Cox: Maple Leafs have big moves in mind

Over the next two weeks, the Maple Leafs hope to enhance their roster substantially, thus increasing the chances the club’s absence from post-season play will be halted at a rather ugly seven years.

See, that’s one way to get people to stop talking about the club’s 43-year Stanley Cup drought. Start a new sub-drought of even more dubious distinction.

Not surprisingly, given that he has signed all kinds of free agents over the past 16 months and made the two of the NHL’s biggest trades of last season to bring Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf into the fold, president/GM Brian Burke has some extensive hopes and dreams for the next two weeks, a fortnight bisected by the NHL entry draft next Friday and Saturday in Los Angeles.

The draft, of course, opens the Tomas Kaberle trade window. But it would be a mistake to say that a Kaberle trade is all that occupies the Leaf front office.

Unofficially, it’s believed the Leafs have targeted a least three players, and the potential acquisition of some or all of that trio are intertwined with Kaberle’s future.

For starters, Nashville defenceman Dan Hamhuis is a player headed for free agency who the Leafs would very much like to sign.

Second, with everyone in hockey well aware that the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks are going to have to make some difficult roster decisions to get their salary cap situation in order for next season, the Leafs are one of a number of teams eyeballing forward Patrick Sharp .

Finally, there’s Florida winger Nathan Horton , a player who most believe will be wearing a different uniform next season. Horton , a former 30-goal scorer whose production has progressively deteriorated over the first three years of his six-year, $24 million deal, has a no-trade clause that kicks in July 1 and is likely the critical issue hastening his way out of south Florida.

Out of the three players that particularly interest the Leafs, the 27-year-old Hamhuis would be the name that surprises some. Annually, it seems, there’s this belief that the Leafs have enough or even too many defencemen, a belief at odds with the club’s absurdly bad defensive record the past two seasons.

More to the point, while the Leafs might like it if there were top forwards available via free agency, pickings are slim, and smart clubs look to add assets even if they don’t necessarily address key needs. Hamhuis is a stay-at-home blueliner used to playing upwards of 20 minutes per game and would give the Leafs flexibility to move Kaberle or even other defencemen they already own.–cox-maple-leafs-have-big-moves-in-mind

22 Responses to Cox: Maple Leafs have big moves in mind

  1. Kramer says:

    This is gonna go down as the summer of big trades. The Leafs are gonna make at least 3 big trades. You heard it from Kramer first.

  2. reinjosh says:

    Hamhuis might be out of the picture. Parent for him and a conditional pick? Thats a steep price. Granted Parent is an RFA. Might be enough to convince him that Philly really wants him. Still, I wouldn't mind if he said no and sighed with the leafs. It would allow us to trade Beauchemin. Granted it would be fine if he didn't sign.

    On another note, this is another move that I think signals bigger things for Nashville. They are absolutely loaded on defense now. Weber and Suter are the mainstays. Signing Bouillon plus they have Klein and Sulzer already inked and Franson, Grebeshkov and now Parent as RFA's. That not too mention the talent they have waiting in the system with Blum already near NHL ready. They are just overloaded at defense. This could present them with a golden oppurtunity to ice a very underrated defense but also use the spare pieces to go after an offensive guy to headline for them. Like Bobby Ryan or James Neal or hell, even Spezza. They have the assets, they need to use them.

  3. duchene_9_avs says:

    OMG every where I look (,, all I see is how "Leafs to Make a few splashess" or "Maple Leafs have big moves in mind" and all I can say is …. really Maple Leafs REALLY!!!!

    Ok tell me this leafs fans…. HOW!!!  ….. what players on your roster do you have, that a team like a Chicago or Florida would even be intrested in.. ohhhhh right Kaberle and his 4.5 million dollar contract … say you do trade him, you'll have to take on a player with a simillure contract back…. maybe a player like Sharp but I don't see it happening ….. Chicago isn't gonna take on contracts… they would rather take on GOOD prospects and HIGH draft picks… and well Leafs that pretty much rules you out LMAO!! They want to dump salary but in the same time get something in return, plus they don't need a defense man… they have a top defense core already.

    Now to Nathan Horton….. and I wonder why…. look at the past three stanley cup winners and what do they all have in common….. they are all solid down the middle, three center man deep … when ever we hear about trade rumors with the leafs, it's always for wingers… sure sharp plays a little center but his true position is wing …… you have to get good and deep at the center position or it's gonna be a while before you ever when the cup.

    But I get it though ….. Burkie (overrated) hasn't put you guys in a good position ever since he got there….  he has always said "rebuilding a team you  must start from the back end and work out"… really burkie really … cuz i look around the league and Chicago,Detroit,Colorado,Philadelphia,Washington haven't done that…. I don't understand how he thinks he can rebuild a contending team though trades and free agents…. were the logical answer is through the draft… A year were you could have had a potential superstar instead trade for a player that will never reach his full potential without a true center  ( back to my center position theory)…. Then I hear how Burkie did such a great job with the Vancouver , yeah have they won lately or even made it to the conference finals….. what about the ducks ….. common without neidemyer and pronger, they wouldn't have won, plus they've haven't been on top since pronger left …..

    Well I guess i just don't get these rumors …. cuz honestly I don't see the leafs doing much of anything this off season … oh yeah they might do a kaberle trade … i see that happening …. but trades for Sharp or any other black hawk … naw ….  sorry but i don't see it … i don't wanna bash on the Leafs but i'm tired of how every off season has become "The Summer of the Leafs"

  4. reinjosh says:

    Shy don't you wait till after the offseason to go onto a rant. Its not like Burke hasn't impresses in his first offseason with the Leafs. If he does it again, then the "Leafs Summer" people weren't wrong. If he does nothing then you get to gloat and rant.

    Burke is trickier than people give him credit. Give him some time.

  5. casevo17leafs says:

    how can u say those teams didnt rebuild with defense. chicago has keith,seabrook, campbell(mistake), detroit has lidstrom,rafalski and philly wouldnt have done anything without adding pronger………..look what having weak defense did to washington in the playoffs and even though the avs made the playoffs they are still rebuilding

  6. colin_leafsforever says:

    Summer of the Leafs? Give me a break dude, please!
    Most teams are tinkering and the Leafs are right in there.
    You should give yourself a break and do the World Cup if you don't like hockey news these days.
    Negative, negative. And your blunder on the fact that the tops teams in hockey haven't put their defenses together is silly.
    And about Burke's Vancouver team, of course he grabbed both the Sedins in the draft but that move doesn't matter anymore?
    He got Phaneuf for players I can't believe he got him for, but I wish we still had Ian White for the 5-6 d-man role.
    And of course the Hawks are looking for futures, every team has a best case scenario! Kaberle for sharp probably not but they still need to dump somebody expensive, and i bet Burke is in there like a dog, sniffin around.
    I bet you'll be one of the ones who eats their words with what will be happening with this team in one and two years.
    Burke will improve this team and we are excitedly watching it unfold.
    Always remember, he's a bigtime GM, he has a good reputation, he has succeeded in being successful in building two teams that are competitive and he wants to make the Leafs a nasty team to play against.
    He will do that. Give it one or two years and then you can jump on the bandwagon there buddy.

  7. colin_leafsforever says:

    And furthermore, he has somewhere around 12 million to spend right now, um, duh? There is going to be some players coming in. It's going to be good.
    And even if he's quiet, and he doesn't trade Kaberle, we will be a good team next year with what he gets done. He's just a good GM, and he's done well so far, we have to see the impact of moves before we can judge them. I disagree about all the Kessel trade crap thrown at him, he got a proven scorer who is 22 and he's signed for five years, the expectation is 40 goals a year, maybe fifty once or twice, and Kessel is still developing, um, because he's young.
    And so will Hall and Seguin, it'll be three of four years before those guys hit their pro stride.
    You can lament trades before they really show themselves, or you can just plainly see the risk involved of making any move at all.
    Burke takes risks, GM's must.
    So don't think you have all the answers, because you don't. This team is getting better, be positive or cheer for the Sens or something.

  8. colin_leafsforever says:

    I agree they need a 1st line center though, 1st line left wing as well. We shall see.

  9. leafy says:

    As we enter the final week before the draft, I'll just say that I'm hoping and praying Burkie baby doesn't do anything stupid like trade Luke Schenn.

  10. gregmash_Leafs says:

    Thank you so much! That comment the Leaf basher made was ridiculous and you hit the nail on the hammer.

  11. duchene_9_avs says:

    I just don't think Burkie is the answer …. because two years ago you could have had scottie bowman as your president of hockey operations …. all it took was a phone call from the leafsw owner …. and look how good he's doing in chicago…. i have no doubt that the leafs will make the playoffs… but them winning the stanley cup is reaching it ….. it just seems to me that they're rushing the rebuilding phase because the city is so desperate for a winner … when they should be rebuilding within  the draft ….. i'm an avalanche fan, i'll tell ya right now that i had no idea that my team would play the why they did…. i thought for sure we would have one of the top two picks in the draft this year (which honestly would have been great)….. my point is, that you never know how a couple good draft picks can turn a franchise around …. and by the way i WON'T be jumping on any leaf bandwagon any time soon!!!!

  12. Kyleton says:

    Name the top 3 D-men on each of those teams you listed.

    After that tell me why you list two teams that dropped off in success after Burke left (Vancouver being two GM's removed now) as an argument that he is a bad GM.  You say without Neidermyer or Pronger the ducks would never have one, but it was Burke that brought them in via Free Agency and Trade, and both were defense (built with back end out)

    Right now you are looking at the last two cup winners and seeing the Crosby's, Kanes, Malkins etc and thinking that's why you need to win a cup now because thats all that was talked about in the media this year. Another truth about those two teams is that they sucked for a very long time to get to those players year after year. Some GM's don't build that way. Detroit won 2008(not with a team of recent top five picks, ducks won 2007 not with a team full of recent top 5 picks, Carolina, Tampa and the list goes on.

    Here is the truth. Burke has looked into every one of these guys in one way shape or form. Will he get them all? Not a chance, but he is doing his job by looking at all options. 

  13. Kev_Leafs says:

    Unlike most teams in the NHL, the Leafs don't need anyone on the bandwagon.  There's more than enough fans in the stands already. 

  14. reinjosh says:

    Or you could do it the faster way and do away with the retarded idea of sucking it up for years. I might add that sucking for years doesn't always work. Look to NYI, Tampa, Columbus, Florida. Get real bud. Burke has already made a cup winner in Anaheim and he has the starting pieces to another. Yes he has a lot of work, but thats why he was brought it.

  15. gregmash_Leafs says:

    The hawks want prospects not roster players and the Leafs actually have plenty of prospects. And as for the the good teams not building from the back end and work out I don't think you know much buddy if you think that.

  16. duchene_9_avs says:

    Hey buddy… right like you know more … ahhahaha ….. keep thinking in a loser way like your pathetic hockey team …… your not gonna win a cup without A top 1 and 2 center man ………. Sakic/Forsburg, Yzerman/Federov, Crosby/Malkin/Stall, Zetterburg/Datysuke,

    Luke Scheen has yet to reach his potential, if anything took to steps back last year ….. and Dion has took at least 5 steps back since first season.. and you plan on trading away your best defense man …. you over payed for fingure ….. Komisarke can't stay out of the penteldy box, that's when he's not injured….. Beauchemin is going on 31…. Exelby , well yeah thats enough said right there  ….sure the leafs have prospects but are they ready for the nhl…. are they 20 goal scores like a chris stewart, bobby ryan, matt duchene …. no not close… more like third and fourth line prospects …….

    dont give me that crap that i dont know what im saying …… I know perfectly clear, it's you leaf fans that are so blind that it's laughable…. how is it gonna be next year when you miss the playoffs again….. you gonna blame it on wilson …. yeah cuz he's the problem ,,,,

  17. LeafsneedSteen says:

    Who the *@!# are the Avalanche?

  18. duchene_9_avs says:

    oh the team thats won more stanley cups then the leafs the last 40 years …. hahahahhahahahahahhahahahah ….. fag

  19. duchene_9_avs says:

    LEAFS SUCK!!!!

  20. LeafsneedSteen says:


  21. LeafsneedSteen says:


  22. NonLeafFansAreGay says:

    lmfao the avs are the crappiest team around.

    and they are located in the crappiest city

    denver HAHAHA

    who would want to live in that sh*thole

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