Leafs Looking At their Options!

The Leafs are tied with the Avs for first place overall. They are doing this without four of their best players. Rumors are swirling around this team, and players like Jeff O’Neil, Roman Hamerlik, Janne Ninamma, and Sergi Gonchar are being linked are said to be potential targets for the Leafs. And then there’s the media…. The Leafs will probably be very careful this year. They want to spend their money the right way. The lockout is looming a head, and the Leafs will likely stick to their off-season strategy: Spending the money wisely. After all, they have made the best pick up of the off-season (Ken Klee). Don’t get me wrong, they will spend some money, but don’t expect them to go after Jagr and Fedorov (should he become available). Defense tops the Leafs wishing list, and there’s plenty of it on the market. The Leafs will also like to add another scoring forward as 3 of their top guns are on the IL. Mogliny and Nolan are expected back soon, but Tucker is out indefinitely. Let’s take a look at players the Leafs might be interested in:

1. Sergei Gonchar: The Leafs have been interested in the 29-year old defenseman for some time. Gonchar is one of the best offensive defensemen in the league. The Russian defenseman has 5 goals, 38 assists, and 43 points in 48 games played this season. He is -22 this season. His offensive stats have been improving every year since the 1997-98 season. He collected 67 points last year. Although the Leafs are looking for defensive minded defenseman, the addition of Gonchar would mean that the Leafs will finally have a true No.1 defenseman on their blue line. Gonchar’s current salary seems to be a bargain compared to the stats that he is putting up, but he is eligible for arbitration this summer. He is making $3.65 million this season. Word has it that the Leafs have been interested in him since September.

Possibility: There’s a good chance that this might happen. The Leafs have a great chance of winning the Cup this year, and they won’t waste it.

Price: Karel Pilar, Nik Antropov, and a high draft pick.

Jeff O’Neill: The 27-year old center has been struggling greatly this season. He has 10 goals, 17 assists, and 27 points for the Hurricanes this season. He is -10 this season. The Ontario native has reached the 60 point total the past three seasons, and has scored at least 30 goals in each of them. But the Canes have decided to rebuild, and have sent away a lot of talent. O’Neill has been playing much better lately. O’Neill adds a lot of grit to any team that acquires him. He is also very young. His contract expires at the end of the season, and is eligible for arbitration. He is making something around $3.50 million.

Possibility: Newspapers in Toronto persist that the Leafs are very much in the running for O’Neill. The Tucker injury makes the possibility even more real.

Price: A prospect and a draft pick.

Roman Hamrlik: Hamrlik, 29, is another offensive minded defenseman. He has scored only one goal, and has added 14 assists. He is +5 this season. He is more physical than Gonchar, but Gonchar is much better offensively. Hamrlik had 41 points last year. He was acquired by the Islanders from the Oilers for Eric Brewer, Josh Green and a draft pick in 2000. He has become the Islander’s No.1 defenseman.

Possibility: Highly unlikely! The Islanders wouldn’t trade with their Conference rivals, espically when they are in the playoff race.

Price: Berg + Prospect / high draft pick

4. Brett Hedican: The 33-year old defenseman is very physical. His speed is extremely underrated. He has 2 goals and 9 assists for the Hurricanes this season. He is a -1 on the season. He has slowly become one of the league’s best defenseman. His stats have decreased ever since he joined the Hurricanes in the 2001-02 season. He has also played for the Panthers, Canucks, and the Blues. He was signed by the Hurricanes to a six-year deal is 2002.

Possibility: Very slim as he has 3+ years on his contract.

*Price: Berg + Prospect + Draft Pick

* The Canes would have to pay part of he money that Hedican is owed.

Glen Wesley: The 35-year old defenseman has been known for the accuracy of both his wrist shot and his slap shot. He has been a key fixture of the Hurricane power play. Most of his offensive skills have diminished (only 5 assists this year), but he has developed the physical aspect of his game. He is one of the better defensive minded defenseman in the league. He would be a solid addition to an team. He was the Leafs’ best defenseman in last year’s playoffs. He was the only one who showed up to Game 7 of the first round playoff series against the Flyers.

Possibility: A lot of teams would like to obtain the veteran defenseman so I can’t really predict which team is the front runner.

Price: 3rd round draft pick.

* The price that I have put in is not necessarily right. It just means how much talent the Leafs GM has to give up obtaining the player.

I’m sure that John Ferguson Jr. is looking at some other players, but the players I have mentioned have been linked to the Leafs for some time now. I just hope that the Leafs will be able to keep up the pace with Sens and the Flyers, and end that dreadful curse.

109 Responses to Leafs Looking At their Options!

  1. nocuphere says:

    Notice how noone replied to your comment. Well at least you shut a few of them up.

  2. Lint07 says:

    ok I’ll try and answer the 3 of you in one reply.

    -Yes, people can be harsh on Leafs fans sometimes, I noticed it myself and even though you guys don’t help yourself sometimes (make up some moronic trade rumors) I can understand what you feel about it.

    -Yes the Leafs are buyers at the deadline this year, and don’t get me wrong, they’ll most probably end up by acquiring a big name (hopefully for you guys a d-men). The only thing though, don’t expect guys like Antropov and Colaiacovo to not be part of any deal. Teams who are sellers will be after your best young talent for sure. Forget about Renberg and Reichel.

    – The Jagr trade is an EXCEPTION. So is Jagr. NO players in the league are paid 45M$ for the next upcoming years and the Rangers were ALONE in the Jagr derby. Don’t expect the Leafs to be alone for guys like Bondra, Gonchar, O’neill, Hamrlik, Zhamnov, etc. There are so much buyers and so little seller in the defensemen market this year that expect defensemen price to go (in some deals) unreasonably up.

    -I personnaly think that what some people don’t like is the fact that most Leafs fans usually think that when a guy becomes useless to the team they can trade him for almost anybody. It doesen’t work like this. If you and me are able to tell by watching the game on tv that this or this guy is useless to the Leafs don’t you think that other teams scouts, paid to assist games in other arenas didn’t already figured it out?

    Bottom line: Renberg and Reichel will not be the centerpiece of any significant trade. Unless they find an avergae player, the Leafs will be in a line of bidders for almost every available players on the market this year. This is the last year before the possible lockout, and don’t forget that most of the contenders will do whatever they can to have one last good shot at the cup. Teams like Colorado, Philadelphia, Detroit, Ottawa and NYRangers will be very aggressive in the trade department.

  3. nocuphere says:

    But teams come deadline time, and every gm knows this, are going to be forced to get rid of some of these names before the deadline. Teams aren’t going to want to part with prospects, and will hold off and hold off as long as they can until the pressure from ownership forces the gm’s hand to unload salary without the compensation they were looking for. This is where the leafs have an advantage. They have the means to step in and take on a contract or two. Odds are they’ll have to give up something, possibly an antropov, but eating the remaining salary on the guy they pick up will be the selling point.

    Sure other teams are buyers too, but there will be many big contracts available at the deadline. With only a select few teams able to take on these contracts, ie. New York, Detroit, Colorado, Philly, Jersey, St. Lou. They won’t have to give up much to get them.

    Come the deadline when these teams still haven’t found a taker for their high contract players they will be forced to let them go cheaper. These GM’s are going to desperate. They’ll have pressure from the owners to get rid of these salaries.

    I’ll agree that most of the leaf rumors are far fetched, but not totally unrealistic. The names that some are throwing out ie. Renberg or Reichel are far-fetched, but the notion that they could could pick up a big named player for nothing isn’t.

  4. chanman says:

    I do not sleep on the street and i would never buy a leafs ticket. I have a job and am not a bum.

    do you think you are a ‘fan’? I think you are a sorry phycopath with a distorted view. and you have my pity.

    (go buffalo)


    Poor leaf fan.

  5. habs_punk says:

    berg having a career year doesnt really impress me too much, pilar, ok, but not gonna get a star player for him, hes not that good. whos to say that antropov will light it up after a change of scenery? did lindros light it up when he went to ny? did jagr light it up in washington? did robitaille light it up in any city hes played for other than los angeles? and what problems does my team have? a team that was not even considered a playoff contender has turned out to be a cup contender, yes when you’re within reach of the top place in the conference, i would consider you a cup contender. this team has 2 players at the all star game and one at the young stars game, thats not too bad either. ribeiro is playing like he is capable of playing, zedniks on pace for 25+ goals, koivu’s not having a great season, but not a bad season at all, we’ve got rid of players like czerkawski, audette, and mckay that were doing nothing, traverse and dykhuis are in the minors where they belong, bob gainey has turned this team around without making any trades yet, we have some decent players that can be moved by the deadline to improve or team even more. oh ya, and we have a much better and deeper group of prospects than your aging team.

    so tell me, what problem is that we have right now?

  6. Leafs88 says:

    First of all, the Habs are 9 points out after getting beaten by the Leafs 4-1 at the Bell Center. Second of all, the Habs aren’t Cup contenders because they won’t go past the second round. They have no money to spend on improving their team.

  7. Aetherial says:

    Completely agreed although there are a couple points to add…

    Domi is not bad for an enforcer actually, I can think of wy worse that don’t belong in this league.

    Tucker has been very solid and no more sideshow this year. He honestly has been a big part of their success.

    If they don’t get a hard-hitting, solid d-man they will never get by Philadelphia… unless Philly’s goaltending implodes.

  8. habs_punk says:

    first off, 9 points isnt a whole lot of points to be behind for the conference lead, especially the way this season has gone, any team can get hot at any time and any team can go on a nasty slide at any time

    saying that they arent cup contenders because they wont get past the 2nd round is retarded, i mean did you see this in your crystal ball or something? did you talk to miss cleo about it? how bout i say that the leafs arent contenders because they wont make it past the 1st round? its just as legitimate of a statement as yours.

    and they have no money to spend on improving their team?? lol, you should have a look into the facts before saying dumb things like that, they are not having problems with money, they merely spent it in the wrong places in past years

  9. cgolding says:

    flyers toronto went last year for philly…

    L 6-0

    L 3-0

    W 2-1

    W 3-1

    so… you can look at it two ways. they split the series and were equal teams… OR they got trounced, learned from it and came back to win the last two games of the series, as well as the playoff series… i go with equal teams ONCE they learned how to beat the Leafs after the first two games… so maybe this suggests the regular season did mean something for the flyers? at least when it came to beating the leafs… since they still couldn’t get ottawa.


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