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I hate you, Toronto, ON • Canada • 27 Years Old • Male
With news breaking about the Chicago Blackhawks possibly making a critical error in filing qualifying offers to Restricted Free Agents Cam Barker, Kris Versteeg, Ben Eager, Colin Fraser, Aaron Johnson and Troy Brouwer, I can’t help but think Brian Burke is salivating at the thought of acquiring two players who would strenghten the Leafs' core in an instant.

Those two players are Barker and Versteeg. The pair of twenty-three year-olds are coming off remarkable seasons with the Blackhawks. Barker had a career-year, scoring 6 goals, 34 assists and 40 points. The 6'3, 222 pound offensive defenseman is the kind of player the Leafs could potentially replace Tomas Kaberle with -- should Burke opt to trade him, of course.

Versteeg, who played his first full season in the NHL, performed at a surprising rate, notching 53 points and 22 goals. While he lacks size (5'10, 180 pounds), he is said to have defensive awareness in his own end, which will help him have a lenghty career in the NHL despite his smallish stature. His role in the NHL is yet to be determined, but there's no denying his potential -- 4 goals and 12 points in 17 playoff games, anyone?

Burke, who has close to 10 million dollars in cap space, has the flexibility to not only offer the duo contracts (should they be rendered Unrestricted Free Agents), but to also stay in the hunt for UFA goaltender Jonas Gustavsson, who is believed to make his decision in the coming days.

While Dave Nonis informed the media today that the Leafs are done with signings until the dust settles, you can bet that claim will be withdrawled should the Blackhawks epic fail with their qualifying offers.

Of course, adding another defenseman in Barker would further crowd the Leafs' defense. But no worries, this is the kind of problem GM's pray for. Particularly those whose names start with Bryan and end with Murray.

If Barker joins the mix, then all indications point to the trading of Kaberle, who would presumably be shipped for a young scoring forward.

So let's recap the potential events should the Blackhawks fail to secure their RFA's:

1) Leafs acquire Cam Barker and Kris Versteeg

2) Kaberle traded for a young scoring forward (Phil Kessel?) and/or prospects


Leafs upgrade their defense to a god-like level and acquire forwards to start building the top-six. Epic.

This is probably a dream, of course, but it's fun to speculate. It is a possible scenario, though, so is it really that absurd?

Probably. But hey, at the end of the day it doesn't really matter because I'll still wake up every morning knowing that the Leafs are going to completely manhandle the Montreal Canadiens' Fellowship of the Midgets next season.
Filed Under:   Leafs   Versteeg   Barker   Burke  
July 4, 2009 1:33 AM ET | Delete
Good read... especially that last bit hahaha
July 4, 2009 1:53 AM ET | Delete
do you really think kessel will be swapped for kaberle?
July 4, 2009 2:17 AM ET | Delete
pipe dream
July 4, 2009 2:22 AM ET | Delete
http://thefourthperiod.com/news/chi090704.html Fun to dream for a couple of hours there, bwhahaha :D
July 4, 2009 3:00 AM ET | Delete
i think its a legitment possibillity all though come on we all know van ryn is going to the marlies next season possibly stempniak too all though I think you got the leafs cap number a little off they had 15 million available comming into this season orr thats a million Komi thats 4.5 million and 5.5 in total dropping the number down to 9.5 they traded Kubina that brings the number back up to 14.5 exelby i believe is 1.75 so the leafs are looking at about 12 mil and change left..
July 4, 2009 3:01 AM ET | Delete
and if vanryn and stempniak are sent down your looking at a additional 5.4 million there.... all though if u sign versteeg you kinda gotta sign him based on potential which is dangerous but at this point id be for it...
July 4, 2009 6:36 AM ET | Delete
Possibly a dream?There will only be 29 other teams looking to capitalize on this....and the Leafs have pretty much blown their load in comparison to some teams that actually have left the room to tempt these kids.
July 4, 2009 1:37 PM ET | Delete
Pandofan, I don't think the Leafs have blown their proverbial load. I was actualy thinking the opposite. They are one of the few teams that have a significant amount of cap space left and can still shed salary. Do I think this will happen... no. Those players want to stay there and the NHL will probably end up letting this slide as the Hawks were such a success last year and GB wants it to stay that way.
July 4, 2009 2:52 PM ET | Delete
July 4, 2009 2:57 PM ET | Delete
July 4, 2009 10:21 PM ET | Delete
No one will get the chance at any of these players....the NHL won't allow it...next dream...
July 5, 2009 11:36 AM ET | Delete
at least there's still Rick Nash... oh wait...
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