If you have read any newspaper within 200 kilometres of Toronto you will have seen at least one headline referring to the slumping Toronto Maple Leafs. People have been publicly voicing their opinions. "Fire the coach, fire the general manager, trade players for prospects or lose on purpose to get the number one overall pick in the NHL entry draft," are some ideas put out there. If I were John Ferguson Junior (general manager) I would trade some players like Jason Blake, Bryan McCabe, Nik Antropov and Andrew Raycroft for prospects and draft picks. This will increase the Leafs chance at getting the number one overall pick which will more than likely be Canadian Steven Stamkos.
Avid fans in Leaf nation can be tough at times and most notably when the team is struggling. Andrew Raycroft hasn't been playing great this year so fans are suggesting trade him for a bag of pucks. The Leafs have a good young goalie progressing in the minors named Justin Pogge. Pogge is a Canadian but was a late round draft pick with a great future ahead of him. He should start to see some playing time in the NHL next season and could replace Raycroft as the backup goalie. Trading Raycroft would seem like a good idea but is harder than it seems. He has a yearly salary of two million this year so the Leafs would more than likely have to pay part of that to complete a trade.
In past years, potential free agents have been obtained by Stanley Cup contenders to increase their teams' chance at winning. Last year Peter Forsberg was traded for two solid prospects and multiple draft picks. He is often injured so acquiring him was quite a risk. Now picture trading Leaf captain Mats Sundin. Even though he has said he would like to stay in Toronto, he could be traded to a contender for a better trade than the Forsberg trade because Sundin is much better and having a career year on offense. Sundin would love to win a cup before he retires so he might accept being traded and re-sing with the Leafs in the summer. Potential destinations where he could go are Vancouver, Detroit, San Jose and Pittsburgh. A potential trade rumor involving Sundin and Vancouver mentioned Sundin going to the Canucks in exchange for Luc Bourdon, Cory Schneider, Mason Raymond and a couple of draft picks the fifth round including a first rounder.
I found a few hockey fans on Whyville and asked what they thought the Maple Leafs should do to improve. One person said to try and get the draft pick by trading players and decrease there chances of winning games this year. Another wasn't quite ready to give up on the Leafs, instead she would tell the Maple Leafs coaching staff and players to start working together and play like a team. A recent study showed more people think the Leafs should trade Mats Sundin and NOT re-sign him at the end of the year rather they feel the Leafs should get rid of him for good.
What do you think the Leafs or any other team should do to improve? Discuss it in the BBS or if you have any questions you can always y-mail me and I'll try my best to help.
Author's Note: Sources are TSN.ca and NHL.com