Mikhail Grabovski - Brian Burke seems to like this kid, and over the past couple seasons his maturation has been evident. He is unrestricted on July 1’st but a slow start may have cost him some negotiating leverage. It’s hard to gauge what the market would be for this type of player, but teams such as the Pittsburgh Penguins or Minnesota Wild are both very limited offensively due to injuries, and may be looking for the kind of secondary scoring Grabo can provide. I just don’t see a return big enough for Burke to deal this particular forward.
John Michael Liles – The acquisition of Liles over the summer turned out to be a great use of a second round pick. The former Avalanche defenseman has been a huge part in the current third ranked power-play, and his veteran leadership has been noteworthy in a very young dressing room. He is heading into unrestricted free agency this Canada day, and further complicating the situation is the concussion that may have been suffered from this hit by Buffalo Sabres center Paul Gaustad. I’m not quite sure how he can be moved while concussed, and would bet that he is not leaving.
Luke Schenn - Schenn has struggled much of this season, and his ice time has reflected that. He is a tough player to get a grasp on as he seems to have a limited ceiling on talent. While he is very popular among Leafs fans, his age and comparative contract would seem to make him attractive to any team looking for a defensive defenseman. While the Philadelphia Flyers have been rumored to have interest, I would find it hard to believe he would be dealt within the conference.
Cody Franson – If you would have asked two months ago if Cody Franson would be moved, the answer would more like have been yes. After a good solid two month stint due to injuries and under performing of other players, Franson got a chance. He has since thrived both at even strength and while getting opportunities on the power-play. I would not call him immovable, but he has clearly increased his value within the organization and possibly made a player like Luke Schenn a bit more expendable.
I would not even know where to begin as far as players that would be drawing the interest of Brian Burke. He has been vocal in recent weeks about increasing the size of his top six forward group, but those players don’t grow on trees. One target I would suspect is former Pittsburgh Penguin and current Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ryan Malone. Burke has liked this player for a long time, and with the Leafs in excess of defenseman, and the Lightning currently sparse in that area, a deal could possibly be made.
As for all the rumors that have popped up over the last month regarding Eric Staal, Rick Nash, and Jeff Carter, These kind of deals are not likely to happen mid season. Look for this kind of trade to happen closer to the draft or opening of free agency when teams are looking to open cap space.
Special Note Tomorrow the remaining roster spots for the 2012 NHL All Star Game in Ottawa will be announced. It would not be very surprising to see both Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul added to the group tomorrow.