A Look Ahead – Trade Deadline 2010

Yes, it is still the summer, and the last thing anyone wants to think about is February, but who can resist some Toronto Maple Leaf trade speculation? Yesterdays move has brought in some mixed views from all Leaf fans. I feel that although Stralman has some top 4 potential, he was likely never to reach that in Toronto’s suddenly deep blueline. The return of that trade made me start thinking about the trade deadline and some possible moves. I am not going to predict any specifics, but the Leafs have 10 players entering UFA status at the end of next year, so assuming the Leafs are sellers some of them should be gone. Burke has said that his goal is to make the playoffs, I dont think he feels that any small move will get this team to 8th spot, or else he would be making them. Anyways, assuming the Leafs finish roughly where they did last year they will be sellers at the deadline. Here is a list of Leafs going into UFA status next year.

Lee Stempniak
Alexei Ponikarovsky
Wayne Primeau
Jamal Mayers
Rickard Wallin
John Mitchell

Mike Van Ryn
Garnett Exelby
Jonas Frogren

Vesa Toskala

None of those guys, except maybe Toskala, represent any piece that could put a team over the top. However they could bring in piles of 2nd and 3rd rounders for the draft. Now, if Toskala loses his job to Gustovsson, then we may see something similar to what happened with Huet and Price in Montreal a few years back. Toskala would be flipped to a team which has hopes of the playoffs, but is struggling in net, which would usually have them standing in the 5th place to 10th place. Some potential candidates for that trade would be, Philly(should Emery not return to form), Edmonton (the Bulin wall has a nasty habit of only performing top notch goal tending on his contract year), Los Angeles (They may not be in the running for the Playoffs, but if they are, they will certainly be on the market for a Goalie), and Colarado(Since the playoffs are a huge stretch for the Aves, acquiring Toskala would be so they could resign him). The only situation which would involve the Leafs trading Toskala, would be if Gustovsson played similar to the way Price played in his rookie year…really well. Although Gustavsson may not be as talented as price he does have the advantage of having one of the best bluelines in the Eastern conference guarding his crease. So a trade for Toskala would likely bring back, a high pick (1st or 2nd, depending on how many teams are on the market) and a 4th or 5th.

The rest of the guys who could be available would bring back roughly what Antropov brought back last year. Stempniak could bring back a 3rd, maybe a 2nd, depending on his production. If Ponikarovsky has another 60 point year, he could bring back a 2nd and a 4th, Mayers and Primeau could each bring 3rds. Wallin is unlikely to be traded because Burke just brought him in, but if he produces similar to what Dominic Moore did and the right deal comes along, he could be dealt.

As for the D, only one, possibly non of the guys going into contract years will play. If the final pairing has White and Finger than non of the guys going into UFA status will play, White could very well be available though. Assuming that Finger, Van Ryn and Exelby rotate the 6th spot throughout the year, a team with defensive deficiencies could aquire one of them, and White could be sent to another team. So maybe Van Ryn is traded for a 2nd or 3rd, and White is traded for a 2nd.

I know that all of those trades happening would probably set some sort of trade deadline record as most trades by one team, but I dont think the returns are outlandish. Just for fun, this is what the Leafs picks would look like in the 2010 draft.

1st
1st/2nd(as I said, this would be for Toskala, and it would depend on the goalie market)
2nd
2nd
2nd
2nd
2nd
3rd
3rd
3rd
4th
4th
4th

The Leafs original 2nd is in Montreal because of the Grabovski trade. If all those trades went through, the Leafs would pick 7 times within the top 60. Now I realize that it is next to impossible for all of those trades to go through, and not all would be for 2010, but if they could get 2 or 3 extra 2nd rounders I would be very pleased.