The Kovalchuk shoe is apparently about to drop and Leaf fans everywhere are waiting for Brian Burke to pick up that shoe and run away with it himself. This is surely not a man who is afraid of making big moves - as has been overly blogged and discussed. All of which has left Leaf nation refreshing computer screens on strict bi-hourly schedules - in July. Things have certainly changed around here.
You could say I'm nervous. When you're expecting the unexpected it can get a little tense.
With a Kaberle deal already a forgone conclusion to some and names such as Wayne Simmonds, Bobby Ryan and James Neal being mentioned as possible future Leafs -- a lot of different scenerios are on the table. Just don't be shocked if Mr. Burke flips that table in an Irish rage and does something completely off the board. This is what Brian Burke does. This is why I'm nervous.
Schenn's name has been churned up in the rumour mill and is definately a playable card for the Leafs. The argument being that they already have a Schenn on their roster - and he just so happens to be the Captain. Schenn became expendable when Phaneuf came to town. Burke defended not trading him for a lottery pick in the 2009 draft by saying he could be the future captain of the Leafs - and he can't be saying that anymore. Rumour has it another first round pick was offered for Schenn at this years edition of the draft which Burke again pulled away from. A really nice piece of the puzzle would have to come back in return for any deal involving Schenn, but I wouldn't be suprised if both Kaberle and Schenn were sent packing. You shouldn't be suprised either.
Grabovski is a throw in on any Leafs fan trade speculations - but I sincerely doubt there's much interest at his salary. His value should be rock bottom with GM's aware of Brian Burke's growing desire to rid himself of the man they call the 3rd Kostitsyn brother. Maybe a 4th / 5th round pick at best.
Burke has maintianed that he has no interest in Kovalchuk and with 100 million dollar deals being thrown around - he shouldn't be. But you know Burke has a 1-5 year deal on the table hoping Kovalchuk will take less tenure and money for a bigger hockey fanbase. I mean - he's been lost in the hockey abyss that is Atlanta for what seems like a decade. I can't imagine him joining Toronto to win - but that's never really been his style. Probably will not happen; but again, don't be suprised if it did.
Expect the unexpected.
Phaneuf, Kessel, Versteeg, Armstrong and Giguere are the only untouchables Maple Leafs. Any other roster player and/or prospects could very well be in play. Despite all the talk of more wingers on the way (most notably Simmonds) the Leafs still need some bodies up the middle. Preferably one of the first line variety. Kaberle for Simmonds may infact go down - but don't expect the dancing to be over.
Any one of Marc Savard, Patrice Bergeron, Patrick Sharp, Cody Hodgson, Joe Thornton or even John Tavares could be feeding Phil Kessel this fall.
.... just don't be suprised if they do.