Toronto's Deadline Options

Hopefully without bias, here’s what I think the Leafs should consider, as possibilities to improve their club before the trade deadline.As it stands right now, a healthy Toronto lineup looks something like this:

Roberts/Sundin/Mogilny

Antropov/Nieuwendyk/Nolan

Johnson/Tucker/Fizgerald

Stajan/Reichel/Domi

Renberg, Perrott, Wilm, Belak, Panikarovski

McCabe/Kaberle

Klee/Berg

Marchment/Pilar

Jackman, Colaiacovo, Belak, Hedin

There is a lot of depth at forward, so the obvious call would be to say that the Leafs will be trading somebody from up front for a defenceman. All the talk right now says that the Leafs are trying to acquire Sergei Gonchar from the Capitals. I think that this would be an alright move for the Leafs, but I’m not too sold on it 100%. The Leafs have one of the highest scoring defence cores in the NHL, so there’s really no need to bring in another offensive minded guy, especially a guy who’s not known for his defensive tendencies. If the Capitals are looking to deal players to dump salary, the Leafs would be better off looking at a guy like Brendan WItt. He’s steady as a rock on the back end, has limited offfensive upside however, but he’s young, plays a very nasty stay-at-home game and would fit well in with the Leafs style of play.

Possible Trades:

Nik Antropov/Tomas Kaberle/3rd Round Pick (TOR)

for

Sergei Gonchar & Brendan Witt (WAS)

or

Nik Antropov (TOR) for Richard Matvichuk (DAL)

Another trade that would be great not only for the “now” but for the next 10 years, is picking up Jeff O’Neill from Carolina. He’s a young sniper, who plays with heart and is a true leader. Once Gary Roberts is gone, there is going to be a big hole to fill, O’Neill is the type of guy that could really help out there.

Possible Trades:

Mikael Renberg/$1 million/3rd Round Pick (TOR)

for

Jeff O’Neill/Bob Boughner (CAR)

Darcy Tucker/2nd Round Pick (TOR)

for

Ryan Smyth (EDM)

The Ryan Smyth idea is a little bit of a dream, but I did hear the guys on CTV Sportsnet talking about how the Oilers being open to trade anybody off their roster. Smyth is a guy Pat Quinn openly admires, from his play in the Olympics (see Owen Nolan, Joe Nieuwendyk and Ed Belfour) So if Ryan Smyth were to be on the market, it’s not too far fetched of an idea to think the Leafs would make a move, especially with the Oilers interest in Darcy Tucker, going back to the Ninnimma sweepstakes last year.

In any regard, the Leafs will be making some moves in the coming week, because JFJ has to make his presence known to the Leafs and their fans. This is his first real opportunity to build a solid reputation in the city of Toronto, and amongst the Leafs rabid fans for Ferguson…he’s going to make his mark soon.

-MJ-