Are the Leafs after Brad Richards?

I’ve been told that Nick Kypreos mentioned a Tomas Kaberle for Brad Richards type rumour during the intermission last week. Is there any legitimacy or is it something Kypreos was just throwing out there? Are there any more details available? Would it require a fall in production on the part of the Dallas Stars?

– Bill M.

Put this firmly in the speculation category for now, especially given Tomas Kaberle has been one of the better Leafs defencemen in the early going and still has that no-trade clause we’ve heard so much about.

A few things make this a plausible “rumour” to put out there, however.

One, the Leafs have that much talked about cap space from sending Jeff Finger to the minors, with the ability to add $3.5-million in salary and still fit comfortably under the cap. (Keep in mind that Toronto needs to save a little cap room for call ups should there be injuries and can’t spend every cent of the $4.73-million space.)

Two, Toronto has a desperate need a top flight centre, made worse by a slow start for Tyler Bozak this season. Phil Kessel’s been able to produce a lot of offence without a lot of help so far this season but that may not continue given the tight checking he’s seeing.

And, three, Richards is a pending unrestricted free agent on a Stars team many thought wouldn’t contend for a playoff spot in the West this year. Of the players who will potentially become UFAs next July, Richards is coming off the most productive season (91 points).

The other options on the rental market aren’t nearly as appealing.

That said, the fact that Dallas is off to a 5-2-0 start and may not necessarily be a seller this season is a big strike against any potential deal. Richards has been excellent, too, with 10 points in the seven games, and it’s unlikely a team with a shot at the postseason would deal it’s top centre.

Brian Burke’s statement on AM640 this week that “we’re starting to get some action” has really ignited the trade talk in Toronto, but it’s likely he waits to see how this current group performs over a 20- or 30-game stretch before making a deal. And, when it comes, expect the Leafs to be “helping out” a team in a tight cap situation rather than taking on an expensive pending UFA.

13 Responses to Are the Leafs after Brad Richards?

  1. MystifoLeafs says:

    after someone said the idea of maybe getting the likes of Elias it just reminded me of a article I read about Elias wanting to have the likes of Kaberle in NJD so do you think he would be opened to the idea of being a leaf? and what do you think we would have to give up to be able to acquire him? Where it would be a salary dump think we could get him cheap as well?

    As for the Brad Richards for Kaberle. The progress that Schenn has made has been because of him playing with in my opinion Toronto's best Dman hands down and really I would not want to give him up and hinder his development to just keep kaberle and try to resign him.
  2. reinjosh says:

    Andy Strickland seems to think Backes will push for a similar deal to Bergeron. That said, would you pay Backes 5 million a year?

  3. dumbassdoorman says:

    I love Backes as a player and do NOT think he resigns with the Blues, he is gonna test for sure. I Don't think i would give it to him up front but maybe increasing as it goes along? Not sure he is a true #1 centre, but Burke may offer to over pay him??

  4. leafstime says:

    I told you the Leafs were after Richards. Burke's going after Richards for sure. Everybody laughed but now you see I was right. I was the one who predicted the Phaneuf trade. I know what's going on. Richards to the Leafs will happen.

  5. frankinboltonleafs says:

    I asked a similiar question re: Carter or Richards. I can see us investing in Carter but I think this new Burke era won't see us investing in anyone 30+. I proposed a Wheeler for Caputi/Brent trade but group wisdom, (no sarcasm meant), suggested Caputi…hasn't been able to crack a line-up outright yet…was not worth Wheeler…who's been a top six for two years. Wheeler's knock is that Bruin fans don't like him…kinda like Kessel…kinda makes me want him as a leaf that much more.

  6. frankinboltonleafs says:

    I miss-spoke there maybe. What I meant to say was that some thought Caputi was worth more than Wheeler…just wanted to be clear. In other words…they wouldn't trade Caputi for Wheeler…I would in a heartbeat.

  7. mojo19 says:

    Wheeler is 24, Caputi is still 22. Luca could end up being the better player, and he's a better kid. Wheeler walked away from Phoenix and now Boston is making him expendable.

  8. mojo19 says:

    $19 mil – 4 years / $4.75 hit

  9. reinjosh says:

    Everything about Wheeler is just bad mojo (don't get mad Mojo lol). The guy held out on Phoenix and now he is up for being pushed out of Boston? Not a good sign.

    He is the very essence of a weak and soft player. To be fair though, I understand why you would like him, but I wouldn't even think of giving up Caputi. Plus, with their cap situation, I think he could easily be had for very little. No need to give up a top prospect for a guy who can't crack Boston's top 6 this year.

  10. dumbassdoorman says:

    Ya I am not 100% sold on Wheeler either, for a big man he seems to play kinda soft. That being said for the right price he is worth a gamble. That is if he is even avail? But no I would not give up Luca just yet. LOL….you know everytime i read his name that song pops into my head and i start singing to myself!!!!

  11. Boston_Bruins says:

    Bruins fans don't like Kessel? I think it would be correct to say Bruins fans now don't like Kessel because of that whole situatuion, but when he was here he was very well liked. The dude came back from cancer and put up the most goals in Boston since Glen Murray in his heyday. How could he not be liked? Personally I liked him, but not as much as i liked Krejci, which seemed to be what it came down to in choosing one or the other. The general consensus among B's fans seems to be the same.

    Wheeler is almost universally disliked among Bruin fans while he's still a Bruin, and believe me, there's a reason. We don't just hate a player for no reason.

  12. Leafs_RegimeofBurke_ says:

    i am not mocking you when I ask are you predicting these things superstitiously or is there some kind of source/validity to this 

  13. Leafs_RegimeofBurke_ says:

    if the leafs were to sign this guy for 5 mil or whatever I hope it'd be short term. He hasnt exactly proven himself as a #1 guy yet. that being said, he's a valuable asset

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