In keeping with the format established yesterday of looking at the top prospects and how the Leafs could acquire them, the second edition of Leafs Draft Day Musings is focused on ISS second ranked forward prospect Filip Forsberg. Forsberg has spent his entire developmental career in Sweden, playing for both Leksand IF of Allsvenskan, and the Jr20 Superelite league. He is billed as a winger, but has spent time as a center which would be in the long list of Toronto’s draft day needs. He is listed at 6’2″ and 180Lbs which would bring some of the size needs that the Leafs have as well.
The current holder of the number two pick is the Columbus Blue Jackets, a team that looks like it is on the cusp of completely falling apart. The captain requested a trade at some point last season, the high profile player that was aggressively pursued in the offseason is currently competing for a Stanley Cup with the Los Angeles Kings, and they might be the only team in the NHL with less stability in goal than the Leafs. The only bright light for the Jackets is that in the trade that sent Jeff Carter to LA, return acquisition Jack Johnson appears to have embraced his new locale and may help bring a sense of bonding to a team that was in disarray for long stretches last season.
The Jackets will be apprehensive in trading for any particular player after the Carter debacle, but this whole episode screams of Scott Howson’s failure to perform his due diligence in making the trade. He should have tested the waters with Carters agent before pulling the trigger on the trade, he may not have went all in if he knew Carter would want nothing to do with his team. That being said, this lesson will make any trade more difficult with the Jackets.
Both the Leafs and the Jackets have needs across the board, so it is difficult with any accuracy to say what kind of maneuver it would take for Burke to go from fifth to second. The Jackets worse than anything else seem to want to take Nail Yakupov from all of the rumors currently being circulated. Second will probably not get them there, fifth will definitely not get them there. There really seems no scenario that Toronto move into the two spot from the five spot. In short, if the Leafs want Forsberg, they will have to hope that his stock drops him to the five spot.
The more likely scenario is that Toronto use the five pick in an effort to land Blue Jackets captain and malcontent, Rick Nash. Contrary to popular belief, Nash will be a little tougher to move mostly due to his massive contract. He will be the highest paid player on almost any team he gets sent to, and for many teams this will be an issue. His arrival could also make current players like Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul somewhat expendable. The trade for Nash will be all the talk of the week leading up to the draft, and if Toronto wants a shot, it might look something like this;
Rick Nash, Steve Mason
2012 Fifth Overall, 2012 Sixty Sixth Overall, Rights to RFA Nikolai Kulemin, D Jesse Blacker
Now this one will get me jumped all over, and probably rightly so. The Leafs get their man Nash, and the Jackets who are strapped not by salary cap but by a general lack of money can ditch close to $3 million on Mason. The Leafs lose the picks and a pretty good defensive prospect, and also Kulemin which is the bigger risk in my opinion. Kulemin has not really defined what player he is yet, the thirty goal scorer of two years ago or the seven goal scorer of last season. In my honest opinion, while most won’t agree, I think Toronto gets somewhat fleeced by the deal that I proposed. The two draft picks are big, especially such a high one, but to bring in a player of Nash’s ability would go a long way to getting the forward group on track. Personally, I would prefer that they forget Nash altogether and make a strong run at Shane Doan, a centreman, that could cost them nothing but cash (watch for this if Goldwater takes Glendale to court over the lease agreement, Jamison may not have any way to approve a budget for the team by July 1’st)
Likelyhood of this trade occurring – 3% chance based only on the fact that the Leafs are on his list of destinations and the two high picks could move Columbus into the top slot.
Tomorrow will continue in the tradition looking at both the Montreal Canadiens and defensive prospect Ryan Murray.