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Most Leafs’ fans are getting excited with the possibility of a playoff berth for the first time since the lock-out, and who can really blame them? While I think it is Burke’s intention for the team to make it to the post-season this year, I have also heard the GM mention on several occasions that the cup is his primary target, and a first-round exit is not his goal.

With this in mind, I bring up the idea of whether the Leafs should be sellers or buyers come trade deadline? While you can make a strong case for both at this point, I myself am leaning towards seller. I understand the pain of ‘giving up on the season’ but that scenario may be the best for the Leafs in the long run. Here are my reasons for considering it:

1) Burke is an impeccable trader

There is no doubting Burke’s ability to sell his product high and buy low. He has done an impeccable job in the past 3 years bringing in some great talent, with a few exceptions. However, at this point in the year, the Leafs have plenty of ‘extra’ contracts, and it is definitely a seller’s market. The names such as Grabovski, Schenn, Komisarek, Macarthur, etc… have all been mentioned as possible targets of teams. Grabovski would easily be the most sought after centre rental at this year’s deadline, next to Derek Roy, and could fetch our team a pretty penny. The pieces landed here, similar to the Beuachemin and Kaberle deals of last year, could help set us up for the next several years.

2) We need more cap room

With the CBA set to be renegotiated soon, we are dangerous of being so close to the cap. If we could find suitors for players such as Komisarek, Lombardi, or Macarthur it would clear out some much needed cap space for the following year, which we could then be used to add players in areas with more of a pressing need. Let’s face it. Kulemin is going to demand north of the $2.3M he was making this year, Crabb, or his replacement (I hope not), will demand equal to more than the $0.75M he is making this year, and our current starting goaltender in Gustavsson will probably end up with money equal to Reimer’s contract from last year. We simply do not have the cap room to add any key pieces in the upcoming year, unless we shed some salary.

3) We need to make room for the young guys

There is nothing wrong with a little healthy competition. Competition has been instrumental to the development of certain players such as Franson, Gunnarson, Crabb, Kadri, Frattin and Bozak. However, there comes a point where you are going to have to make a regular spot for the young guys to squeak their way into the line-up. With the number of contracts we have right now, and the eventual return of Armstrong to the line-up, it seems the spots area at a premium. Guys like Colborne, Frattin, Ross, Blacker, and Holzer are going to find it difficult to get their shot with the big club. That may lead to frustration and slower development for some.

4) We need more pieces to get an impact player, without sacrificing the future

We all know that the team is in need of a #1 centre. Unfortunately, if we were to trade for one currently, it would require names such as Kadri, Schenn, Kulemin, Gardiner, etc… going the other way. We have enough depth at these positions to not completely destroy our NHL team, but the Marlies would suffer as a result. If we were to acquire more picks and prospects ala a Roster player for 1st + Prospect route, as Burke is known for, we could help replenish the youth on our team, while still being able to draw in that impact player we need. I am all for bringing in that #1 centre, but not at the cost of crippling the team to do so. Selling now could help us ensure that a trade of prospects and picks later does not dampen our future.

I would not be against trying to make the playoffs this year, God knows I miss playoff hockey, but I am thinking long-term here. I am not interested in mediocre playoff performances, early round exits, and emotionally crippled squads year in and year out. No sir. I want a cup! That is the ultimate goal here, and it should be the only goal for Leaf fans! While I am not expecting it this year, or the next, I expect us to improve to the point where we can compete for it soon.

We are currently more than one-piece away from getting to this point, and I think we need to become sellers this year in order to get to that next level. That’s my opinion at least, and I stand by it. What do you think?

Oh, and it wouldn’t be a blog from me unless I threw in one of my ‘Fire Wilson’ comments. So….


Filed Under:   Leafs   Toronto   Trade   Deadline   Burke   Maple  
January 27, 2012 11:40 AM ET | Delete
Definately buyers. Schenn,Aulie and a pick to Columbus for Nash!
January 27, 2012 11:44 AM ET | Delete
Or Komie and Finger to anyone for a bag of pucks and two rolls of tape.
January 27, 2012 11:48 AM ET | Delete
@gdogOk, so that only puts us about $5M over the cap, along with the fact that we would also have almost $17M locked up in 3 wingers for the forseeable future. I understand the desire for that top-line forward, but not if it cripples the team
January 27, 2012 12:25 PM ET | Delete
January 27, 2012 12:29 PM ET | Delete
I would be open to both choices. I don't mind if we make a trade for someone that helps us as long as we keep our first rnd pick. I don't want another Kessel disaster. I don't want a rental player either. We could go on a winning streak or a losing streak, I think Burke might be better to wait closer to the deadline to see exactly where were at and how were playing before pulling the trigger.
January 27, 2012 12:36 PM ET | Delete
1) Schenn or Aulie might be traded. Not both.2) Moving Finger is of absolutely no consequence3) We shouldn't pick in the Top 15 in the next 4-5 years, especially if we are moving a 1st to acquire that impact player, so moving a 1st should be that big of a deal.
January 27, 2012 12:52 PM ET | Delete
very good points here altho the ache in my heart for playoff hockey is too deep.. lets make playoffs with this squad this year and continue the rebuild next season ahha
January 27, 2012 1:01 PM ET | Delete
January 27, 2012 1:13 PM ET | Delete
January 27, 2012 1:28 PM ET | Delete
January 27, 2012 1:48 PM ET | Delete
@sparky.. If your messages aren't appearing its because they are two long.. divide them up and shorten each one
January 27, 2012 1:50 PM ET | Delete
@kallaerI understand the frustration, believe me... I would love the playoffs this season, and if we could sell off some assets and still manage to make it, that would be my ideal scenario... Remember back to last year this time.. Burke sold off assets and managed to get
January 27, 2012 1:52 PM ET | Delete
Franson, Gardiner, Lupul, Colborne, Liles, Lombardi, and 2 draft picks from it. When we have assets teams want, Burke manages to make the most of it. We got a 1st line player in the deal, a top 3 defenceman, and 2 potential top 4 D, along with other prospects. This is the time Burke lives for, and I don't want him to rashly try and make us a contender by mortgaging the future... We're close, but we can't afford mistakes right now in management.
January 27, 2012 1:57 PM ET | Delete
@kallaer I ache for playoffs too, but not just 4 games. An impact player won't get us to go far into the playoffs. Not worth the youth and first rounders to obtain him
January 27, 2012 1:57 PM ET | Delete
Message Posted
January 27, 2012 2:01 PM ET | Delete
I think we keep our youth and trade Grabo,Komi,Armstrong and possibly Connley for picks and youth. Possibly might get Grabo back this summer. We need the cap room badly so we can obtain players. This summer is when we make the big trades, not now unless we can get a fantastic deal
January 27, 2012 2:09 PM ET | Delete
@mfreedman Yes Burke has made some icredible trades but he also has made poor ones as well. He wants to get bigger forwards, wouldn't Victor Stralburg and Jimmy Hayes look alot better with us instead of Chicago?
January 27, 2012 2:39 PM ET | Delete
@sparky Yes, the size helps, but you can focus ont he bad for any GM. How about Ross, Colborne, Mueller, Biggs, Lupul, Franson, Aulie, etc... All add size, and some add even more... I GM can't just trade away scrubs for good players, sometimes you need to give up the player you like to keep the team chugging along.
January 27, 2012 3:22 PM ET | Delete
Keep Grabo! This guy has not seen his best days yet......mark my words.
January 27, 2012 3:39 PM ET | Delete
I love Grabo, but with Lombo, Connolly, Komi, Army, etc... All eating up cap space, we can't afford him... Unless Burke negotiates some magic
January 27, 2012 9:50 PM ET | Delete
It's not a year for buying or selling really for the leafs. Burke will try and swing a bigger trade moving parts for parts rather than spending prospects and picks for a rental which is what I consider buying.
January 28, 2012 12:14 AM ET | Delete
Just throwing it out there. Jimmy Hayes was traded for the pick that would become Brad Ross who, as a younger player, still has time to make an impact. Also Versteeg was converted into the picks that would become Stuart Percy and Josh Leivo. Again, too early to tell.
January 28, 2012 6:49 PM ET | Delete
Armstrong..reimer has played more games than this guy since he came to the leafs...Komi purely sucks..he overplays the body too much and leaves the puck..Veteran Player is what the leafs need right now..a good big bodied Top 6 Forward who can lead this team to the playoffs...
January 29, 2012 1:06 PM ET | Delete
January 31, 2012 1:15 PM ET | Delete
if the deal involving carter's bad contract is struck if we get their 1st this year with it its a steal i dont care what we give up yakupov is gonna push 50 per season in the show and 100 pts this kids legit and will not leave for russia he wants to play in the show!
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