Thank you, Darren Dreger.
For some reason, a lot of Leaf fans really hate talking rumours; personally, I love it. A lot of the time it can feel like pointless speculation, and I understand that, but when a guy like Dreger starts talking about the Leafs and Flyers discussing a guy like Van Reimsdyk, why not take it seriously?
When you've got a General Manager like Brian Burke who isn't afraid to make a big splash and who will often spin the rumour mill himself, you shouldn't be surprised to see that there are a lot of names being associated with your team. What we've done below is take a look at some of the names that have been linked with the Leafs and what those players might mean to our club.
James Van Riemsdyk
Straight from the mouth of one of hockey's most well-reputed insiders, the Leafs and Flyers have had discussions around Van Riemsdyk. JVR is 22 years old and is a former 2nd overall draft pick. Right now, he has 11 goals and 11 assists and his best season to date is a 40 point, 75 games played campaign in 2010-11.
Needs he addresses: Van Riemsdyk would provide some much needed size to our top-6 forward group and scoring 21 goals as a 21 year-old is no small feat either. He's the kind of player who could grow with our current core of players.
Cost: Dreger suggested that the cost for JVR would be Luke Schenn +. That '+' could be Kulemin or could be Bozak (also according to Dregs).
From our point of view: You hear a lot of Leaf fans talking about how Luke Schenn is overrated --largely as a result of being the first significant pick of the rebuild-- but the truth is that defensive defensemen take a long time to develop. A lot of teams in the NHL like this guy (not just Leaf fans) and that's why so many rumours center around him. If it takes Schenn and Kulemin (a guy who scored 9 goals more than Van Riemsdyk last year and is a great all-around player) then personally, I'm not interested.
Another of hockey's insider All-Stars, Bob McKenzie, said last night that he felt Bobby Ryan was one of the most likely players to be moved by this season's trade deadline. The links to Burke are fairly obvious, as BB drafted Ryan second overall. Whether it's coincidence or by design, Burke does seem to love bringing in American nationals and Bobby Ryan also fits that mould. And then there's the prolific trading relationship with the Ducks.
Needs he addresses: At 6'2", Bobby Ryan doesn't fully address our need for a big forward, but he's no Montreal Canadien either. He's got the kind of dynamic offensive skill that only Kessel possesses in the Leafs' lineup and has 3 consecutive 30 goal seasons to his name.
Cost: The Ducks are adamant that they're not in a rebuild. They'll want more than picks and futures and again, Schenn is a name that is continuously popping up. It's hard to believe that the Leafs land a player of Ryan's calibre without parting with the young defenseman, probably a good forward from the roster (Kulemin or Grabovski), and likely their first rounder, or Kadri, or Colborne.
From our point of view: As we alluded to earlier, Kulemin is a big favourite of ours and Schenn is a guy that we still regard very highly. With that said, Bobby Ryan's flair is something that would provide some solid, consistent scoring to our second line and he's proven he doesn't need to be a first-liner to get it done. His contract (3 more years at a cap hit of $5.1M) is also Brian Burke-friendly.
Dave Pagnotta of The Fourth Period posted this year's version of his trade deadline rumour chart today and to precisely nobody's surprise, the Leafs figured prominently. Among the player's who figured into the Leafs' plans was none other than enigmatic Russian sniper, Alex Semin.
Needs he addresses: When he's at his best, Semin is among the NHL's best. With 40, 38, and 34 goals seasons on his resume, it's tough to argue that there's a better goal scorer to be had on the trade market. He's got a great shot and is a powerplay dynamo.
Cost: The Washington Capitals, for all of their struggles so far this season, are built to win now. The team has some of the league's most dynamic players and has more potential superstars coming. Add to this the fact that they hold the Avalanche's first round draft pick in the coming Entry Draft and it's safe to say that this team has no interest in futures. Despite Semin's struggles this season, they'd likely be looking for a package of Grabovski, Kulemin, and Gunnarsson to strengthen their squad heading into the post-season.
From our point of view: I don't profess to have the kind of connections that a guy like Dave Pagnotta does but come on!? Semin is miles from being a Brian Burke type of player, he's a UFA at season's end, and he's a KHL flight risk. Not to mention, he hasn't exactly been lighting it up over the past year-and-a-half. We're passing on Semin and I'd be shocked if Burke didn't too.
One of my own personal favourite players in the League, Getzlaf was 'put on the market' by Ducks' GM Bob Murray last week. Whether this was a wakeup call to his star players or an actual cry for offers has been the cause of much debate. Like Ryan, the links to Burke are plentiful and it comes as little surprise that once Getzlaf's name was mentioned by his own GM, people would start wondering if a deal with the Leafs was feasible.
Needs he addresses: Getzlaf adds size to our top-6 forwards and is the playmaking center that Kessel hasn't skated with since Marc Savard. He's 26, has traditionally been better than a point-per-game forward, and he's had playoff and Olympic success.
Cost: Similar to Bobby Ryan, Getzlaf is going to cost a combination of current roster players and futures. My guess is, to the extent that Getzlaf is 'on the market' it would take an astronomical offer to pry the talented center from California. Schenn, Kulemin, Kadri, and a 1st would get the Ducks listening but I'm still not sure, even at that price, he moves.
From our point of view: There are dissenting opinions here at BCP but since I'm writing the piece, I say you try your best to make this happen. If the package is greater than the one listed above, then I would shy away but if it's close to my best guess then I reluctantly pull the trigger.
Remember in the summer when we were all hoping that Paul Stastny would sour on the Avs has fast as his father did and then fall gently into the arms of Leaf Nation? Well, it seems like those rumours are back. Stastny looks like he may have fallen behind both Matt Duchene and Ryan O'Reilly on the Avs' center depth chart. The Avs also traded away their first rounder to the Capitals and would probably like to prop themselves up and stay out of the lottery.
Needs he addresses: While Stastny has struggled this season, he's a playmaking center and would probably be a great fit on the Leafs' top line. At 26, he has his prime seasons ahead of him and would be a good fit for the young core of the Leafs' lineup.
Cost: It's really tough to say what the Avs would be looking for. Surely, they don't want to be a lottery team but at the same time, they'll be looking to re-coup some of the futures they squandered in the Varlamov deal. A roster player like Kulemin and a top prospect like Kadri might interest the Avalanche if they feel like Stastny's contract ($6.6M) would be tough to move and are comfortable with O'Reilly and Duchene moving forward.
From our point of view: Stastny's contract is enough to scare us off. While it's true, he'd be a great fit with Lupul and Kessel, the risk of having another highly paid player that doesn't perform at the same level as their cap-hit is something the Leafs can ill afford. Tough to know if he'll ever get back to being the player who hovered around the point-per-game mark early in his career.
For more musings and opinions on Leaf targets, who on our roster shouldn't be expendable, and the odd dig at the Habs and Sens, check us out at @bcphockeyblog