As of right now the Toronto Maple Leafs sits 6th in the conference. With the middle of the season approaching quickly GM’s need to evaluate what their team really is. Honestly I see Toronto as a bubble team at this point. We are more than capable to make the playoffs but as to do well in the playoffs well as we have seen from this years four games against the Bruins we can not out play teams like Boston with sheer speed. So what can make us take the next step? Well here 2 options.
- Cal Clutterbuck
He is exactly what Burke wants in a player. He can hit, grind and has shown potential to score. Clutterbuck adds that guy who is not afraid to bang bodies and it is something this team sorely misses . He also adds to a PK that as of right now is currently clicking rather well. With the Wild doing so well as of now I don’t know if they would be willing to part with him unless it made since.
Aulie/defensive prospect Crabb
Does Clutterbuck ensure a cup? Hell no, but he does add a grinding presence that is sorely missing from Toronto’s line up. Some may say Toronto gives up more and yes I can see why you would say that but in return Burke gets a player with truculence something we are sorely missing and a piece helps Toronto make a legit shutdown line in….
Clutterbuck – Steckel – Armstrong
I fear for the line that night in night out will have to contend with that.
From a Wild’s fan standpoint they do lose a great grinder in Clutterbuck but they still get a reliable player who can play a third line role. But the main piece would be Aulie or another defensive prospect. One flaw is the depth of the Wilds defence and the addition of the likes of one of Toronto’s prospects like Aulie, Holzer, Lashoff would really help.
2. Tuomo Ruutu
Like Clutterbuck he adds more grit and grinding only Ruutu brings a more of a offensive upside. Ruutu is on a expiring contract with a 3.8 million cap hit but half of it would be gone making it far easier to acquire near the deadline. With the way the Canes are progressing they may look to get some picks/prospects for him. Being a team with cap constraints they really wont look to spend a lot so say…
Conditional pick 2nd round pick (becomes the 2012 first if Toronto makes it past the first round of the playoffs.)
Again this just adds to the idea of an ideal shutdown line of say…
Ruutu – Steckel – Armstrong
But… its also leaves us with the chance of doing a more offensive third line with say…
Ruutu – Bozack – Armstrong/Frattin
Just a few ideas.