Toronto is about to step into HSBC Arena for the 2nd time this week. There is no doubt in my mind that Buffalo is going to be craving for a win against the Leafs considering the recent slide they have seen in the standings and the fact that the team they used to be able to write off as a win in their schedule, has finally started showing up to play.
Buffalo is an interesting team to look at, as a Toronto fan. With the new owner, the pressure to win has intensified to the level of all other NHL franchises that spend to the cap. The fans are getting irritable with their lack of success, considering that with more cap space last year, they produced similar results to this point in the season.
I predict much of the same from this team as we have seen from the Leafs over the past 10 years (until recently). Money will be spent to the max each year, and the prospects will start flowing out of the system for players that can help now.
It’s interesting to watch for any Leaf’s fan, and while I don’t wish them ill, it’s nice to see that we are on the way up at the moment, and they seem to be treading water.
The Leafs enter today’s game as the only undefeated team in the new year and hope to keep the streak alive.
Gustavsson is confirmed to get the start (as per a site I trust), which would mean Reimer should be getting the start in New York on Saturday.
Gusty has been solid as of late, with 2 shutouts in his 3 starts, and a .975sv% over the span. The Leafs have been getting some secondary scoring as of late, with Kulemin and Grabovski getting on the scoreboard in their last game.
While the goals against on the PK has improved, it is mainly due to the huge reduction in penalties the Leafs have taken in the past little while. Fans may criticize, saying that this isn’t an improvement for special teams, but in the end, fewer penalties is the best way to combat a bad penalty kill.
Expect a huge game from Phaneuf tonight, as even though he replied to the comments of being ‘overrated’ as classy as could be asked, I’m sure it is still sitting in the back of his mind at the moment, and he’ll be out to prove his worth. I fully expect him to drop the gloves tonight, perhaps against Kaleta? Would be a nice heavyweight fight for the fans.
These aren’t as much rumors as it is speculation based on what I have been hearing as of late.
It has already been speculated that Toronto and Philly have been in talks over Luke Schenn. While this makes a ton of sense for Philly, seeing as they have his brother in uniform, as well as missing their captain in Pronger, I see this as a difficult trade to make.
Schenn is coveted by Burke, as he is the typical defense first player Burke likes to build his team around on the back-end. That said, there is a premium to be paid for a player like Schenn at the moment, considering the lack of availability at the position. When reviewing Burke’s past trades, it is only fair to assume that Burke would ask for the moon for Schenn, if he the main piece in the discussion.
Schenn for JVR + 3rd.
While JVR may be enough, Philly is the team that has a need for a defenceman. It is unlike Burke to go easy on a team he knows to be on the desperate side of the trade negotiaton. As such, I have a feeling that if Burke were to make the trade, he’d be getting more than my offer. I have a feeling he may ask for the Kessel brother, seeing as he is letting the Schenn brothers unite in Philly.
Schenn + 2nd for JVR + Kessel
Overpayment for sure, but doesn’t mean it won’t happen.
It is no secret that Anaheim has been receiving offers for the likes of Ryan and Getzlaf recently. The GM even came out and stated no one was untouchable aside from Koivu and Selanne. While both Ryan and Getzlaf would be incredible, it would take a king’s ransom to pry them away. Most teams would shy away from offering up what it would take to bag either, but that is one area where Burke has never shied away from. The number of ‘Mega’ deals that Burke has constructed is absolutely unbelievable, and there is no reason to believe he wouldn’t offer one up for one of his former, elite players.
Unfortunately, this is one of those situations where Burke is on the wrong site of the deal. There will be plenty of buyers, but only one seller. Therefore Burke is going to have to compete with around 29 other clubs should they be available. He has also made it clear no one is untouchable, should he feel that the trade can improve his team. So what would Anaheim want? Depth on D, and depth on forward. Something we have quite a bit of. So let’s give this a shot.
Schenn + Gunnarson + Grabovski + 2012 1st + 2012 2nd for Getzlaf + 2012 3rd.
A lot, I know. I’m sure most of you cringe at the idea that Burke would give up yet another 1st rounder, but when a player of Getzlaf’s calibre becomes available, you offer up whatever it takes. A 15th-20th overall pick will not land you a Getzlaf on a regular basis. Not even close.
With this trade, Getzlaf jumps in between Kessel and Lupul, and we give Blacker the shot as our 6th D until Liles returns.
Well that’s it. Puck drops is at 7:40 tonight in HSBC Arena. Go Leafs!