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I hate you, Toronto, ON • Canada • 27 Years Old • Male

The Trade Bait

Posted 3:35 PM ET | Comments 13
With the announcement of Brian Burke as Leafs GM, the trades are inevitable.

After all, this is not Burke's team, it's Cliff Fletcher's.

That's not a bad thing. In fact, Fletcher's acquisitions have instilled hope to a fanbase in dire of need of it - and I speak for all of Leaf Nation when I say it feels damn good to be building for the future.

That said, Burke's intentions are not necessarily the same as Cliff's. While he won't trade away all the assets brought in, he may attempt to change the core of the club, making the Leafs his team.

So Leafs player beware, you're now auditioning to keep your job in Toronto.

Here's a list of players I think Burke will try to move at some point this season:

Nikolai Antropov (contract year/2.050M cap hit):

The 6'6 Kazakhstan native is off to another solid season, garnering 9 goals and 19 points in 25 games. While Antropov has had issues with the injury bug in the past, he stayed relatively healthy last season, playing 72 games, and has yet to miss a contest this year. Antropov is also on pace for a second straight 50-60 point season. Combine that with his solid defensive game, and Antropov is a valuable commodity to any NHL club. Unlike Leafs players in the past, he is a solid contributor who doesn't own a NTC, so expect him to be moved in the coming weeks. Oh, and did I mention Burke dislikes European players?

Niklas Hagman (4yrs/3M cap hit):

Hagman has been a model of consistency, responsible defensive play, and an aggressive offensive attack. The speedy Finnish forward has 8 goals and 19 points so far this season, which puts him on pace to shatter his career-high 41 points last year. Considering this, Burke may look to trade the 29-year old, whose services are highly regarded around the league. While trading him may break the chemistry of the Hagman-Grabovski-Kulemin line, the assets coming in return could help the Leafs long-term.

Tomas Kaberle (3yrs/4.25M cap hit):

This will be a tricky one, but with Wilson making Kaberle ride the pine during the 1st period against the Phoenix Coyotes on Thusrday, convincing him to move may not be an impossible task. While the services of #15 are crucial to the Leafs' PP, and their entire offensive game, his return could bring in some valuable, young assets for the Leafs. However, Burke may want to wait until the Trade Deadline before unloading the offensive defenseman. With Kaberle's recent struggles, his value is not as high as it could be, and taking into account the Leafs' situation, they have to aim for the best possible return to further their quest for a deep and talented prospect pool.

Vesa Toskala (2yrs/4M cap hit):

The Finnish goaltender is on thin ice. Toskala has been struggling since the season's debut, and many Leafs fans are beginning to wonder if this will be ongoing affair. With the departure of Mats Sundin, many were expecting Toskala to carry the load and stand as the unprecedented leader of the club. That hasn't happened, and perhaps the added pressure is responsible for the inconsistency of the 31 year-old goaltender. Whatever the case, it would be in the Leafs' best interest to let Toskala play through his struggles. If he regains his form by the Trade Deadline, trading him would be a logical option.

Pavel Kubina (2yrs/5M cap hit):

Kubina, -9, has seen better days. Still, his value is relatively high and he's an asset to any club seeking a defenseman who can play both sides of the ice. While he refused a deal that would have sent him to the Sharks last season, it must be noted that he initially accepted the transaction. Considering the Leafs' struggles won't be disappearing anytime soon, the 31 year-old may look to pursue his career elsewhere.

Alexei Ponikarovsky (contract year/ 2.105M cap hit):

If you were to ask me, I'd say this is a guarantee. Ponikarovsky's highest point totals were in the 2006-07 season with 21 goals and 45 points. This season, he's garnered 8 goals and 18 points, which puts him on pace for 25 goals and 56 points. His value has never been higher, so trading him now could benefit the Leafs. It should be noted, however, that Ponikarovsky has been demoted to the third line, being replaced by Lee Stempniak. If his point totals begin to diminish, so will his value. If Burke is looking to unload Ponikarovsky, he should find some takers right away.

One thing is for certain, it's an exciting time to be a Leafs fan, not a Leafs player.
Filed Under:   Trade Deadline   Burke   Leafs   hockey  
December 6, 2008 4:09 PM ET | Delete
Hagman has a NTC for this year
December 6, 2008 4:13 PM ET | Delete
But other than that, I fully agree. Especially on Ponikarovsky.
December 6, 2008 5:30 PM ET | Delete
Excellent Blog Ron!!!(Crying Emoticon)
December 6, 2008 5:39 PM ET | Delete
good blog. i dont think hagman will be moved, ntc or not, but i do agree that all those others will be moved at some point between now and the deadline. i could also see burke hanging on to one of kubina and kaberle and dealing them at the draft rather than this years deadline, as i believe both their NTCs are wiped out this summer
December 6, 2008 6:31 PM ET | Delete
Has someone checked on Manics?
December 6, 2008 9:33 PM ET | Delete
I really agree... except for about Niklas Hagman... every time I see him play I am amazed that he signed with the leafs of all teams... I sincerely believe he could be part of the rise of this Maple Leafs team... :-)
December 6, 2008 9:43 PM ET | Delete
December 6, 2008 9:45 PM ET | Delete
It would be really nice if we could add Blake to the list. Watching tonight's game, his head is not in it. Awful just awful!!
December 7, 2008 10:27 AM ET | Delete
Trade this guy for picks and trade that guy for picks. Wow I didin't know things that didn't exist physically could pick up a hockey stick and play. If that's the case pick them up and put them on the ice. You and everyone else has to stop with this picks and prospects garbage you can't trade away everything and then expect a bunch of prospects or picks in return to play on your roster you need the veterans and or players that have been playing for at least 2 years or more to make yourself competitive. Man have no sense of hockey!
December 7, 2008 9:30 PM ET | Delete
Pecafan, I hope you realize that at some point or another almost every player in this league was a pick and/or prospect. The thing is, the Leafs *aren't* competitive and haven't been competitive and if they stay the course might not be competitive. The point of dealing for younger players and is first of all in the hope that you lose and are able to grab a top-flight talent at the draft (and there are a number of them in '09) and also so that your young players reach their potential at around the same time, which often results in a contending team. Obviously you'll have to fill out the roster, but you can give a number of spots to your younger players in order to help them acclimatize to the NHL (although another prevailing opinion is to make them wait, as Detroit does). You can also get some veterans, but that doesn't mean they have to be quality players.Right now, with the possible exception of Schenn, the Leafs don't have a franchise player. You can usually get one at the draft. Guys like Pat Kane, Crosby, Malkin, Ovechkin etc. up until recently could not be considered anything other than a pick or a prospect. And as a result, the 'Hawks, Caps, and Pens are set up to be competitive long-term, and more competitive than the Leafs are currently.
December 7, 2008 11:38 PM ET | Delete
Pecafan, you need to realize that this team will not be a contender anytime soon if we don't stockpile on picks and prospects. Face it, this team is not competitive nor will they ever (for the Cup) if they don't build towards the future..Yea, it ain't loads of fun watching them suck, but fans like you need to start looking at the benefits of tanking.I'm not suggesting you cheer against the Leafs, but atleast understand how bottoming out in the standings will help them long term.
December 8, 2008 4:14 AM ET | Delete
While I don't agree I do see your point! I hate seeing the Leafs miss the playoffs despite some fans opinions all I care about is hockey and the blue and white jersey I could care less who is the team as long as we are winning. I will however say that it would have been nice to have Gretzky I think he and Potvin were my 2 favorite players at the time.I just want a winning team I am 25 and I would like to see a cup on YOunge.
December 11, 2008 9:20 AM ET | Delete
I wonder if we could get Tucker back for Mayers.
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