Nash for the a top pick?

The motto has been “Fail for Nail”. If I am the Toronto Maple Leafs, I may not be bad enough to outright get him and the 1st overall pick (without some ridiculous lottery luck involved. I still say the NHL needs to change it to be more like the NBA cause the NHL lottery is Boring, but I digress), so why not go out and trade for him?

The Columbus Blue Jackets would have a really difficult time in making this selection. While he may in fact be better than Nikita Filatov or Nikolai Zherdev, suffice to say this franchise has not had much luck with Russian forwards.

So, perhaps they trade the pick (though smart money is they keep Yakubov). Here is where Toronto comes in.

The Leafs will have likely a top 5 selection. So why not use that, along with other assets to acquire the 1st selection.

Why not get the best player in the draft. Its the kind of earth shattering type of move Brian Burke loves to make. He did that to get Chris Pronger in Hartford and he did some moving and shaking to bring both Sedin twins to Vancouver.

Yakubov seems to be the clear cut top talent in this year’s draft. He is a superb offensive player with high end top level speed and skill. Though there are always some fears of “The Russian Factor”, it doesn’t seem to apply with Yakubov who came over early and is playing Major Junior in the OHL.

He is not a big player, and of course won’t solve the issue of the lack of a top line, big centre or be able to stop pucks, it would though bring a big kick to a flailing franchise coming off an absolutely terrible end to the season.

So here’s how I would go about it. Not only would I try and nab Yakubov, but why not Rick Nash as well?

The Jackets captain has had a tough ride, especially this season. There were high hopes for the team after it acquired Jeff Carter from Philadelphia and started to surround Nash with some good talent.

That experiment failed miserably. Carter got hurt, Nash has struggled all season and it appears that he and the Jackets will sever ties this summer.

The Brampton native would be a perfect fit for the Leafs. He, like Yakubov, is not a centre, but the combination of his size and skill is the kind of power player the Leafs sorely need. If Toronto, under new coach Randy Carlyle, want to build a team that can really be a force down low and on the cycle, a big body like Nash who can score 30-40 goals, would be a great asset. Both him and Lupul would be a handful for opponents.

To acquire the Nash/Yakubov combo, the offer would be as follows:

To Toronto: Rick Nash, Marc Methot and 1st overall selection (Nail Yakubov)

To Columbus: Phil Kessel, Luke Schenn, 4th or 5th overall selection (where the Jackets land hopefully Filip Forsberg if not then American Belarussian Alex Galchenyuk), and Toronto’s 2nd round selection (likely 34th or 35th overall)

I realize, there will be a giant backlash, especially in trading Kessel.

Considering the price paid to acquire him, Leaf Nation seems pretty adamant that they need to acquire double that if they were to trade him.

To me, Kessel just scores goals. Thats great, but there is just no fight in his game, no will, no desire, no defence. There are no leadership abilities here. He is a nice complimentary piece, but isn’t a guy Toronto can build around.

40 goals and 80 points are fine, but overall, I don’t know how much that really counted considering how many goals he was on the ice against. The line of Tyler Bozak, Jeoffrey Lupul and Kessel really struggled defensively and were overall a liability.

Kessel’s inability on many nights to get the puck out on the right side and his fear of being hit or entering any situation where contact is involved really was the telling sign of the Leafs this season, mostly late this season when the games got tougher and the losses mounted.

Production wise, Nash could easily fill Kessel’s void. But he may also prove to be a better all around player and definitely someone who’d show some care for what’s on the front of the sweater. Yes, the numbers do not bear that as he is a -20 this season. But keep in mind, that’s a bad team in Columbus, just like the Leafs team that was brutal from October to February last year but turned it on. Kessel then was a -20 player.

Toronto has bemoaned the fact the team is constantly playing against teams who come into the ACC with several players playing in front of friends and family looking to impress. Well why not have a few care about doing that 41 nights a year.

I think Nash would be that kind of player. We’ve heard at nausem the dreadful term “blue and white disease” and I firmly believe the Leafs management team thinks local players here are already afflicted with such illness.

I think the opposite. I think local guys more than anyone would know what its like here and what it means to be a Leaf. They know what the heart of Leaf Nation is like. Take Matt Stajan for example. He severely lacked talent and was playing out of role, but every game, every loss, he looked like he cared.

Nash i really believe would start to care again. I think he’s lost that a bit after all this losing. Now, the Leafs are not much better than Columbus, but he should be boosted being in a big market that cares so much and back in Canada.

And what more can be said about Yakubov? He could be the prolific goal scorer like Kessel. Is there risk? You bet. But sometimes you have to take a leap of faith. At this time, after all these struggles, what do they have to lose?

Basically it breaks down like this for Columbus.

They trade Nash’s large contract for Kessel’s more affordable deal, but which has just 2 years left on it which at that time they will have to worry about re-signing him. They also get Kessel, who has been on more of a point’s upswing compared to Nash. And, they simply change the face of the franchise. A change that needed to happen. He doesn’t fill any leadership void. but, he can at least score for them like Nash, something the Jackets have struggled with. Plus, Kessel is a bit younger than Nash.

They move the 1st overall pick for the 4th or 5th pick, get a high 2nd round pick and get a defenceman in Luke Schenn with some potential.

I believe both need to go hand in hand as it helps resolve many of the Jackets problems and helps them hit the reset button and start over, but still gain a big name talent like Kessel.

It seems like a ton to give up just to move up a few spots. But its not unprecedented for Burke. He did something similar when he moved a young Bryan McCabe in a deal to secure a second top 3 pick to get the Sedins. He spent a large number of picks to move up to get Pronger.

Schenn would offer the Jackets a defensive defenceman with some jam to work with James Wisniewski, Jack Johnson and John Moore whom they are building their defence around. Schenn is another building block and a fairly recent former top 5 pick himself.

It would maybe be great to see what Carlyle and Dave Farrish could do with Schenn, but I think his style of game can be replaced. Plus, I like how Cody Franson plays.

If they ended up drafting Forsberg, they get a winger with a lot of potential still. Perhaps not the flash of Yakubov, but a sturdy prospect nonetheless.

Forsberg is projected to be a power forward type player, perhaps not that much different than Gabriel Landeskog but not yet as polished. Its a good way to start rebuilding as he could be a difference maker soon.

With Kessel, Forsberg, Ryan Johansen, there’s a foundation there for a young top line. Its a start for a team that hit rock bottom this year. With their young D, and adding help in goal, they could be fine.

They will likely pick up a good asset or a couple of good assets in the early part of round two with their own pick and the Leafs likely in the top 5 of th
at round. It will help them add more organizational depth. They also have the Kings 1st round pick so, this could really help expedite their rebuilding process. They have to start over and start fresh and I think it would be a good start for them.

It does sound like a lot to give up, but really, I believe it would be worth the risk for the Leafs.

Back to Toronto, well, from here, obviously this couldn’t be the only thing Burke does. He of course would still need to fill that elusive goaltending spot plus add help to his defence and more size, character up front.

Of course as well, he has to get rid of some dead wood, like Colby Armstrong, Mike Komisarek, Tim Connolly and Matthew Lombardi. That’s a combined 16 million or so in cap space. Wasted cap space.

Its a ton of work, but, a huge trade like this one could perhaps lead to a chain of events that could help change the team’s fortunes.

Like maybe adding Nash and adding Yakubov leads Ryan Suter to sign with Toronto as he could have liked what Toronto was doing. (of course throwing him a ton of money too will be quite convincing as well.)

Perhaps adding these two forwards too opens the door for the team to move decent assets like Bozak, Nikolai Kulemin and Clarke MacArthur, change the look of the team a bit. Like perhaps for a goaltender.

And in turn, by adding salary, it will force them to move some of it away and allows for prospects like Nazem Kadri, Joe Colborne, Matt Frattin, Carter Ashton and Korbinian Holzer to legitimately challenge for jobs next season while being affordable, entry level assets.

By no means do I expect any of this to happen. I would say there is probably a less than 0.5 percent chance of any of this occurring.

But hey, its at least worth exploring if I am Burke.

I am a passionate Leaf fan who just wants to see the team, my favorite team do its best. I think that should include doing what it takes to get the best available talents.

Heck if it means shirking the Burke rules and going big to sign Suter, so be it. (afterall, 7.5 million was the norm scratched and in the press box under Ron Wilson). If it means trading for Nash, arguably the best available talent via trade available, go for it. Get someone who may care about the city and about really succeeding here. If it means drafting still to keep in line with building a team for now and the future, well why not draft the best out there. Heck, why not even throw money at Cory Schnieder or even Carey Price with offer sheets and see what happens.

This franchise has the wherewithall and the money to do whatever it takes. In all honesty I dont think it has, for a while, if ever.

With 2 years left on his deal, I think its prudent for Burke to do something. Do the thing he was brought in for in the first place and that’s build a winner.

Here’s hoping Burke does something. This roster, as is, I dont think is good enough. Definitely not strong enough mentally. Hopefully the fragility is just the players and not with the man who is bringing them in. If Burke starts to doubt himself, well we could all be in a world of hurt. Much worse than any cat calls or boo’s could ever be.

Its good to be back writing about hockey again. Again, this is my own opinion and like I said, the likelihood of this is almost non-existent.

131 Responses to Nash for the a top pick?

  1. thisgamewelose says:

    That many assets? You gave up nothing remotely close to getting that 2nd overall pick. 

  2. TheLeafNation91 says:

    Staal ain't going anywhere, Getzlaf ain't going anywhere. No 'smart' team is going to give up an elite center…If teams were, don't you think Burke would have done everything imaginable to acquire them? Sorry, to burst your bubble. As well, hoping that any team ahead of us will select a defencemen is a risk I'm not willing to take.

    Toronto has 'a lot' of defencemen and MacArthur type players in their system…So, they're more expendable then you think.

    If you guys want to call up King Kadri next year…He can't play on the bottom two-lines, Kessel and him would be a defensive pairing from hell, so you have to put him with Grabovski and Kulemin. We also cut some salary since this offseason, were tight against the cap and it will be very hard for the Leafs to get out of this one.

    As well, pens that spot and we can get a player that will most likely have the talent to center Kessel.

    Omg, and just like that, more pieces fall into place.

  3. TheLeafNation91 says:

    Yeah, I agree with you. I don't know how all of a sudden MacArthur became a valuable commodity on this franchise.

    Well, for Toronto's aspect no.

    Columbus might like it. Grab 2 picks in the top 35 (I think they would be happy with one of Galchenyuk, Forsberg, or Murrray), an affordable top-six winger that could garner a first-rounder at the deadline if Columbus chooses not to resign him, and a top-4 defencemen.

    I'm willing to sacrifice more though if they want it. 

  4. TheLeafNation91 says:

    He's not MR lite. Nowhere near his game.

    Scouts will probably agree that he's more like Alexander Semin lite.

    It's not just frankinbolton Leafs. Scouts rip on every aspect of his game except his offensive skill, Mike Augello criticized his first 2 games in his recent blog. It seems to be everyone vs. you guys for some apparent reason.

    I've said numerous times that his offensive vision is great, that's never BEEN the issue. The issue is the rest of the aspects to his game, which is criticized by everyone but you. I just don't agree that you can suceed with one-dimensional players…The last few years these championship winning teams don't have these kind of players on their team.

    And Toronto right now has 2…Kadri and Kessel.

  5. toronto77 says:

    That's what players like Ross will do. He will be our biggest physical threat. He's predicted to be the next Tucker and that is what we lacked since he left. Tucker wasn't that great pre-lockout but post-lockout was an amazing player that played an excellent all round game and put up 20+ goals and 50 points.

    Ross is going to be sick!!!
  6. toronto77 says:

    I loved that blackhawks team that one the cup, such a fun skilled amazing team to watch. Two years later, it's a completely different team. Losing Versteeg, Laad, Byflugien, Campbell, Kopecky, Brouwer and even Madden has taken away a good chunk of their depth. They did have cap problems, so most of those moves had to be made.

  7. toronto77 says:

    I say we keep that 5th overall pick. If the leafs get screwed over and don't get that centremen they want in Gal or Grig than I am mmmmoooorrreeee than happy to select Forsberg.

  8. TheLeafNation91 says:

    That's if a forward drops that low.

    At this point, it's either getting one of the top forwards or getting the second-best player in this draft in Ryan Murray.

    I would love to have Murray…but he does not fill a need and just makes this franchise more all over the place.

  9. TheLeafNation91 says:

    But they also made a lot of 'wrong' moves when making those deals.

    Losing Niemi hurt, not solving Crawford hurt. Getting Frolik did not help.

  10. MystifoLeafs says:

    I don't see NYI passing up on Murray.

  11. TheLeafNation91 says:

    You never know. They 'should' draft Murray since the D is horrible, but you never know what that franchise will do.

    Better be safe then sorry. And if you draft second, you get to select which one of the forwards you think will be the best going forward. Not getting other teams leftovers.

    Let Toronto make their own bed in this situation…Not it being made for them.

  12. TheLeafNation91 says:

    Gustavsson should read this book to save his career.

    Imagine how good the guy could be if he was not a fragile doll.

  13. frankinboltonleafs says:

    I admit I had to look Markstrom up. He's played 8 NHL games. Tallon has made decisions taking on questionable contracts from questionable guys. He's been coherent in his philosophy, (more than I can say for Burke). He's in a seventh game in the first round; who knows how far they could go. I'm guessing Jovanovski, Campbell, Upshall, et al, would be excited to add Lou. Though Tallon will be carefull with his cards of the future…he's playing his hand now as I see it. Lu fits in perfect with the guys he's picked up. I'll admit as well my jaw dropped when I saw Theo was 35…holy crap where does the time go!

  14. Steven_Leafs says:

    wow man you need to read the posts more carefully. He used the term MR lite to compare his hitting ability only. He never said that Kadri is a full out MR lite or that Kadri would be a Mike Richards type player.

    It is ok to disagree but at least know what he is saying first.

  15. Steven_Leafs says:

    just an example man, just an example.

    It would be dumb in general, IMO, to give up pieces to pick a guy no.2 overall when he might be available 5th overall and when the 5th overall player can be just as good as no.2 (hell everyone has different lists from no.2 to no.6, even ask everyone here I bet you see <insert player you want Leafs to draft after Yakupov here> on the no.2, no.3, no.4, and no.5 positions).

  16. Steven_Leafs says:

    no problem for me 'getting stuck' with Murray considering most people see him as an immediate NHLer and the 2nd best player in the draft.

    I see the advantage of trading up to no.2 but I would not give up any NHLers to do it. Not a smart move if we want to make the playoffs, and if anyone here that says we should trade up but also says that if Burke doesn't make the playoffs he should be fired is an idiot for sure, lol (not saying anyone here is or has said that, but it is true).

  17. thisgamewelose says:

    Personally, it's only a real advantage if you see Edm taking Murray to help them on D.  That's why getting that 2nd overall pick will cost more than the offer listed several post above. If you consider the possibility in getting yakupov second, then you're really not offering enough assets to accomplish that.  However, like most people, I'm 99.9% sure Edm takes Yakupov. 

    Drafting Murray, without trading that pick down and getting several other pieces to help Edm out…well, that would be dumb. 
  18. reinjosh says:

    Niemi wasn't exactly amazing. He's probably one of the worst goalies to win the Cup in the past ten years. But he's certainly better than Crawford.

    They lost depth on the NHL team but they gained a huge amount of it on the prospect department. McNeil, Saad, Pirri, Morrin, Olsen, Clendenning, Hayes, Danault, Shaw, Beach. 
    They did a pretty decent job at clearing salary space and giving themselves pieces to work to the future with. 
    They need to fix the goalie issue for one. After that I think their issue become a little less large. 
    But yeah, to your original point, Tallon has done a remarkable job with the Panthers. They have a bright future. 
  19. TheLeafNation91 says:

    3/4 years Niemi has gone to the conference finals.

    Not the prettiest goalie, but the guy is good enough to win. He would've been Chicago's version of Chris Osgood.

    Crawford is bad, it's still a decent team ahead of him…And he has let the down the last 2 playoffs.

  20. TmLeafan says:

    This is basically a rant on the current system which is the NHL draft lottery, just my opinion was wondering what everyone else thought on the matter.

    I think that the system in the NHL for the lottery is backwards and wrong.  The current attitude of the majority of media and fans I have listened to seems to embrace or even encourage this tanking mentality around the league.
      Look at the Oilers who have basically been the worst team in the league for the past 3 years running and once again they are being rewarded with the top prospect in the upcoming draft.  It is clear the Tambellini is perfectly happy to ice a lackluster team year after year to ac*****ulate these draft picks in a hope to build a winner.  While I think that Tambellini should be fired for being so useless it is really not his fault because there is currently a system in place that encourages teams to be BAD. If the incentive to be bad is there then General managers will always respond to that incentive just like any person in life responds to incentives ( do well in university get a good mark potentially a good job).  Nowhere else I can think of do people get rewarded for sucking.  A life example that parallels to the NHL you have 30 employees in an office all trying to sell as much as they can and be the top guy in the company, the bottom 5 guys in this scenario should be fired not rewarded with something so that they can be on a more even playing field next year.  In European soccer the bottom 3 teams get kicked out of the league, relegated to a lower league.  While I think this is a bit extreme I think a middle ground between this model and the current one would be best, it would hopefully eliminate teams sitting back and being fine with losing which in my opinion goes against the competitive aspect of sports which everybody loves.
    I suggest that every team out of the playoffs has an equal chance of the number 1 pick, similar to the year after the lockout with playoff teams being ranked as they get eliminated so the same as the current system.  You could add a cap to the number of number 1 or top 3 picks a team can draw through the lottery over a certain number of years to make it more fair.  In this system you will see teams that are bad try more creative ways to try and improve their teams which would lead to more trades and excitement, the incentive would no longer be there that allows them to sit back and do nothing and watch their team improve i.e  You would see more trades like the kessel trade in this system, whether you are a Leaf fan, a Boston fan or a neutral fan you cannot deny it added some excitement.  I think it would also make playoff races more exciting, there would be no more of the countless discussions I have read on this site and other Leaf based sites about how we shouldnt try and squeeze in the playoffs this year or next year we should try and rebuild, the new system would make it worth trying everything to make the playoffs and be the best hockey team possible and I believe that thats the way it should be.
    Thoughts on this?
  21. blaze says:

    I posted an article on this last year but didn't recieve much support. I hate 'Tank Nation' and all that crap. It goes completely against the idea of sport. I despise cheering my team to lose and I think the current NHL lottery supports it too much.

  22. Steven_Leafs says:

    depending on the 'solution', you can't get rid of the tank nation mentality. For example rewarding the cup champs with the 1st overall pick is just dumb, not only do the best teams stay the best forever, but it makes it damn near impossible for the bottom feeders to ever get any better which means most of them will go bankrupt due to lack of interest.

    That being said, I'm ok with changing the draft lottery idea. Obviously you must only have the bottom 14 teams qualify for winning the lottery, do not make a system where the cup champs will end up with the 1st overall.

    Possible scenarios:

    1) Keep the same odds of winning the lottery but have the winner pick 1st overall. This drops the odds of the 30th place team of winning the 1st overall pick from 48.2% to 25.0%. Big difference when you go back to last year when NJ won the lottery.

    2) Every team outside of the playoffs has an equal chance of winning the lottery (as mentioned above). Which means all 14 teams would have a 7.1% chance of winning the 1st overall pick, not too bad.

    3) The team that wins the lottery picks first overall, the NHL picks again and the 2nd team chosen will pick 2nd overall, and so on until all 14 teams are selected. This system obviously only works well with the 2 I talked about above and not the system they use now.

    Actually if you use systems 2 & 3 then you can do these draft lotteries live on some kind of 1 or 2 hour long TSN special. 14 balls are put into a big bingo spinner and some guy from the NHL picks the teams one at a time.

    What do you guys think?

  23. TmLeafan says:

    I never suggested that the cup champs get the 1st overall pick not sure where you got that from. 

     Maybe I should have worked on wording it more clearly but ya what I suggested above is basically a combination of your points number 2 and 3, with some sort of cap on the number of top picks a given team can get. This would be fair and get rid of the idea of tanking because whether you finish last in the league or 17th it wouldn't make any difference on the probability of your final draft position.  
  24. Steven_Leafs says:

    oh sorry I wasn't saying that you suggested it, I was just trying to throw that in there. I hear that 'solution' all the time and it just bugs me, I must have inferred that you said it… my bad, lol.

    I personally would prefer the combo of 1 & 3, despite the obvious TV hype over 2 & 3. It makes it more fair IMO, having an equal chance for a team that missed the playoffs by a tie-breaker ending up with the 1st overall pick just bugs me.

  25. TmLeafan says:

    No worries man. Ya I understand your concerns with numbers 2 and 3 about a good team finishing just outside the playoffs getting the number one pick. I personally have no problem with it however, because there is only a 12 percent chance of that happening and I would argue that how does the 17th place team deserve that pick any less than the team that finishes 30th? And if this team gets the number one pick there would have to be a limit in place so that they are not eligable for a top pick or top 3pick the following year. This would stop teams getting overly stacked based on luck.

    Its good to think of these ideas I mean obviously they are not perfect but in my opinion much better than the system in place currently.

  26. mojo19 says:

    Ya that's not bad. But Lecavalier is still a stud. Last year he was over a point per game in the playoffs, put up crazy points and took Tampa to the final 4. He was the best player on that team besides maybe Roloson in the playoffs.

  27. mojo19 says:

    I don't know if you're racist or not. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt but this goes back to when we drafted Kadri, there was just some hate for him which I never understood from you.

    I didn't mean to offend you, just trying to figure out why… Anyway's were on the internet, no one knows who the hell "frankinboltonleafs" so I just threw that out as a possibility. Sorry, you're cool Frank. 
  28. mojo19 says:

    Ya true, or Mikael.

  29. mojo19 says:

    Tough for a guy who lost his parents relatively recently. I hope Jonas has a career in the league at least for a while.

  30. mojo19 says:

    Danny Briere would be a good comparison and a good model for what Kadri could hopefully become. 

    You never know, the kids 21 and he's got a real shot. Like I've said, he's got a choice right now. If he works his ass off and dedicates himself to hockey he could turn it on and become a real go-to guy in the NHL. Or he could remain a little on the soft side (not soft because he doesn't hit. He hits. Soft because he doesn't possess the strength to win the battles against NHL players), and he could end up like a Kyle Wellwood. Someone who bounces around and is replaceable, but since he brings a great skill set with those hands and quick moves, there will always be teams willing to take a chance on him to fill out their roster, use him in shootouts, etc.
  31. mojo19 says:

    Osgood and Niemi are a great comparison. Either guy can look pretty average at times, but both of these goalies have that extra gear, and any given game they can turn it on and steal a win for their team.

    I would take Osgood (future hall of famer) in his prime over almost any goalie in the NHL today, except for 7 or 8 guys at the top.
    I would take Niemi over Luongo.

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