The Leafs appear willing to take on some bad contracts

So, if Chicago, for example, want to add a huge salary such as Eric Staal’s (from Carolina), the Blackhawks could ship Bryan Bickell’s $4-million deal to Toronto in order to create the necessary cap space. The Leafs would also get a high draft pick or a worthwhile prospect for their largesse.

Bickell could then be left on the fourth line to play out the final year of his deal next season. Or he could be sent to the American Hockey League’s Marlies.

A bad-contract-for-draft-pick trade like that could be enticing for a few other contending teams this season. St. Louis, Washington, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles would all like to add players for their playoff runs, but they are all extremely close to being capped out right now.

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