I had an interesting thought today, and really don't know if it is do-able under the CBA, but would certainly be a bold move...if it were possible.
This is pretty out there. Here's how it would work.
Cliff Fletcher announces this week that Darcy Tucker will be bought out.
Tucker is bought out and gets a nice little sum of $1 million or so a year for a few years. Teams step up and express their interest .
July 1 comes and Fletcher offers Tucker a 1 year deal with Toronto because he feels that Mats won't be back. There's no special clause in this package, just a gentleman's agreement that Tucker won't be traded before February.
Why would the Leafs do this? (if it is even possible), ....
(1) Tucker gets what he wants, and effectively gets a raise.
(2) Toronto now has a tradeable asset for the trade deadline, and if through some miracle they are a competitive team this year, he's there for a play-off run with a chance to show he's still got it.
(3) considering the buy-out bucks, Tucker could be given a very affordable contract to finish out this season and would make him highly sought after at play-off time. (If dealt - the asking price could be higher.)
It was pretty out there when I heard the idea, but the more I think about it, the more it might make sense for all involved. And Fletcher has always been a creative sort of GM....so never say never.