As reported by RDS.Ca The Phoenix Coyotes have placed 28 year old Defenseman Nick Boynton on waivers.
As everyone knows the Leafs currently have 8 Defenseman signed and would probably ask why i would even contemplate a move involving another defenseman, however this is a move that could not only maintain the competitiveness of the Leafs top 6, which can be argued as one of the most solid (and for good reason, one of the most expensive) D corp's in the NHL, but would also add significant cap room to fill the blue and white's biggest need.
As everyone else also knows the Leafs most glaring weakness is up front, mainly a top line, top flight winger. After the trade with San Jose that brought Vesa Toskala and Mark Bell, along with another 3.5 million cap hit, the Leafs are left with reportedly around 5 million. Certainly not enough to pay the winger theyre looking for, and even if they could that would leave no money for a team in the top three in man games lost last season.
So here is my proposal. Attempt to, assuming reports are true and there is interest in Bryan McCabe, move Bryan for a package of draft picks including a first rounder in the upcoming 2008 draft and a second rounder in the 2008, along with another later pick. Then picking up hometown Nick Boynton off of waivers, who is signed for the next 2 seasons at 2.9 million. This saves the Leafs around 2.85 million dollars and gains more draft picks in what is considered a much stronger draft class, that very well may include Jonathan Tavares.
Now there are a number of Leafs fans who would be happy just trading Bryan's contract for the picks and not taking Boynton. Most of the arguments revolve around the Leafs needing to give the younger players a bigger role and stop adding players from elsewhere to fill holes. In this instance, however, by trading Bryan you are essentially moving the captain of the defence. He is the vocal leader on the back end and brings alot of intangibles that cant be measured in dollars and cents. Nick has been in this role before however, and i think would have no problem stepping in and giving the Leafs a solid, reliable, stay at home player who can play 20 minutes a game. His defensive game certainly has less holes than Bryan's, but of course his offensive production is nowhere close.
What these moves would do is essentially keep the same rotation intact, with Ian White and Carlo Coliacovo assuming more responsibility, and Boynton assuming a 3/4 role instead of have three 1/2 guys in Pavel Kubina, Tomas Kaberle and Bryan McCabe. Also Anton Stralman will have a chance to rotate as the 7th dman unless he blows people away at training camp and then makes things very interesting.
Doing the math: 43.5 - 5.75 + 2.9 = 40.65. Cap is reported at 48.5 - 50 million (with money being on 50). That means 10 million dollars, with a solid top 6 on D, a new goalie that everyone in the hockey world thinks is going to break out in a big way and just one real hole to fill up front.
But thats just me.