Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday Morning Musings With Me The Big E; Rounding Up Maple Leafs Trade Rumors

This article is by Eric Warren. Eric is also a frequent contributer to Bleacher Report.

Could Tomas Kaberle finally be
With exactly two weeks left to go until trade deadline day, it would make sense that the rumor mill would be churning at a fever pitch.
Everyone from the sports desk personalities on the evening news cast to the arm chair GM's who stumble sleepy eyed into work every day have a theory on who the Leafs should trade, who they should try to get, and why.
While yours truly is certainly not above throwing out an opinion here and there, the purpose of toady's exercise will be to be to try and round up all the current Toronto Maple Leaf trade rumors and put them into one nice neat little package for your viewing pleasure.
If you have heard of a rumor, that isn't posted here , please post it in the comment section along with a link to the site that you read it on.
Tomas Kaberle
Ah Tomas Kaberle, aren't you just sick to death of hearing that name? I know I'm getting close.
As arguably the Toronto Maple Leafs most consistently valuable commodity since the playoff drought started, Tomas Kaberle has been the target of so many trade rumors I'm amazed this poor guy has any idea who he is any more. The fact of the matter is, Tomas Kaberle has a no trade clause.
As a matter of record, Brian Burkes position had always been that he would not ask a player to wave a no trade clause that he has earned no matter what. Times change. It had been rumored as soon as a week and a half ago the Burke would in fact ask the question.
It has been speculated that there is the usual number of teams that may be interested including the Boston Bruins, San Jose Sharks, Montreal Canadiens and the New York Rangers.
While Boston GM Peter Chiarelli had reportedly stated that he may use Toronto's first round pick in this years NHL draft to try and land either Tomas Kaberle or the Ottawa Senators Sergei Gonchar, it is likely that any such deal will be very close to the 3pm deadline as Chiarelli will want to wait until the last possible moment to see where the Leafs are in the standings.
For Kaberles part, his agent Rick Curran was quoted recently as saying, “I will clear up speculation. . . there is no list of teams and there won’t be”.
The odd thing in regard to Kaberle is that, well there are really no concrete rumors, no deals speculated. Just the same old banter that teams are showing interest but he has a no trade clause.
Kaberle has also been quoted as saying that he would only accept a trade to an Eastern conference team which in and of itself may make Burke reluctant to pull the trigger on any deal that isn't lopsided toward the toward the Leafs.

Jean Sebastien Giguere

If some one offers Brian Burke a box of cigars and a third round pick for JS Gigure, Burke should smile and take the cigars. Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike Giggy. He hasn't been without value in a Leafs jersey, he has aided in the development of both the Monster and James Reimer as well as provide a calming effect on the ice when called upon.
That being said, his numbers suck. I'm not sure what Leafs fans or the Leafs brass expected above what I've already described, but if anyone expected more, they're foolish, foolish people.
One rumor from the first week of January had both Giguere and Kaberle headed to the Washington Capitals for Alex Semin. The Leafs would not be getting equal value in this deal.
Chris Minniti of Bleacher Report speculates that there are up to ten teams that JS Giguere could help, though I must say I found it strange the New York Islanders weren't on that list. Giggy has said in the past that he would likely retire before being relegated to a back up position but he simply may have no choice in the matter.

Most teams in the NHL have their future already in place between the pipes, or at least most teams think they do. While Giguere would most certainly help any team, unless it's the Islanders, it likely won't be as a starter.
Kris Versteeg
Kris Versteeg may have supplanted Tomas Kaberle as the Toronto Maple Leafs hottest commodity this season.
It really has little to with whether he is a better player or not, more the fact that he is easier to move and is a very good third liner that can make the jump to either of the top two lines for an abbreviated stay and will be just as effective.
Those qualities could be in high demand by a lot of teams looking to bulk up for a long play off run this year not the least of which could be none other than the Pittsburgh Penguins who are still hoping for the return of their captain Sidney Crosby but are now trying to cope with the loss of Evgeni Malkin for the rest of this season.
The latest rumor involving Versteeg comes from our own Matt Wiseman who says the Vancouver Canucks are possible suitors for him in a deal that may see youngster Cody Hodgson come to the Leafs. Although the possibility of Hodgson becoming a Leaf may seem remote, it's an intriguing thought.
As with the previous two, there hasn't been a lot of speculation in regard to actual deals that may be in the works.
Clarke MacArthur
Clarke MacArthur was easily the steal of the off season last year coming to the Toronto Maple Leafs as a free agent for 1.1 million and has already eclipsed career highs in both goals and point this season.
In fact, MacArthur not only leads the Toronto Maple Leafs in scoring, but he would also be the highest scorer on several other teams including Edmonton,Nashville, St Louis, Atlanta, Florida, New Jersey, the Rangers and the Ottawa Senators.
If that wasn't enough, he would be second in scoring on Calgary,Columbus, Detroit, LA, Phoenix, Boston, Buffalo Montreal the Islanders and the Pittsburgh Penguins. That is 19 teams out of 30 that the Toronto Maple Leafs Clarke MacArthur who makes 1.1 million dollars this season is either leading in overall scoring or second in overall scoring.
There is not one single rumor of a trade anywhere that isn't so out dated that Henry Ford could have written it. To say that he may be having a breakout year at the age of 25 may be some one of an understatement and as he will become a free agent at the end of this year, he will be looking for a decent raise likely some where in the area of the 2.4 million that he was awarded in arbitration last season.
It's amusing to me that he will command the same kind of money that the Thrashers refused him last season and it's those same Thrashers who find themselves desperately searching for offense this year.
The Close
Last season, the trade deadline yielded 31 deals involving a total of 55 players. With playoff races actually looking a little bit tighter this season, there is reason to expect even more deck shuffling this year than last. The question will remain for the most part right up until the 27th, will the Toronto Maple Leafs be buyer or sellers?
Will they stand pat? There is a good argument for doing just that as well.
There have been surprisingly few rumors involving the Toronto Maple Leafs so far, perhaps the calm before the storm? Stay tuned in two weeks for a special "Trade Deadline Day " edition of Monday Morning Musings!
I will be hosting a live blog right here on Bleacher Report form 9 am straight through until 4 pm in the afternoon where we will discuss all the moves as they happen and provide insight and analysis on each deal as well! 

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