Thread: Eklund: leafs rumor
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12-09-2010, 03:46 PM
  #37
Dogbert*
 
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I took the liberty of compiling a list of the top three picks who are a) still in the NHL, b) past their entry-level deals, and c) playing for teams with less than $1 million in cap space. They are:

- 2007: Kane
- 2006: Staal, Toews
- 2005: Crosby
- 2004: Malkin
- 2003: Fleury, Horton
- 2002: Bouwmeester
- 2001: Kovalchuk, Spezza
- 2000: Heatley
- 1999: Sedins
- 1998: Stuart
- 1997: Thornton, Marleau, Jokinen
- 1996: Phillips
- 1993: Pronger
- 1988: Modano

Now, let's pare this down:

- Kane, Toews, Crosby, Malkin, Heatley, the Sedins, Thornton, Marleau and Pronger simply aren't moving.

- Horton and Kovalchuk were acquired too recently and won't be moved again.

- The Leafs aren't going to trade for more D and goalies. They need forwards. Scratch Fleury, Bouwmeester, Stuart and Phillips.

- Modano is injured long-term and may not return this year, so he's out.

That leaves Jordan Staal, Jason Spezza and Olli Jokinen. Staal and Spezza have both been involved in trade rumours before, and there are plausible reasons why their teams might want to move them: Staal is paid $4 million per year to be Pittsburgh's third-line center and the Pens may want to spend that on other areas, such as a winger for Crosby, whereas Spezza has been underachieving for quite a while at a cap hit of $7 million. For his part, Jokinen could be had for a crap in a jar if you're desperate.

I think Spezza is the one that makes the most sense. The Leafs need a talented, creative, playmaking center for their top line, while Ottawa needs a physical defensive blueliner, of which the Leafs have a few. Of course, Toronto would need to sweeten the pot quite a bit, but that's what I see here.

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