Since the departure of Mats Sundin the Leafs have been barking loudly that they are on the hunt for a top line centre. From the sorry excuses of Nik Antropov, Matt Stajan and Joey Crabb, to the decent installment of Tyler Bozak the leafs have still not filled this gap.
I totally agree that the Leafs Defence needs to be upgraded. However, Rome wasn't built in a day. If the Leafs want to make noise in the coming years, now is the time to act. The Leafs will be unable to draft a guarenteed lock at centre since we are no longer drafting high enough to acquire immediate impact players. Also, I have heard to the point of nauseam "that number 1 centres don't just grow on trees or fall in your lap", well right now they are!
Specifically , Ryan Kesler, this guy is everything the Leafs have wanted for years. He is a big body, who loves to take the body, is solid defensively (a Selke Trophy Winner), can skate, is offensively gifted, blocks shots and is a leader. In my opinion Ryan Kesler is the American version of Jonathan Towes. Everyone relax! Im not saying he is the carbon copy or just as good, however, his intangibles make him a great poor mans Towes.
Darren Dreger has reported the asking price is Kadri, Gardiner or Reilly and a 1st. I would not trade Reilly unless it is for a top 10 player in the NHL, so one would imagine Gardiner is most likely the defenceman the Leafs would move. Now I understand their are better offers available but they leafs have depth players Vancouver would love,
Kadri, Gardiner, Kulemin and a 1st
The Canucks need more players to fit Torts defensive structure and Kulemin is just that, plus he is a physical body, who can score when placed on an offensive unit, and who can strengthen the Canucks depth.
This would be my final offer to the Canucks for Kesler and one that would push the Leafs up a couple spots in the standings and every push forward is necessary to getting this team to the promise land. I understand with Kesler the Leafs are not a contender yet, but they can be with Kesler and it is hard to believe they could be with Kadri, Gardiner and Kulemin.