Remember the days of having a true bonafide 1st line center, one that was a reliable point per game player or better. Remember the trades that brought in Gilmour, and Sundin. Players that some may consider Franchise players, or pretty close to it, players that were able to carry a team on there backs, and actually make an impact. This is exactly what the Leafs are in need of, Richards is not the answer, here’s the player Burke must target in the off-season.Evgeni Malkin
Evgeni Malkin is the exact type of player that the Leafs should be targeting, he’s capable of being a franchise player, capable of being a Sundin/Gilmour type impact player for the Leafs. He has heart, grit, an awesome skill set, is a big body presence down the middle, and most of all has a winning pedigree.
If the Pens were ever to trade Malkin, I think this coming off-season would be the time. He’s had a rough battle with injuries over the last 2 seasons, his point totals have been declining, even though they are still impressive. The thing is, they are paying him 8 million dollars a year, meanwhile they have Crosby in front of him, Staal at 4 million in back of him. Do the Pens really want to pay 8 million to a player they have playing 2nd line center, when he’s really a 1st liner? They have Staal playing 3rd, when he’s capable of being a 2nd line center at 4 million cheaper. The way I see it, for salary cap reasons, I see the Pens getting rid of Malkin before Staal.
Now you may say, thats stupid, and thats fine, but remember the Pens are constantly in the hunt to get some wingers to play with Crosby. It would be the perfect time in the off-season to clear some cap space by trading Malkin, and in-turn make a run at RFA Parise. What would it take to get Malkin though?
At the age of 24, Malkin won’t come that cheap, however his value does take a bit of a hit, with recent injuries, point reduction, and being in Crosby’s shadow. I think the Leafs could offer the 2 first rounders, one of either Kadri/Colbourne, along with Gardiner. Not written in stone, just a suggestion, may take more, may take less, but none the less, I’d do it in a heart beat. The acquisition of a player of Malkin’s caliber, a chance for him to grab the reigns, become the go to guy of a franchise, play first line minutes night in and night out, would greatly benefit each party.
Let me just touch on Brad Richards. This guy is going to turnout to be the worst offseason signing for whichever team he goes to. He’s going to receive a huge paycheck, for which he is highly undeserving, just as he is now, and I guarantee, once he signs that last big contract of his career, he’ll go back to his usual 60 point production, with -30 every season, along with his 5 hits a season, sub par defensive play. He has no heart, he’s going to most likely sign a contract with the Rangers, become the next Drury/Gomez, he’s not an impact player at all, he had one good post-season run, playing on a highly skilled Tampa team. He got a fat pay raise just for that performance, and what has he done since? He just plays for his paycheck, I really hope Burke stays away from him, not the type of player I think fits the Leafs. Only over 80 points twice in his 9 NHL seasons, 26 goals the most ever scored in a season, highly unimpressive, and unwarranted of an 8 million dollar salary.
Anyways, to sum it up, the Leafs trade 2 first rounders, one of Colbourne/Kadri, along with Gardiner, for Malkin. The Pens receive salary cap relief, a pair of some prospects with a great deal of potential, 2 1st rounders, and a chance to make a run at Parise.
Burke’s offseason additions:
To me, that looks like a contender, a team that will come to play every night, with loads of offense, and a well rounded defense, along with some sound goaltending. The first line, is a real first line, one that the Leafs have been without for quite some time. Reuniting Kulemin with Malkin, would work wonders, and imagine Kessel playing alongside Malkin, all would be very capable of potting 40 goals. Pitkanen brings in a replacement for Kaberle, while Montoya, in my book has never been give a fair chance, until this season, is very capable of becoming a real steal.
Alright, let me know what you think, what would it take to get Malkin, what do you think of the idea?