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Have the Maple Leafs’ castoffs suddenly become ‘added value’ players?

Sportsnet's Damien Cox suggests that the Toronto Maple Leafs must take an aggressive approach to pre-draft-day trades in order to move out bodies and bring in both younger prospects and picks, and while this entry fits under, "KK Hockey" more than my blog, I (George) read this as a Red Wings fan and thought, "How did two months suddenly turn Toronto's trash into another man's treasure?"

To be in position to get the best players over the next few years, more picks are needed and winning has to become a secondary goal, which means people have to go. Phaneuf almost went at the trade deadline to Detroit, and that’s a scenario that will be revisited, even though the Leafs have yet to hire a new general manager. Shanahan feels comfortable making major deals with Mark Hunter, Kyle Dubas and Mike Babcock at his side, and the Red Wings may be willing to give up the futures now that they weren’t willing to relinquish in March when a deal that featured Phaneuf going to Motown for the contract of Stephen Weiss and defenceman Brendan Smith wasn’t concluded because the Leafs also wanted futures the Wings weren’t willing to surrender at that point.

Yes, because Teemu Pulkkinen scoring like a machine during two-and-a-half rounds of the Grand Rapids Griffins' playoffs = he's totally redundant.

Kessel, meanwhile, has seven years to go at $8 million per, but even in an off, off season he potted 25 goals. There’s no obvious match here, but lots of teams failed in the playoffs or missed them because they struggled to score and could have interest in the winger.

And so they're supposed to surrender major compensation for someone described by the Toronto media as nothing more than a malcontent and a cancer?

Bozak and Lupul would be the next two on the list, and if Kessel can’t be moved, they are easier to deal. Lupul has three years left at $5.25 million, Bozak three more at $4.2 million.

The Leafs have demonstrated in the David Clarkson trade with Columbus and the Phaneuf talks with Detroit they’re willing to absorb salary if that’s what it takes to make a deal. Moreover, they’re keenly aware that once the free agent market opens July 1, and with the cap likely to increase only to about $71 million, their options to move these players are likely to be reduced significantly as budgets get spent.

That doesn't mean their prices have gone up since the trade deadline, when the Leafs weren't able to consummate deals for any of the above-listed players.

Cox continues, and I'm not trying to rip the guy, but let's just say I think his take on the value of the players the Maple Leafs' press corps bashed for the entire 2014-15 season aren't any higher because other teams are desperate to take the Leafs' problem children on this summer.

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brendan+shanahan, david+clarkson, detroit+red+wings, dion+phaneuf, joffrey+lupul, kyle+dubas, mike+babcock, phil+kessel, toronto+maple+leafs, tyler+bozak

Comments

tkfergy's avatar

I know this is an unpopular opinion, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Kessel in red, especially with Franzen likely out for good.

Posted by tkfergy on 06/13/15 at 01:47 AM ET

Chet's avatar

not on his deal.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 06/13/15 at 04:23 AM ET

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Pretty much not at his $8M/yr contract or whatever it is. He’s a known problem in the locker room and his contract is ridiculous. It would be one thing if he were a leader and loved by all his teammates, but when a player is an ass who is disliked by his team and underperformes significantly and is one of the more expensive players in the league… My feeling is that Toronto’s going to have to eat at least $3M/yr in salary just to get rid of him. Especially with the cap not rising.

Posted by teldar on 06/13/15 at 08:45 AM ET

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That doesn’t mean their prices have gone up since the trade deadline, when the Leafs weren’t able to consummate deals for any of the above-listed players.

Is there any evidence that they tried actively to unload their non-rentals?  The only one Whose name I can remember coming up is Phaneuf and by all accounts it was the Wings who approached the Leafs and not the other way around.

Posted by Garth on 06/13/15 at 08:47 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

To be in position to get the best players over the next few years, more picks are needed and winning has to become a secondary goal, which means people have to go.

If that statement is true, then what would make Cox think that a team like Detroit would be willing to offer more for Phaneuf now than they offered at the trade deadline? When it’s a buyer’s market (i.e., the seller has to sell), the price goes down, Damien, not up.

But no matter what the price is, I wouldn’t touch any of the four guys mentioned above. The only way the Wings should give up any of their significant “futures” is if they’re part of a deal for at least a #2-#3 defenseman or a true difference-maker power forward.

Barring that, I’m with those who want the Wings to either buy out Weiss or give him a true chance to prove he can be the #2 (or, at worst, the #3 center) while they “grow from within” by letting the kids prove their worth. If they haven’t done that by the trade deadline, the Wings can try to clean house and get a fresh start next June.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 06/13/15 at 09:38 AM ET

DocF's avatar

Kessel has been proven to be toxic in the room, so why would Detroit even consider that guy?  Maybe for 1.5 million and make it abundantly clear that any crap from him will yield a one way ticket to Toledo.  He is almost as useful as Cleary.

I presume that Babcock coveted Phaneuf and that is why an effort was made to get him.  Once people realize that the only reason he is where he has been slotted is because John Buccigross was/is fascinated with his unusual name, then his talents will be viewed with dispassionate eyes.  He is a 5-6-7 blueliner and no better.  He is a big guy of limited skills and pretty much a naturally non-agressive style of play.  Detroit already has this guy in its #2 slot.

Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 06/13/15 at 10:17 AM ET

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He is a 5-6-7 blueliner and no better.

That is patently ridiculous.  Absolutely ridiculous.

Or maybe you were being the most sarcastic person ever and I didn’t get it, in which case I apologize and commend you on your funny sarcastic joke.

Posted by Garth on 06/13/15 at 10:31 AM ET

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I didn’t think that the article read like they were interested in driving up prices for their players. I read the article more as they need to look for more trade partners and be willing to do what it takes to unload some of those contracts.

Posted by teldar on 06/13/15 at 11:31 AM ET

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Garth, I don’t think Doc likes Phaneuf at all. I’ve seen a few other comments of his saying he’s a pylon and doesn’t have a whole lot of value.
I havent’ watched enough Leafs to have an opinion of him other than that people feel he is a reasonably strong positional defenseman who doesn’t have the greatest skating and takes stupid penalties occasionally. But that he is somewhat agressive. That’s not my assessment, that’s just what I’ve read people say about him.

Posted by teldar on 06/13/15 at 11:34 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

I didn’t think that the article read like they were interested in driving up prices for their players. I read the article more as they need to look for more trade partners and be willing to do what it takes to unload some of those contracts.

Posted by teldar

If you’re referring to what I posted, tedlar, here’s what Cox wrote that I thought was just plain silly…

...the Red Wings may be willing to give up the futures now that they weren’t willing to relinquish in March when a deal that featured Phaneuf going to Motown for the contract of Stephen Weiss and defenceman Brendan Smith wasn’t concluded because the Leafs also wanted futures the Wings weren’t willing to surrender at that point.

He’s suggesting that the Wings may be willing to pay more now for Phaneuf than they were at the trade deadline. And that came after he claims the Leafs are in a position where “people have to go.”

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 06/13/15 at 01:35 PM ET

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I meant George, OTC. I wasn’t sure what Cox meant about the futures comment.

Posted by teldar on 06/13/15 at 08:35 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

I meant George, OTC. I wasn’t sure what Cox meant about the futures comment.

Posted by teldar

Okay, got it, tedlar. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 06/13/15 at 10:56 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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