With such a depleted 2012 free agent field, that has such a lack of talent compared to other free agent class in previous years, it looks like the Maple Leafs will have to go the trade route in order to improve this team this off-season.
First off, I want to make clear who I think will not be traded out of Toronto from now to till the end of the 2013 NHL trade deadline day. I have players such as Dion Phaneuf, Phil Kessel, Joffrey Lupul, John-Michael Liles, James Reimer and especially Jake Gardiner on the no touch list.
As for Maple Leafs’ who potentially could be packing their bags sooner rather than later could be Luke Schenn, who has had his fill of trade rumors swirl around him ever since the start of last season. Or player’s such as Colby Armstrong, Matthew Lombardi, and Clarke MacArthur who could be appealing to teams who need to reach to the salary cap floor.
A more attractive piece that Brian Burke could dangle in front of teams is Canadian Tyler Bozak who has a $1.5 million salary. I would certainly like Tim Connolly out of Toronto with his $4.5 million cap hit left on his contact with one year left to go.
On defense I still see several NHL teams pursuing defenseman Carl Gunnarsson.
As for who is truly available on the NHL trade market, only Brian Burke knows. By all means I could speculate who Burke could or should be going after. But as a Maple Leafs fan, all I want to see Burke acquiring is a starting goalie that is consistent and does not get hurt, along with a big, physical center-men.
Rant Sports Toronto Maple Leafs Feature Writer
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