Monday, January 26, 2009

Leafs/Panthers Talking Again

sports interaction review

Toronto has traded with no team more than they have traded with the Florida Panthers over the past year. The Leafs have sent McCabe, Belak and Kilger to the sunshine state since last year's deadline, while the Leafs have gotten back picks and Van Ryn in return.

Eklund, Garrioch and others have been talking about the Leafs showing serious interest in Jay Bouwmeester, and they are 100% right. With that said, I'm hearing the deal is bigger than that.

First, you may ask why the Leafs would give up something they could potentially get on July 1st for nothing. The Leafs have taken this avenue in the past (Adam Foote is one that really comes to mind) and failed. Burke doesn't want to make this mistake, and understands that Bouwmeester is a guy they could really build a strong defense around.

The first part going to Florida would be Kaberle. He'd be willing to go to Florida, as he is good friends with McCabe and would love to be re-united with him. Florida would take Kaberle, as skill-wise they wouldn't be downgrading much, if at all, from losing Bouwmeester.

Nathan Horton is the next player to come into this discussion. The forward is very unhappy in Florida, and is hoping to be dealt at the deadline. Toronto has serious interest in Horton, and is looking to get Florida to package him with Bouwmeester.

Aside from Kaberle, Florida would be looking for a younger player to go the other way. Grabovski, Kulemin and Tlusty are all names being mentioned. Depending on the young player the Leafs choose to include, a draft pick may also be necessary. In this case, it would likely be a draft pick the Leafs have yet to acquire, but will in the coming weeks when they deal players such as Antropov, Ponikarovsky, Kubina, etc.

While this deal is not imminent, I can confirm it is being largely discussed. Burke is eager to start building "his" team, and both of these players fit the mould that Burke wants to form.

Look for Burke to address the goaltending situation soon as well, with Pogge being called up in the next 10 days to get some work. There are currently rumours that even Pogge could be dealt, in hopes to bring in a proven #1 goalie. Names to look at include Giguere and Backstrom.

Sit tight, this is an exciting time in Leaf land.