Burke will have to wait for the new CBA, or the trading deadline to swing a deal for a big fish.

    As for roster players I'd be willing to part with, well Lombardi and Kulemin are high on my list. Komisarek or Liles are expendable, though Liles is an important PP guy. I'm torn on Connolly as he is capable of so much more, but if the right piece came the other way, well sure.

    I like Grabovski, but lets face it, he's NOT a #1 centre. He lacks the size. Leafs have too many centre without size. I know he plays big, but he doesn't win that many battles for the puck. IF they could truly find a #1 centre, then Grabovski could become a nice trading piece. Bozak could slide into the #2 centre position, or maybe Colborne if he proves he's ready. I know a lot of fans would disagree with me about Grabo.

    Some fans are willing to part with MacArthur, but his play is solid and he's a 20+ goal scorer. He got off to a rough start last year with an injury and suspension, but rebounded nicely. Frattin is just realizing his potential and I see him pushing for a spot on the 2nd line (3rd line at worst). As for Kadri , this is decision year for him. I like that he is working out with Gary Roberts, and likley will arrive at camp fit and gritty. Can he stick with the big club?? I want to give him one more kick at the can.

    As for prospects I may be willing to part with.... D'Amigo, Ashton, Ryannas.

  22. You may be right, DP. I have to believe, as you suggest, that Kadri will stick for good (assuming he's not part of a pre-season trade...).

    They are high on Colborne but whether he is "ready"...who knows? I'm guessing he will be a key Marlie this coming season, with call-ups as needed.

    I think a lot of us are hoping Reimer plays as he can....

    Good stuff, thanks DP. Appreciate your chiming in on this one...

  23. Hi Willbur - Your question "if there is going to be a one time buy out why would the Islanders need to get rid of Dipietro?" is a legitimate one that I didn't flesh out fully in my own comments.

    It is my belief that the ownership may not be able to justify the actual dollar cost of an amnesty buyout, should that become an element in the new CBA. Which leads to your second comment about the Isles' struggles to reach the cap floor. Yes, DiPietro's 4.5 M cap hit would help in that regard, it's the actual paying of 4.5M per year for the man (who is rarely healthy enough to play) that is the problem.

    For the next year or two, most of the (both actual and cap hit) Tavares 5.5M/DiPietro 4.5M cap space COULD be covered by NY Long Island native and #7 drafted Komi (4.5 but 3.5 actual) and possibly Islander #5 drafted Connolly (4.75 actual 4.0), both of whom clearly 'cost' less than their hit.

    When you factor in a #7 Kadri (1.72M hit, but unlikely to hit every bonus) and (perhaps) another pick/prospect, I think the Isles could make an argument to the fans that the franchise is in better financial shape to move forward and that they have received ample compensation for Tavares (while privately thinking both Komi and Connolly are potentially tradeable assets at the deadline this coming season and the next when their value to playoff hopefuls may be at the peak for them to be traded, bringing in more picks/prospects for the future).

  24. I also wonder what motivation DiPietro actually has to retire before 2021?

    This is another example of why the CBA ought to consider a buffer zone in the player/owner revenue split - One designed to correct or 'make right' the injury issues that plague the owners and hamstring everyone who would like to see guaranteed contracts honoured, yet allow teams the freedom to recover from such 'losses'. Why fight over the split in a zero sum game, risking losing player paychecks and fan interest during a lockout/strike?

    They could also open the non-hockey revenue issues and work together for a mutually beneficial solution for players, owners and fans alike!

  25. That's one of the fun things about talking Leafs, TML__fan- while it looks like nothing is happening, we know that there is activity- it just may not amount to anything!

    There are lots of roster decisions to be made, as you mention. I know the cap plays a role in many of those decisions, but one would suspect that Kadri and Frattin will be on the team. The club needs young legs with skill. (They have plenty of "youth", but they need guys who can make plays, too...)

    None of us really know whether Luongo or Bernier are realistic in terms of what may happen, but I believe those talks are indeed happening.

    Your point on Grabbo is well made. He is a tough little guy. He's certainly earned my admiration. But is he a number-one guy? He's a 2, or 1A at best. My guess is even Leaf fans who love him would be willing to let him go in a deal that could upgrade the overall roster.

    While I'm not a MacArthur guy, I respect your view on him. If he can play consistently, then yes, he can help.

    I also think Kulemin could be in play. You make a great point that Burke wants to improve the line-up, but may have to wait for the new CBA or trading deadline.

    Great post. Thanks as always, TML__fan.

  26. I like your last point a lot, InTimeFor62. Surely there has to be a mutually agreeable way to deal with the issue you raise....a "buffer zone" regarding the revenue split.

  27. I am very much on the same page with Willbur, above. There's probably not that much going on behind the scenes, partially because the ongoing CBA-negotiations are making people in charge take a bit more of a "wait-and-see"-stance than usual, and partially because the Leafs have little to bargain with in terms of marketable assets we can actually afford to lose.

    Also, I'd like to voice my agreement with InTimeFor62 and KiwiLeaf in my appreciation of VML. This is the single hockey-related blog that I enjoy participating in. Here I can express my thoughts on the Leafs and the game itself, and enjoy the sheer quality of discussion. That's a rare treat these days, so kudos to you, Michael!

  28. Obviously, hopeful that something will occur that upgrades our roster at the right price.

    There is lots of fun, hopeful, interesting thinking expressed in this thread. Random thoughts...not sure if Statsny becomes available given cap floor issues with Avs. O'Rielly is still unsigned, but they're still very high on him and I predict they'll go with a Pens 'three-deep' model. The face-saving larger deal for Gillis is an arguable scenario, but what works for both? We need a center. They don't have a replacement for Kesler. Just don't see us filling two holes via an expanded deal with Van - but maybe that's the rationale for a three-way trade.

    Would love to find a way to deal with the Isles. Even if Tavares is not the prize, they have more depth down the middle than Van. Strome would be an interesting target.


  29. Maybe logic is being eclipsed by hope in my case, CGLN, so I keep thinking talks are ongoing about something of significance. But you and Willbur may well be quite right.

    Thank you, by the way, for your kind words about the VLM site. It's evident to me that the factor that makes this site go is the commentary from those who take to time to provide thoughtful points for discussion and healthy debate.

    Thanks CGLN. You're a big part of that invaluable input.

  30. I sense you're right about Stastny, glgbill....O'Reilly is still a kid (21, right?) with three year in the league already.

    You make a very good point about the realities of any deal with the Canucks, but I keep thinking a three-way trade could work (though I'm not a big Luongo guy...).

    I do think Snow will make something happen on the Island. Thanks for dropping by, glgbill

  31. I'm sorry Tavares is not available even in a 50 million dollar salary dump. Charles Wang is not a poor owner he is an owner who makes poor decisions. I don't even think Tavares and DiP for a package of Gardiner, Reily and Kadri makes sense for them. Tavares is an absolute star, the Islanders marketing revolves around him. He is their Crosby and is worth more to them than the remaining years and term on DiP's contract.

  32. Regarding multi-player deals with Vancouver; could that be where Burke is trying to get some upgraded D from? Vancouver has got crazy depth there with Bieksa, Garrison, Edler, Hamhuis, Ballard, Tanev.

    I'd take Luongo and Edler for Scrivens, Komisarek and a pick.

  33. Thanks for that, John. That may well be the sobering reality. I know Tavares is hugely important to the Islanders and you are probably right, that they would never let him go, all things being equal. But it's a fun thought for us as Leaf fans, to bring JT home!

  34. KiwiLeaf........I think Komi will stay, Carlyle will turn him backj into a hitter, Franson is crying about being a top 4 minutes guys again, would be nice to keep him 6'5" if he could learn to use his height/size, but I think Lombardi,Kuli, Franson and Liles could be moved with a AHL goalie, we tend to forget the pain in the Rs Burke signed Komarov. If we're to get biger and meaner and tougher it may be hard to do keeping the small guys like Grabo/Kessel and when you move guys like this you have to replace the thing is certain Burke is not done and when it's this quiet...something is up. I have a feeling Bobby Ryan (for the right deal) is coming this way.

  35. Yes, the whole Komisarek discussion will be key come training camp, Anon.

    Komarov is another interesting piece, for sure.

    I agree, something is brewing!

  36. The thing about summer is that the heat causes us to conger up all sorts of fairytale scenarios. Neither Tavares or Kessler are coming to T.O. The pieces which Burke would be willing to move are of little value to other teams owing to the fact that Leafs have missed the post season for the better part of a decade. Thus far Burke has improved the Marlies and begun to stock a long bare cupboard with prospects. However, the on ice product has remained substandard. With the CBA talks ongoing player movement throughout the league is likely to come to a complete halt. A new landscape will emerge and until it becomes apparent what this looks like we can can only recline in out deck chairs and dream about the "monumental" trades we long for Burke to pull off.

  37. Rocky...can't argue with you. A sobering but likely realistic assessment.

  38. It's all about money...player/owners doesn't matter who they're becoming very scenario...share. Injured players need to be compensated without the cap hit/or owner strain.......LTIR after DiPietro you think managers would have learned.....what happens when Weber get a long term concussion next year....anyone not a Leafs fan still think Burke is not a good GM 2-5 year deals?....if Weber goes down...Homer goes down...and will never work the NHL again....same in Minny Suter Parise or both get hurt you pay all that money for what....players who are NOT there!!!!! Sometimes I wish Burke would do stuff like that.....but I also like the fact we can move around financially and physically....bloodin/bloodout

  39. Rocky """"With the CBA talks ongoing player movement throughout the league is likely to come to a complete halt. A new landscape will emerge and until it becomes apparent what this looks like we can can only recline in out deck chairs and dream about the "monumental" trades we long for Burke to pull off.""""" Oh the voice of reason I posted similar sugs to diff site like NHL Leafs and TSN......all shot down...that's OK but Burke is a lot smarter than most non Leaf fans give him credit for the CBA is the reason he hasn't done season ***32*** million reasons for him to do it his think it's coincidence that most contracts (except for core) are expiring??? We may be average to mediocre again this year but I'll tell you after the next CBA when he get (footing) knows what's up some GMs are going to look like fools.....Parise,Suter,Weber....nuff said!!!!

  40. Rocky...oh and your right the combination of heat/vodka/lack of wait this is Burke we're talking about right???

  41. Anon, while I acknowledge that Burke may well have his eye on next summer, his track record of attracting high-profile players, even when they are UFA's, is just not there.

    Also, while I, on the one hand, applaud his patience and apparent prudence, are Leaf fans expected to wait another year to see roster upgrades because the Leafs will have "cap space"? That's asking a lot, even if some of the hoped-for youngsters pan out.