Could Leafs Land Ryan Getzlaf?

He could be available. But, there will be a fair amount of interest in him and he won’t come cheap.”

That was the opinion of a prominent Western Conference executive when I wondered, this week, whether Anaheim Ducks would trade potential free agent Ryan Getzlaf. Depending on the night, and the person with whom you speak, Leafs’ biggest priority is an established goalie or depth and size at centre. They may need both, though it appears James Reimer is regaining the confidence and poise he had as a rookie two seasons ago. More time is needed to confirm that, but Leafs demand for a big body up the middle is irrefutable.

The addition of a beefy, talented pivot could dramatically influence the Leafs plan of attack. The club has been devoid of a legitimate, No. 1 centre since Mats Sundin left after the 2007-08 season. Without such a commodity, it would appear reasonable for general manager David Nonis to consider moving Phil Kessel before the NHL trade deadline this year. If Leafs were to land such an imposing presence as Getzlaf, hanging on to Kessel – and his finishing touch – would make a great deal more sense.

Question is, of course, how could the Leafs acquire Getzlaf and under what condition would it be worthwhile? Anaheim GM Bob Murray has made it known he’d like to retain Getzlaf, but the Ducks are also at risk of losing Corey Perry to free agency at the end of this season. Beyond the financial implication, locking up both on multi-year contracts may not be feasible, given that Anaheim has accomplished virtually nothing since winning the Stanley Cup in 2007 (twice missing the playoffs and only once advancing beyond the opening round). If Murray is left with a choice, retaining Perry – the Hart Trophy recipient in 2010-11 – would seem to be a priority.