Could the leafs swing a deal for Staal?

On XM radio last night Bill Watters claimed that Jim Rutherford and Brian Burke had a deal in place involving Eric Staal that was on hold because of Brian Burke’s roster freeze. Bill Watters went on to claim that the deal would be completed after the roster freeze was lifted.

This is nonsensical for about twelve reasons, but most notably if Brian Burke has a roster freeze for the holidays he isn’t talking about trading players. No NHL GM is going to agree to a trade and then keep playing the guys he moved for weeks; it’s poor risk management. If Eric Staal gets hurt, despite it being a short term effect on the deal, the trade is likely off.

Bob McKenzie did what an actual media member with access should do and went to the source. He asked Jim Rutherford about a potential Eric Staal trade:

120 Responses to Could the leafs swing a deal for Staal?

  1. LeafsFTW17 says:

    Yeah I'd like to try it but you can't just send Armstrong to the minors, put him on the 4th line with Brown and Steckel.

    I agree with the Dupuis thing, 0 points, played almost every game this year.  Everyone is saying that he brings alot and is great on the PK but when you have the worst PK in the league you can't really compliment a PKer. 

    Those seem pretty balanced and each line brings something. I like it.

  2. reinjosh says:

    There actually hasn't been any conclusive proof linking C.T.E. to fighting. And if I recall it was only Boogard that had C.T.E.

    All I'm saying is maybe its getting made into a much bigger issue than it needs to be. Yes we should be careful bu the way things are going its going overboard. 
  3. LeafsFTW17 says:

    It is alwyas nice if you can get an allstar on your team, he would be great on the first line but I don't see Toronto getting him, sorry.  While saying that, it isn't such a bad thing keeping the team we have.

  4. TheLeafNation91 says:

    Their are many holes, especially with the forwards, that I would fix.

  5. LeafsFTW17 says:

    It also brings in some new holes…

  6. blaze says:

    Because he has skill sets you apparently can't see. He's a good PKer, fantastic at cycling the puck down low, great back checker who has good awareness in the defensive zone, a dependable vet Ronnie can trust in his end. The guy is a two-way third liner who kill penalties and plays a cycle game to help keep the puck in the offensive zone. Not much creativity or hands but is good down low around the net digging for loose pucks and rebounds.

    Dupuis is similar though not as solid as Army. Zero points is unfortunate, but he thinks an NHL game. Little things like being in position, getting pucks deep, make safe simple dependable plays that a coach can trust until a scoring line is back on. People forget there are many roles on a team to be filled, you can't just run 4 lines of guys who can shoot the puck.

    When the 4th line goes on you don't measure their success by if they potted a goal. You measure it by did they keep momentum in your teams favor, did they get pucks deep and for their 30-45 second shift did they tire the opponent by forcing them to take hits and play defense deep in there end. Though Dupuis may not have played as good as he should, when Dupuis comes off little things happen like the line not being able to successfully cycle, so their forecheck becomes ineffective. I know everyone thinks NHL coaches have no idea what they're doing.

  7. blaze says:

    A comment like 'we'd have a much more balanced team with Kadri instead of Armstrong' makes very little sense to me.

  8. LeafsFTW17 says:

    He was harsh on Armstrong but with the leafs running 3 lines that should score, Armstrong is going to struggle.  Kadri can play an offensive game and I think he should be given the oppertunity in the leafs new system instead of being put into a 3rd line that was focused on defense and no offense. 
    Ron Wilson said he wants his 4th line to be playing atleast 10mins a game and I think Brown/Dupuis/Crabb – Steckel – Armstrong can do that well. 

    Army is an important part of the team but isn't needed for his offensive game even though he can bring it to a certain extent, Kadri has that offense to bring.

    I just think it should be given a shot.

  9. TheLeafNation91 says:

    I woud rather have Kadri as well, but I gotta disagree with something.

    You said Armstrong is a solid PKer. I find that hard to believe when the PK is/has been the worst in the league. There are no good PKers on this team.
    Blame it on coaching all you want, but when guys cannot clear a puck down the ice like most players are taught to do an early age, how can you really blame the coaches for that?

  10. TheLeafNation91 says:

    Would rather bring up Mueller first. To go with Connolly and MacArthur, you need a power forward/big body player to go with it.

    Mueller has that size as Kadri does not. Mueller is a very fast skater and has solid hands as well.

    Does not make sense as a third-line player IMO.

  11. TheLeafNation91 says:

    Just a converstion with theroomies tonight, want to know your opinion.

    What is your favorite U2 song (if you like them)?

    Thet thought mine was odd ahah.

  12. Steven_Leafs says:

    I think your wrong there, we have a lot of depth forwards that can come in and fill the 1 or 2 holes left on the forwards position (it would only be 2 holes if we traded 3 forwards on our NHL roster, which is doubtful). Staal is a huge upgrade to our team, we need a strong, skilled centerman to lead this team, Kessel has speed, skill, and one hell of a shot, Staal has speed, skill, strength, and one hell of a pass…. seems perfect for us.

    Even if we trade our 3 best forwards to get Staal (with the exception of Kessel of course) then we would lose Lupul, Connolly, and Grabovski (I didn't include Bozak because I think his production is a by-product of playing on the first line, feel free to exchange Bozak for Connolly or Grabovski though if you want), here is our new line-up:

    MacArthur – Staal – Kessel
    Kulemin – Bozak – Frattin
    Lombardi – Colborne – Armstrong
    Dupuis – Steckel – Brown

    extras: Crabb, Orr, Rosehill, Kadri

    If Colborne is sent to the minors, Lombardi moves to center and Crabb or Rosehill replaces him or Steckel just moves up, Bozak, Colborne, and Lombardi can fight for that no.2 center position, Kadri can also fight for a spot. Not a bad team here, and this is assuming we don't go out and trade one of our defense for Brassard or Gagner or whatever to play 2nd line.

    And I'm almost positive we can pull of a trade for Staal without sending Lupul, giving us a huge first line.

  13. blaze says:

    ya might as well ask me what my favorite Nickelback song is

  14. TheLeafNation91 says:

    Okay, do not go that far.

    We just went through old groups and seemed to argue the most on U2 lol.

  15. blaze says:

    So let me get this straight with you guys. A team with a potent offense (6th in G/G) a lethal PP (3rd), strong in 5-on-5 play (10th) and an abyssmal PK (30th). The plan is dump probably our best PK winger, for Kadri a defensive liability (for now) and PP player who will see zero time on the PK. That's actually the plan?

  16. TheLeafNation91 says:

    I completely agree with you.

    Except for that whole PK thing lol.

    I will make a prediction. If the Leafs do not get into the top-15 in PK percentage this season…They will NOT make the playoffs.

    Kadri is not suited for bottom-six positions. His skill wise is not fit for it.

  17. blaze says:

    Armstrong is I would say the leafs best penalty killing winger. Keep in mind he's been out most of this season so the horrible PK is no indicator of his skills. It's kinda silly anyways to think that Armstrong could single handled save the PK. Honestly watching last night, I actually thought that on the PK only Komisarek might've looked better.

    It's hard to exactly pinpoint why the PK is so bad again this year. I know for a lot of you it's easy, Ron Wilson. But still it's painfully obvious PK is the Leafs achilles heel, so you know they're spending lots of time on it with still no results.

    They had a good little run on the PK back in October and it looked like the system was fine, but since then no one seems on the same page. Schenn and Gardiner have had some growing pains lately on the PK. We're down our face-off ace. Since Steckel broke his finger his win% is the lowest on the team. And maybe it's more a result of the PK in front of him, but Reimer doesn't seem as sharp on the PK. It seems like his lateral mobility is good  for making down low saves, but his hands seems slow up high.

    I don't know I'm not a goalie. It's hard to explain how it can be that shitty, seriously Ronnie 30th again. Really if the PK was average or better, the Leafs would be a solid team.

  18. TheLeafNation91 says:

    Centers also makes players around them better.

    You can hide lousy wingers. The list includes Pittsburgh (Before Neal, etc.), but teams have shown you cannot win with only great wingers:

    – Washington (Before Backstrom)
    – Columbus (Rick Nash has never had a top-line C to play with)
    – Calgary (Still looking for that center for Iginla)
    – Rangers (Great now with Brad Richards)

    I see no other available options that will get Toronto that C but Eric Staal. Unless, if COlorado decides to shop Paul Stastny.

  19. reinjosh says:

    I'm not sure Mueller is the right option for that third line spot but that's just because of a lack of seeing his defensive game. 

    But I agree, no reason to bring up Kadri for tht spot. Better to give him top 6 time in the AHL than bottom 6 in the NHL. I'm not being facetious either haha
  20. TheLeafNation91 says:

    Yeah, I know you have a thing for him, but I would still 100% try to trade him for a top-line Center if I can.

    That's what Burke has done…Our prospect pool is so deep that we can trade him for a top-line Center.

    Though he is one of the highest ranked prospects, one of the projects should work out and become a top-six forward. Theirs only six top-six positions.

    I think Kessel has guaranteed one in the future, I think Kulemin (Even though he sucks and I hate him…I still cannot let go for some reason) and I think Lupul's play and career (when healthy) makes him a top-six forward for the Leafs. Lupul was a top-pick…I think you're starting to see that now.

    This makes three more-spots available. I honestly think Colborne might be near untouchable for the Leafs right now as I think he can be your prototypical second-line center on a winning team. They would also like to keep him for the fact he came from Boston in that Kaberle deal. Also, I think Frattin is regarded high in the Leafs organization…And he should be, for a rookie season, he has showed great potential and play that the Leafs have not seen in a rookie in a long time.

    This makes three 2 spots available. And to me, makes, forward wise…Kadri, Grabovski, MacArthur, Armstrong, Lombardi, Bozak, Connolly expendable.

    If you can deal them, a 1st and maybe one great defensive prospect (including Schenn) for a top-line center…Like Staal. Then that's another hole you plug up.

    In two years…A top-six line of:


    A great mix of skill, scoring prowess, and grit.

    Your third-line could consist of:


    And your last-line of:

    Brown-Steckel- Armstrong

    This lineup can and should win championships. Great mix of offensive-defensive players, grit and any lineup you need to win a championship.

    Might be in dream land…But it is great you got to admit.

  21. senators_choke says:

    You're gonna get mad, but I think Armstrong is the most over-rated and overpaid Leaf. Now let me have it.

  22. senators_choke says:

    That's almost like asking the best Beatles song. There's many, and depends on the mood.

    But I'm on the older side, so I prefer the older 80's U2 tracks.

  23. TheLeafNation91 says:

    That's what I chose. aha.

  24. TheLeafNation91 says:

    He is…No doubt about it.

    What player whose constantly been on the lower-lines gets paid 3-million. I think he's effective…But for his salary.

    Also, cannot say Armstrong because I would rather eat his contract than Komisarek's.

  25. TmLeafan says:

    Look I understand what Armstrong is supposed to bring to the table like what you said in that first paragraph there I just havent seen it from him this year.

    He hasnt been a particularly good penalty killer either that I have seen.  I believe that Colbourne did a much better job at keeping the puck down low, cycling and grinding out pucks than Armstrong has.  Maybe I was a little bit harsh on him but I also think that Joey Crabb is a better player, he wins more battles down low, has more of an offensive upside and is just as defensively responsible ( although maybe slightly worse on pk).  

    And if you read what the point of the article was is that Connoly's a great player in my opinion and his creativity is going to waste on the 3rd line.  I think that Kadri could do a job there , I like to think he has matured a bit and is able to win battles down low.  I would be open to Mueller as well that makes sense or even just put Crabb on the 3rd and demote Armstrong to the 4th line/pk duties.
  26. blaze says:

    ha take it easy leafy, we can have a conversation. Sure he's over paid a bit but he was a UFA and they get overpaid. Over-rated depends on what you're expecting of him.

    Armstrong is a two-way third line PK guy, who likes to agitate. If you're expecting him to score 15 goals then ya he's over-rated. If you want a dependable vet to take regular PK shifts, draw penalties and have a strong defensive presence then he's your guy overpaid or not.

  27. Steven_Leafs says:

    Sens acquire Turris for Rundblad and a 2nd round pick.

    Definitely a huge risk for Ottawa but no way Phoenix would have moved him for anything less in my opinion. Good for Phoenix to get a very solid prospect and a 2nd from the same team that got Filatov from Columbus for a 3rd.

  28. blaze says:

    You havn't seen it from him this year because he played 8 games. He literally just missed 23 games with a high ankle sprain. Now he doesn't come in and pot 2 goals, or single handledly remedy a traditionally woeful PK right away and you crucify him?

    These players you compare him to have more offensive upside for sure. What they don't have is his veteran defensive prowess. On a team with very little of it, and only a handful of apparently capable PK guys.

    Did you not see the team statistics I posted below? (6th G/G, 3rd PP, 10th 5on5, 30th PK) So with the teams recent slide you think the best way to remedy it is take out one of the few healthy regular PK guys out, and replace him with Kadri. A guy who has yet to actually show production in the NHL, only offensive creativity, is a defensive liability, and is a PP specialist that will take all of zero shifts on the PK.

    So the Leafs achilles heel (PK) gets worse at a shot at possibly boosting scoring, slightly. Don't mean to be rude here, but it's hard to wrap my head around that logic.

  29. reinjosh says:

    Sort of a risk. Rundblad was struggling to make his mark on the NHL roster and with Karlsson, they could afford to trade him. Plus the 2nd isn't a high pick but not a first or anything.

    But yeah Turris is a risk and he might not work out. I'll be interested to see what they do with Spezza now though. Zbad is a top 6 center and if Turris works out, they have three of them. Could actually make Spezza available in the next season and a half…
  30. blaze says:

    I'm suprised Turris still commanded that kind of value, good on Maloney. As for Murray I like this move. Maybe it will work out maybe it won't be either way he's trying.

    I can actually see Turris fitting in nicely behind Spezza and the change of scenery being beneficial to his development. If he ends up more like the Turris we seen in the playoffs last year Murray could end up with a very nice 1-2 in Spezza and Turris.

    Even though they are only a point out of 8th I still am not sold they can finish the year strong. If they could start sliding down the standings and grab a top pick the Sens could really turn things around.

  31. reinjosh says:

    I disagree with you. This team is a bubble playoff team but they are doing as one of the youngest teams in the league. 

    Other than that I agree. You don't turn down Staal because of one off season where his entire team has been shit. Plus he's turning it around. He has 10 points in his last ten games. This year is an anomaly. I agree, it would be stupid to not go after him if he is available.
  32. TmLeafan says:

    I understand what you are saying but I have yet to see a whole lot of defensive prowess from Colby Armstong.  Yea he may have only played 8 games this season but I watched him all of last year and I didn't really see it from him then either.  I think you need to watch him next game and then tell me what he brings to the table because maybe I am being a little harsh but I just don't see it.  He looks slow this year, not a good attribute if you are supposed to be an energy guy. No doubt he is great in the dressing room but he can do that on the 4th line.

    And I'm not saying dump him I am saying put him on the 4th line he can still log pk minutes there.  My main point was to give the 3rd line a little more pop because I think that Connoly is being wasted there.  And you are right about Kadri maybe I am jumping the gun by suggesting calling him up already but the logic behind it is that he has matured since he was last in the big leagues and is more of a total package.
  33. Steven_Leafs says:

    Yeah, it is true that Rundblad was expendable but Ottawa had a lot more depth offensively than defensively. Oh well, I can see why Murray made the trade, he has a chance to get a young top line center on the cheap if Turris turns out, and if he busts then he Murray only gave one young defensive prospect that they have plenty of.

  34. blaze says:

    Armstrong despite putting up very few points on mediocre teams remains a plus or very close to plus player. Teams have a hard time scoring goals when Colby is on the ice. That is what Colby is here to do, be a strong defensive prescence. If all you can see if a players speed then you don't have a great grasp on the game. If you didn't see his defensive prowess last season explain to me, how is Armstrong who puts up only ~20 points a season only -1 on a non-playoffs team loaded full of minus players. The Leafs record with Colby in the line-up is far over .500.

    The point is why does the third line need more pop? How is our offense lagging behind? Connelly remains productive in this temporary role while the Leafs ride Bozaks strong play. What is the benefit of putting in a pure offense guy at the expense of who if Armstrong plays on the 4th. No matter which player you likely pick they are going to be a guy that plays predominantly on the PK. You replace said PKer with a straight offense PP guy, shooting yourself in the foot.

    This is even assuming Kadri can even add offense, which he hasn't yet proven to do so. I'm as high on Kadri as anyone, I love his offensive potential but there's no rush. And I just don't understand the merits or logic in bringing him up now at the expensive of our defensive players.

  35. LeafsFTW17 says:

    I'd love to see Turris and Filatov on a line together, hitting parade for Phaneuf, Schenn, Komisarek, Aulie, Franson in the future =P

  36. TmLeafan says:

    Quite a few players on our team last year had around even plus minus it was not just Colby.  Same can be said when he played for the Thrashers they were around a 500 when he was playing there as well.  I really do not see him as an effective defensive specialist like you are suggesting I am sorry.  And it`s not like I only see speed I said that he has not been good at carrying the play down low either. If we are going to be a playoff team we have to have players that are going to contribute.  Watch him over the next couple of games see if he makes any nice plays defensively or offensively because I have yet to see it.

    Well we will see how Colby plays over the next little while maybe he is as little rusty after the injury and pick it up, I sure hope so.  Its just my opinion that the 3rd line would be better without Colby on it.  
    And as far as our Pk goes LeafsNation was right its not like it can get any worse.  Demoting Dupuis, bringing up Kadri or Mueller putting them on the 3rd line and putting Army on the 4th could work I mean it should definitely be an option down the road if we keep sliding and Army doesnt pick it up.  We would still have Colby-Bozak Connoly-Kulemin Steckel  I do not see the pk getting any worse at all.  
  37. blaze says:

    Yes the PK can get worse. If you take away a PK guy and add a PP guy it will get worse. It can't get lower than 30th but the percentage can keep dropping. Taking Dupuis off the PK and instead of replacing him just put more PK minutes on the other guys will only make them even less effective.

    What on Earth is Kadri going to do to make this team better? Be weaker defensively get very little PP time, zero PK time, and be weak on the puck causing turnovers and dropping the plus minus of Connelly's line. I find it funny you think he suddenly found his man strength to fight in the corners in the last month in the minors.

    The play down low is Armstrongs bread and butter, it doesn't matter if you don't see it, it is. He is one of the Leafs better players at protecting the puck deep. They we're a lot more minuses than pluses last year. Armstrong gets put into a defensive/shutdown/agitator role and still his plus/minus stays quite consistent. You seemingly don't notice things like where guys are positioned on the ice and how to get into passing lanes to break up plays. You still are not explaining how adding offensive rookies to an already potent offensive at the expensive of PKers is anything but a step backwards.

  38. senators_choke says:

    Lots of Vancouver bandwagon jumpers at tonight's game. Where were these pus$ies around 2006?

  39. TheLeafNation91 says:

    I don't care about that…Our season is nearly over, I'm sad/

  40. TheLeafNation91 says:

    This team is too sporadic to make the playoffs.

    Their point lead is done…And our schedule gets tougher this week:

    – We get an LA team who is desperate for a win and has a new coach.

    – We get Pittsburgh. Enough said.

    – We get Buffalo once again who we suck against.

    Not looking good.

  41. senators_choke says:

    Sad but expected. This is the second youngest team in the league. Looking at the big picture, at least we're on the right track.

    But there's lots of work ahead for Burke. Almost every shift of every game, the Leafs cannot sustain pressure in the opponent's zone for more than 5 steamboats.

    Changes are needed at forward. Except for Kessel and Lupul, nobody at forward should be an untouchable.

  42. senators_choke says:

    That last goal by Vancouver is a classic example of why Phaneuf is a good defenceman, but NOT a great defenceman.

    Just watch the play and judge for yourselves.

    I think Phaneuf has played well this year and is the ice time leader. But he is erratic. Admit it Leaf fans.

  43. senators_choke says:


    But there's one wild card here that most people will completely overlook.

    With a young team like the Leafs, there is the potential (and I emphasize potential) that the Leafs could be more mature and better in the second half.

    It happens sometimes with young teams and then people are shocked. Not saying it will happen, but something to look out for.  And right now, it's the only light in the tunnel.

  44. TheLeafNation91 says:


    Kessel-Bozak-Lupul line had all three goals tonight. They were poor defensively tonight, but I think it happened because the team was desperate for goals and I think they sub-conciously know if they don't score…The rest of the team is not going to help.

    The only team that can sustain a forecheck is our top-line…The rest of the forwards giveaway the puck to easily.

  45. TheLeafNation91 says:

    I don't know why he did not dive and knock out the puck…It was a fairly easy play?

  46. TheLeafNation91 says:

    I wonder if Burke's going to make a move.

    Ottawa and Montreal made theirs and I expect others to follow.

  47. senators_choke says:

    Plus he took a completely wrong angle on the play. Instead of skating laterally toward the Canucks forward, all he had to do is skate more diagonally toward his own end and then back up. Beginner's hockey 101.

  48. senators_choke says:

    Yes, agreed on all fronts. I think getting a bona fide number 1 center will solve many of the weaknesses upfront.

    Once you get a number 1, then Bozak becomes a number 2, Connolly or Grabo number 3, etc. The entire team improves.

    For the Leafs to take the next step, I strongly believe they need a stud no. 1 center.

    They eventually need to replace Sundin's loss. They can't go like this forever.

  49. TheLeafNation91 says:

    I think nows the time to look.

    They have tons or prospect depth….Maybe deepest in the league, they just do not have many first round pick gems in there. However, their must atleast be one gem in  that  prospect pool that we do not know about yet….Like Matt Frattin has been thus far.

    Toronto has their picks. They have assets…Use them.

  50. LeafsNation4Ever says:

    Would not trade Turris.

    Would not sign with Coyotes.

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