The Stanley Cup has been through Hollywood and is now on a trip that up close resembles Hunter S. Thompson’s classic novel “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”. With only three days remaining until the draft the mainstream media is in full out blitz mode looking to gather every detail of what plans each team has going into Friday. The Leafs presently occupy the #5 slot Friday night and so far this week it has been postulated that;
1. It will be sent to Columbus as part of a Rick Nash trade
2. They will try to flip the pick and move up in draft order
3. They will attempt to flip the pick and move down the draft order
4. Roberto Luongo will be a Maple Leafs by the time Burke gets up to the stage
5. An offer sheet on Cary Price is imminent
6. Paul Stastny may be a target to fill the top 6 center spot
7. Justin Schultz will be a member of the Maple Leafs come July 1′st
And this was just based on the Monday radio reports and newspaper clippings. As you can see there is a diverse opinion out there on what will/should happen, and somehow almost half of these reports are being confirmed by everybody’s favorite operative, “sources”. Not to say that these things are all made up, but it makes one wonder if the Leafs front office employs an entire staff for the sole purpose of misdirection this time of year. Whoever they are, this website has no sources what-so-ever, just opinions.
The items mentioned above that may be worth noting as distinct possibilities, namely numbers 2, 4, 6, and 7 on the list. Breaking them down one by one;
The Leafs will try to flip the pick and move up in the order kind of speaks to the obvious. Burke has attempted this each time he has had a high draft pick with the Leafs (once). The real question then becomes, how realistic is it? The Edmonton Oilers are a possibility, but based on the campaign there front office has undertaken to fully discredit Nail Yakupov as a legitimate top prospect, they are also a bit of a loose cannon. Columbus may move down depending on what they deem their needs are (everything). The chances of Montreal and Toronto flipping picks is about as likely as me getting a professional tryout contract in the ECHL, just not happening. The New York Islanders may also look to move back, but the jump at that point would really serve no purpose except to guarantee that the player they want is available, most likely done on the draft floor. I would give the chances of flipping the pick of 50%.
The Leafs will try to run at Roberto Luongo, and Don Cherry will proceed to mispronounce his name in prime time right up until the CBC contract is up and they lose the broadcast rights. This one has me rather conflicted because the idea of a good goalie in Toronto is kind of scary. James Reimer was an awesome story because he came out of left field, there were no expectations. This city and expectations are a rather lethal mix for players and if Vancouver turned on the guy, it certainly feels like bad things in the making. On the other hand, the last Leafs goalie to be in the top ten of any category was Ed Belfour, which was far too long ago. I would give the chances of this happening at 70%. Dave Nonis traded for (stole) the guy once, i’m not sure he would hesitate to try it again.
Trading with Colorado for Paul Stastny is a wild card in the pack. They partnered last season to send John Michael Liles to Toronto, which if you discount the injury woes was quite successful. The Avalanche are a strange team in term of building a roster as they seem unfazed by moving parts others in the hockey world would deem untouchable. Statsny has two years left at six million plus, but he has a history with Burke on the team USA roster in 2010. He is a top six forward, although he does not bring the sandpaper that Leaf management may find lacking in the current group of players. He may also be the most attainable of any forward this off season, and with limited competition dictating the cost. I would put the chances of this happening at 40%.
Justin Schultz has been rumored to be Bay St. Bound since he refused his contract with the Ducks after leaving school. He was drafted by Burke and was college teammate to current Leaf Jake Gardiner. The two were both products of the Anaheim Ducks until Gardiner was sent to Toronto with Joffrey Lupul in exchange for Francois Beuchemin in February of 2010. Stories have been circulating about some unspoken arrangement Gardiner and Schultz have to play together, the Leafs have also been informally accused of tampering with the young man. The fact of the story is that 29 teams have an equal shot at Schultz come July 1′st because the contract offer is capped. The Leafs may have a slight edge in that it is widely known that Burke was trying to land the player in the trade that netted Gardiner. I would place the chances of this happening at better than 3o%.
As mentioned above, this site has no sources at all. The percentages given are based on nothing more than gut feeling. We will be working all forms of social media all week to attempt to bring the most up to date coverage of any trades that may happen in the next several days and weeks, and as always appreciate your continued following.