Major Leafs Update – Burke to make a trade today?

Maple Leafs on the hunt for blueline help

Maple Leafs – What Comes Next?

More Leafs moves to come

Maple Leafs on the hunt for blueline help

The Maple Leafs, still wheeling and dealing a week ahead of the NHL’s trade deadline, are trying to trade for a defenceman in time for Tuesday’s game against the visiting New York Islanders.

They’ll also know in the next few days whether they are likely to keep Clarke MacArthur, the team’s leading scorer, or entertain trade offers for him in advance of the Feb. 28 deadline.

GM Brian Burke, after gamely participating in a question-and-answer session with fans during Family Day at the MasterCard Centre, said he’s been working the phones and firing off emails in an effort to land a blueliner.

“We’ve got couple of things going. I don’t know if anything is going to come of it or not,” sad Burke. “We’re trying to put a player in the lineup that can help us as soon as possible.”

Burke has already said that he is looking to move the third-round pick the Leafs acquired from Philadelphia as part of the package for Kris Versteeg.

While Burke was already shaking the bushes looking for blueline help, another defenceman got hurt at Monday’s practice. A hobbling Brett Lebda had to be helped off the ice after he took a Dion Phaneuf slap shot off the inside of his left leg. He has a bruise and will be evaluated again Tuesday. It’s not thought to be too serious.

Over the last two weeks, the Leafs have traded away defencemen Francois Beauchemin and Tomas Kaberle without receiving an NHL-ready defender back. Keith Aulie stepped up from the minors to admirably fill Beauchemin’s roster spot, but it was Lebda — who has struggled all season, frequently being a healthy scratch — that subbed in for Kaberle.–maple-leafs-on-the-hunt-for-blueline-help

Maple Leafs – What Comes Next?

Toronto has stockpiled a host of draft picks, but one in particular has been singled out as potential trade bait. The Leafs landed a third-round pick in this year’s draft as part of the deal that sent Kris Versteeg to the Philadelphia Flyers last week, and Burke had put it up for sale moments after it had been acquired.

Defenceman Francois Beauchemin was the first player lanced from the roster in Burke’s mid-season operation, shipped to Anaheim on Feb. 9, which prompted a call-up and a re-organization of ice time. Tomas Kaberle was traded to the Boston Bruins on Friday.

Burke said he wanted to add a player by the end of the day Tuesday, but declined to hint at which players or teams held the most interest.

“It’s classified,” he said. “I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.”

He clarified, straight-faced, a moment later.

“I’m not trying to be a smartass — it’s tampering,” he said. “We’ve got a couple things going.”

One of the other things on his schedule this week is a meeting with the representatives for winger Clarke MacArthur. The 25-year-old signed a one-year deal worth US$1.1 million with the Leafs last summer — after his old team, the Atlanta Thrashers, walked away from an arbitration hearing–and he is set to become a restricted free agent this summer.

More Leafs moves to come

The major surgery, as Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke put it, has been done.

But Burke hasn’t sewn up the patient quite yet.

With the National Hockey League trade deadline looming on Monday, Burke has a couple of things to strike off his to-do list. He wants to trade for a defenceman, preferably one who has an offensive bent, and he wants to sign winger Clarke MacArthur, the Leafs’ leading scorer, to a contract extension.

Burke told reporters, after addressing approximately 300 fans during a question-and-answer period at the MasterCardCentre, that his wish was to add a defenceman as soon as possible, and perhaps in time for a home game Tuesday night against the New York Islanders.

As of late Monday night, no trade appeared to be imminent.

“We have a couple of things going, and I don’t know if anything is going to come of it or not,” said Burke, who was swarmed by fans and gladly signed autographs.

“We’re trying to put a player in the lineup to help us soon as possible. Our priority is to add a defenceman.”

Some defencemen who are thought to be available are Dennis Wideman of the Florida Panthers, John-Michael Liles of the Colorado Avalanche and Zach Bogosian of the Atlanta Thrashers, and Burke has at least a third-round pick, acquired from the Philadelphia Flyers, in play. With the way some players involved in deals have caught observers off-guard — see James Neal, Erik Johnson and Chris Stewart — Burke could have something entirely different up his monogrammed sleeve.

His desire to re-sign MacArthur is no secret. Don Meehan, the agent for MacArthur, said on Monday night that he will meet with Burke on Tuesday or Wednesday.

MacArthur has a career-best 45 points in 59 games and is slated to be a restricted free agent after making $1.1-million US this season.

69 Responses to Major Leafs Update – Burke to make a trade today?

  1. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    I believe if he calls up Finger he has to clear re-entry. Believe it or not, I think someone may grab him at half price…then we are stuck with the other half against the cap.
     I still believe it's the only reason Lashoff has not been called up, someone would claim him…Burke doesn't want to lose him. I mean, Lashoff has 26 pts in 58 games and is a plus 9 (second best on the Marlies)…why else hasn't he been called up by a team that is lacking in offense from the defense. If he keeps him in the minors he becomes an RFA instead of gone for nothing.

  2. leafy says:

    Well at least we have one really good line. Now if Burke can somehow land a first line center this summer to play with Kessel, we'll be back in business.

    Yea Komisarek and Lebda spells crap with a capital C.

  3. TheLeafNation91 says:

    It's actually quite comedic because since the lockout ended, all the Leafs cap and signing of players have gone to defence (Komisarek, Gill, Beauchemin, Finger, Kubina, Kaberle, McCabe, Lebda, etc)

    What I really enjoy from Grabovski and Kulemin is both players are also a + player, which is very hard to find in past Leaf teams. So they work at both ends of the ice.

    Also, Grabovski and Kulemin also have Pked this year

  4. LeafsFTW17 says:

    Next year Kadri and Colborne should both make the leafs roster. But where will they fit?

    The leafs will have Bozak and Grabovski who will take up the 2nd line center spot and I'd put Bozak on the 3rd line center spot.
    I like both of those players and don't want to trade either of them.

    So there is the 1st line center spot which I don't think Kadri or Colborne are capable of taking yet. (I could be wrong, they might surprise us)
    And the 4th line center spot which I don't think is fair to deprive either of those talented players with. If they arent getting 15 mins a game they should play with the marlies.

    Now there is all this trade talk in getting B Schenn. (which I would love)
    How can the Leafs get all of those in.. Especially if they sign Richards too.

    Kadri and Colborne can't be minor league players forever but they might not get the best chance at playing on the leafs roster…
    They have to go through Grabovski, Bozak, Brent and Boyce. They also have to prove that they can be top 9 centers.

    So should the leafs trade one or two of their current centers so that Kadri and Colborne have spots or should they trade one or both of them? (Kadri and Colborne)

  5. reinjosh says:

    Colborne is going to spend another year in the AHL at least. Its possible Kadri does too.

  6. LeafsFTW17 says:

    I think Kadri should come up atleast we need a player like him on the roster. He can be a game changer

  7. palindrom says:

    I think if you remove Komisarek from the proposal, its actually a better offer!

  8. NonLeafFansAreGay says:

    I think we should have kept Kaberle. He would have resigned he loves Toronto. Does anyone agree?

    Does anyone think he will still resign with Toronto in the offseason?
  9. leafs_r_a_joke says:

    It was widely speculated that Kaberle went to Burke during the season and asked for an extension. Burke said "I'm not paying what your gonna want" and basically walked away. Even if Kaberle took a "home town discount", would you really want to go back and sign for a guy and a team that basically said "f*ck off"?

  10. DannyLeafs says:

    You may be right, but I think Colorado needs someone going back in order to stay above the league foor. I may be mistaken but even with their prorated cap hits Stastny and Liles will still make up about 3 million in cap hit, and I don't think that Colorado is 3 million above the floor as it is.

    I am in no way saying its a fair deal, but that being said, if Colorado is going to trade Stastny and they want to trade liles (even if it is in seperate deals) they need to take on salary as well. That is probably why Stastny would be such a hard move like Bob Mackenzie said. What playoff teams want a 6.6 million dollar cap hit for the long term, but have a 3-5 million dollar player to go back the other way.

    Also, expiring contracts may not be ideal either. Since Coloarado would be well below next years cap floor on July 1, it would put a lot of pressure on them to add UFA's even if they weren't a fit, which could be a worse way to spend the money then simply holding onto Liles and Statsny.

    I would say its pretty unlikely that Statsny goes anywhere unless it's to a team that is willing to sell a little, and for a player that Colorado will keep past this season. Actually, if Toronto were to have any chance at signing Stastny, I think Clarke MacArthur would have to be a starting point. He is an RFA having a great season, meaning they would probably negotiate a contract pretty easily, and Colorado would probably like to replace Stewarts position with a winger that could score 20+ goals for them.

  11. DannyLeafs says:

    Why is he going to demote Aulie and Reimer and call them back up immediately?

    I thought he was referring to the fact that he wants to keep 2 of those re-calls so that if the leafs fall out of the playoff hunt, he could send them down to play with the Marlies so they could get some experience playing in games that matter. That's why he doesn't want to call anyone up that isn't an emergency recall because it would essentially burn up another two re-calls (since it would be a player in the same situation, where he would want to keep a re-call to send them back to the marlies should the Leafs fall out of the hunt)

    I would also like to see a trade as it makes the most sense. Burke has always been a proponent of wanting competition, so moving out two veteran defensemen would seem to cause less competition for the open spots, so it only makes sense to explore this option and increase the amount of internal competition.

    Finally, I don't get all the hate on the idea of getting Liles. Yes he is similar to Kaberle, but to me if you can get him for less then Kaberle's return, you net the difference plus you have Liles expiring at the end of next year, giving us the option to trade him and get back what we gave for him (possibly more).

  12. DannyLeafs says:

    It isn't really speculation, it is exactly what Burke said. He said that Kaberle asked for an extension, but Burke wasn't ready to commit that kind of money to a player of his age at this point of the teams development.

  13. nordiques100 says:

    good call, totally agree.

  14. reinjosh says:

    Yeah they really do. I really like Eakin's coaching. I honestly hope that in the summer Wilson gets a "promotion" and they give Eakin the reigns.

  15. reinjosh says:

    I think it has something to do with making sure they are eligible to play for the Marlies when they are in the playoffs. Its either something to do with the rule that makes a player demoted on time or its what your saying.

    Liles is interesting. Seeing as no one wanted him just 8 months ago, I would have to put my trust in the pro scouting department. I would hope that the way dman have been acquired doesn't push his price astronomically high. Less than Kaberle's return would be perfect, specifically Colborne-less. Come out ahead a top prospect.

  16. palindrom says:

    There are a zillion way to add cap hit,

    I dont think any team should worry about being over the floor!

    So many team are looking to unload contract, a team wanting to take a big contract would have plenty option.

  17. palindrom says:

    it will depends how much he will enjoy his experience in boston.

  18. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    Kadri will probably make the team next year, Colborne…probably not. Of course it all depends on what happens by the trade deadline and also in the off-season.

  19. DannyLeafs says:

    Well you have to be over the floor, so it is a concern that teams have to consider when making deals. No matter what position you are in, no team wants a bad contract that they will be stuck with. I am just saying that I don't think Colorado will have an easy time finding a trade partner interested in adding Paul Statsny who also has a substantial cap hit going back the other way. Teams wanting Statsny are going to be teams making a playoff push, as well as teams with cap space to spare going forward. The fact is there aren't many of those teams.

    The list of teams that Statsny would be a good fit (as a player) for are the Rangers, Leafs, Thrashers, Blue Jackets, Oilers, Preds, Devils, Coyotes and Blues.

    Then you have to think about what Colorado would want. They are not a team that has been completely scrapped, they would want to compete next year, so they would want young roster players with upside, or top, near-ready prospects. They would probably do it for high 1st rounders, but the chances of the Oilers, Jackets or Blues giving up 1st's is slim.

    The Rangers, and Preds are playoff bound and would be likely to make that kind of shake up. The Thrashers, Blues, and Oilers won't likely give up top prospects or their firsts, so those deals are likely a non start. The Jackets might be willing to give up both the type of prospects and players, and have the salary to move, but their current hot play probably means they wouldn't shake up their line up that much. Ditto for Jersey and Phoenix.

    The Leafs are a team that I could see trading some top prospects or roter players, as Burke would not flinch about giving up the assets or meddling with the roster if he thought it would be in the best interests of his team, but I am just not sure there is time left to work on a deal this complicated in the time remaining.

    The only other possibility I could see is a three-way deal. This is far fetched, but hey its deadline time and its just for fun.

    What if Dallas wasn't ready to give up on the season but realized they had to get somethign for Richards. There is no doubt that Richards wolud go if he were 100% available, so what if Dallas traded Richards for a good package, and then flipped the majority of that package to Colorado for Stastny with some salary moving to even things out (should be easy since both teams have space). This gives dalls some future pieces and a young #1 center under contract for some time to come. Richards goes whereever, and Colorado gets the type of return they woudl require to get Stastny.

    The reason I don't consider this likely is simply because, when was the last time you saw a three-way deal in the NHL that was a blockbuster?

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