2008/09 Minnesota Wild Season Preview
The Leafs need to trade a defenseman…. but whom?
As the NHL season gets closer to beginning, some teams are looking to subtract and add in positions of strength and weakness. Looking at the defensemen for the leafs there are 10 legitimate NHL defensemen.
Now if I was Cliff Fletcher I’d say two defensemen can go. Ideally getting Tomas Kaberle out would be best. Let’s face it, the leafs are going nowhere soon and if we could have snagged Jeff Carter and a first rounder at the trade deadline last year. Which was wildly believed to be on the table from the Flyers, then the leafs need to look at what we can get for #15. But they will hold onto him because they know getting max value for Kaberle will come at the trade deadline, when teams are desperate. The other thing to consider is Kaberle’s no trade clause which only vanishes if the leafs make the playoffs, don’t count on it.
Pavel Kubina isn’t going anywhere because he’s a favourite of Ron Wilson, and Wilson has enough pull with Cliff Fletcher to make sure his favourites stay. The two guys who could get the Leafs some value are Ian White and Carlo Colaiacovo. Ian White is a puck moving defensemen who is good in his own end and can contribute offensively. Colaiacovo is of the same mould but is injury prone, which makes him less valuable on the trade market. Another positive in trading White is his minimal yearly contract. Ian White is making under 1 million dollars for the next 3 years, before he becomes a RFA. This is almost as valuable as his talent, when it comes to the NHL in the salary cap era.
Look for the Pittsburgh Penguins to make a play for a defensemen now that they’ve lost Sergei Gonchar for the next 4-6 months. The Pittsburgh Penguins are not as strong as last year with the loss of Gonchar and Ryan Whitney. Replacing the both of them with a half decent veteran player is a must for them to get back to the top of the NHL.
If Fletcher is smart, he will use his influx of defensemen to help solidify the forwards, who are some of the weakest in the NHL. If the Leafs can turn a valuable defensemen such as Tomas Kaberle into forward prospects or draft picks, it could help accelerate the rebuilding process.