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During Saturday's press conference to the Toronto media, Brian Burke all but confirmed that the Leafs are officially out of the Sundin sweepstakes. “I don’t think we fit his profile as a team,” said Burke. He referred to the 2-year $20 million offer from the Vancouver Canucks, putting the emphasis on the fact that Sundin's comeback is not about money, but about playing for a contender.

Therefore, if Burke is not looking to add Sundin to his team, this means he will likely try to unload some veterans.

Look for Burke to start moving players in January as he will study his team in the next few weeks to see which players fit his style of players: physical, gritty, tough, hardworker, reliable defensively, etc.

Goaltenders: Curtis Joseph is having a tough season, posting a 3.95 GAA and a woeful .861 save percentage. He hasn't won any game yet for the Leafs. The veteran goaltender might be asked to hang his skates to give some seasoning to Justin Pogge, the Leafs' goaltender of the future.

Defensemen: Tomas Kaberle could also be on the move, provided that he lifts his no-movement clause, by the trade deadline. Kaberle, a great puck-moving defenseman, would become a hot-commodity in the NHL, espcially around the trading deadline, as there won't be many offensive defensemen available this season, save for Jay Bouwmeester. Signed through 2010-2011, Kaberle is quite affordable at $4.25 million/season. Pavel Kubina could also be traded around the deadline, but his high salary $5 million/season makes him hard to trade.

Forward/defenseman Ian White was also on the trade market at the beginning of the season, but his versatility proved to be quite useful when the Leafs' defense got depleted by injuries (Van Ryn, Finger, Frogren).

Forwards: Alexei Ponikarovsky and Nikolai Antropov have never lived up to their expectations even though they are big forwards loaded with skills. They never took advantage of their large frame to get free in front of the opponents' net.

The 6'4'', 220 lb, Ponikarovsky has never reached 50 points over his 8-year career with the Leafs. His best season has been 45 points in 2006-07. This season he is on pace for 57 points, so it would be a good time to trade as his value will never be higher.

The 6'5'', 230 lb, Antropov had a career-year last season, notching 26 goals and 56 points in 72 games. The oft-injured Antropov, who is on pace for 64 points this season, is set to become an unrestricted free-agent at the end of the season. He could very well become a highly-sought after player at the trade deadline for a team that is looking for depth and size at centre.

Brian Burke would also really like to trade inconsistent Jason Blake, but his $4 million/year bloated contract makes him nearly impossible to move. With three years left to Blake's contract after this season, expect Brian Burke to buy him out unless he starts producing all-star caliber numbers on the ice. Blake has only 10 points in 19 games this season.

Another candidate to be traded earlier to this season would have been Matt Stajan, but his stellar play (20 points in 22 games) after being a healthy scratch given him some kind of breathing room. It's the first time Stajan is logging big minutes as the Leafs first-line centre and he has responded well. His affordable salary at $1.75 million per year also makes him an attractive player for Burke.

Who would you move? For draft picks, prospects or younger established players?
Filed Under:   burke   toronto   maple leafs   stajan   kaberle   antropov  
December 1, 2008 9:19 PM ET | Delete
all the players are trade bait! The players you mention are front row and center. If the price were right add Toscala to the list. I understand Hagman can fetch a fair amount but man I like his effort.
December 1, 2008 9:46 PM ET | Delete
Hagman has a NTC till this summer....Kaberle or Kubina will lift their NTC ...why?because if not, either of them could be riding shoot gun with Hainsey in Atlanta instead of choosen their demise because their NTC lifts in the summer if they dont make the playoffs....wouldn't you rather choose the Pens or Philly or Chicago instead of the highest bidder in the summer.Its like the planets will align this summer.... nobody will be safe from trade.... hahahahahahahahaha...(in a evil voice)
December 2, 2008 12:02 AM ET | Delete
I don't think Hagman has the NTC... I think Fletcher was adamant... its Kubina that has an NTC that is lifted every year they miss the playoffs...
December 2, 2008 12:14 AM ET | Delete
ya man ... hagman has a ntc for at least year one of the contract ... pretty sure it is only one year ... but there definitely is one for now ... i doubt he's going anywhere anyways ... one of the safer leafs so to speak
December 2, 2008 9:29 AM ET | Delete
Yes Hagman does have a NTC for this season, as he stated when signing he didn't wanna be a guy signed to a team then flipped at the deadline, so he's solid, and he shouldn't be moved anyways unless a sweeeeeeeet offer comes along, he is one of our best puck moving forwards, really impressed with his play thus far.....Blake will most likely be bought out....Antropov could fetch us a 1st rounder and prospect easily if he stays healthy and can maintain his production, we needed him to play like this 3 years ago...Kaberle, god love'em, but I think his days here are seriously numbered, another 1st rounder for him, sent to a contender, would likely give us a pick between 16-30th, if we could get a low to mid rounder for Antro, 10-20th and keep ours, I would be overwhelmed with joy entering the draft...could be a top 5, and maybe 2 top 25s...that would be a dream
December 2, 2008 10:11 AM ET | Delete
I really don't see Antro being moved. He IS in fact living up to his expectations this year and last. He's big, physical, skilled and a very under-rated defensive player. He seems like the ideal Burke type player. IMO, he is one of the guys that we should build around. Poni on the other hand needs to go. he is one of those players whos stats make him look better than he is.
December 2, 2008 2:24 PM ET | Delete
Ok So the Rangers could use Antro..so what are you asking for how about Peter Prucha or Nigel Dawes ?
December 2, 2008 2:57 PM ET | Delete
Man this is what people keep saying Trade this guy and that guy and every guy on the team to get draft picks...................................Um you guys do realize that you can't have a team full of draft picks right? You need the established Vets to make any team solid and mold your players into something for the future. Kaberle yes I will agree has to go as he has looked HORRIBLE this year and pretty much invisible he looks completely lost without McCabe and his give aways this year are so frequent that it makes you want to tear his head off. Antropov stays Poni can go! Hagman and Stajan go NO WHERE I truly believe that Stajan will be named Captain before the year is up or this summer for sure. Toronto will not draft Hedman or Tavares as they are just not bad enough and if Burke see any chance of making the playoffs you can be almost guaranteed he will make moves to benefit the team for them. He already said that in his presser. Anyways all I'm saying is you can't trade away everything and expect your rookies to win you games.
December 2, 2008 3:22 PM ET | Delete
Yeah you can't have a winning team full of draft picks but I have a feeling Burke doesn't want a winning team this year, Toronto are only three points from the basement and the likelihood is that Burke will move whoever so long as what he gets in return is reasonable and Burkesque. Burke isn't coming in to win the cup this year, I would suspect a number of veterans will be shifted as he has an eye on building from youth. If anything he will tag a vet onto a move of draft picks or an enforcer. Maybe the team will be full of Marlies, this is a long game and Burke knows that and as he also said in the press conference he doesn't want a "good" team he wants a great team or a real bad team, only real bad teams draw the number one ping pong ball.
December 2, 2008 4:53 PM ET | Delete
CAPMESS11 - we want Dubinski back :)amidst - what standings are you looking at? We are 5 points from the basement and are only 2 points from a playoff spot.
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