In Toronto, it’s Burke’s move
It took until last week, four-plus months into the season, but the Maple Leafs finally had their projected A-list roster on the ice last week when Colby Armstrong and John-Michael Liles made it into the lineup. Now we’ll see what GM Brian Burke can pick off prior to the deadline to avoid the franchise’s seventh straight DNQ. Keep in mind, he has added skilled forwards (Phil Kessel, Joffrey Lupul) and a Robocop defenseman (Dion Phaneuf). The missing piece is the power forward. Which probably makes Anaheim’s Bobby Ryan No. 1 on Burke’s checklist. And maybe Corey Perry No. 1A.
A play for either one would mean a package involving both Nazem Kadri and ex-Boston prospect Joe Colborne and then whatever roster talent the Leafs can sacrifice while keeping the acquisition worth the bother. The bet here is that Kessel or Mikhail Grabovski would be Anaheim’s asking price. Trouble is, Grabovski is on target for UFA on July 1, while Kessel still has two years left at a $5.4 million average. Kessel looks to be the key piece.