Thursday, February 18, 2010

Trade Deadline Targets: Toronto Maple Leafs

The vultures have been circling the Leafs for sometime.  Calgary poached a number of the Leafs attractive deadline pieces but Brian Burke has kept their biggest trading chip in Tomas Kaberle.  The Leafs are desperate for a first-round pick in the next two drafts.  Any team willing to deal their first-rounder will have Brian Burke's attention.  The Leafs have established two cornerstones in Kessel and Phaneuf; everyone else should be on the table.

1. Tomas Kaberle (1.062M, UFA 4.25M)- Kaberle is probably the most highly-debated topic in Toronto.  He has a no-movement clause that will be lifted this off-season.  He wants to be a Leaf.  Keep Him or Trade Him.  Reminds me alot of the Mats Sundin/Toronto Saga. Kaberle is a true power play quarterback who's decent enough in his own end not to be considered just a PP specialist.  He gets a bit pass happy but he's one of the best puck-moving defenseman in the NHL.  In a perfect world, the Kings could pair up Kaberle and Doughty and have one of the most lethal power plays in the league.  Unfortunately, I think their asking price will be too high for the Kings to be a real sutior.

2. Alexei Ponikarovsky (UFA 526K)- He's an enigmatic winger who brings size and a scoring touch but his game is marred by untimely penalties and inconsistent play.  Sound familiar?  He's Alexander Frolov Version 2.0.  I'd take him but I'm not getting into a bidding war for this guy.

3. Lee Stempniak (UFA 625K)- At a $2.5M cap hit, Stempniak is being overpaid.  His game has improved this season but he's nowhere near the 27 goals he scored during the 2006-07 season.  He possesses good speed and decent hands.  I'd take him at half his current salary next season.  He could fit on the third-line.

4. Rickard Wallin (UFA 200K)- The Leafs brought him to Toronto in an attempt to lure 'The Monster' out of Sweden.  Wallin's been the most criticized Leafs player this season because of his lack of production.  He was nearly a point-a-game player for Farjestad (SEL) but hasn't showed the same scoring touch as a Leaf.  He's a smart player who can play in all situations.  Could be a nice addition to the Kings bottom-six.

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