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Maple Leafs may lose out on Nash, Luongo and Schultz
After pulling off a trade for James van Riemsdyk at the NHL Entry Draft, Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke got a head start on what could be a busy off season. Apparently, he is looking at possibly acquiring the likes of Rick Nash, Roberto Luongo and Justin Schultz. Unfortunately for Leafs Nation, Burke may strike out on all three fronts but that may not be the worst thing for the future of the organization.
Edmonton - June 26, 2012 - Brian Burke has always been one who likes to make a splash when it comes to improving his hockey club. Having already pulled off a one for one swap of Luke Schenn for James van Riemsdyk at the NHL Entry Draft, many feel the Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager is just getting started on what could be be a busy off season.
Apparently, he will be going big game hunting in trying to acquire the likes of Rick Nash, Roberto Luongo and Justin Schultz. Unfortunately for Leafs Nation, Burke may strike out on all three fronts but that may not be the worst thing for the long term betterment of the organization.
The addition Toronto would love to make, would be Schultz but that will be far easier said than done. There are many teams in play for the former Anahiem Ducks second rounder and it seems unlikely that his relationship with defenceman Jake Gardiner will be enough to bring him on board. Smart money would be on the University of Wisconsin star ending up with one of the upper echelon teams like the Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins or Vancouver Canucks.
If he decides to go the route of jumping on board with a young rebuilding club, he won't find a better situation than the one available with the Edmonton Oilers. The soon to be twenty-two year old would be joining the Oilers fearsome foursome of Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov, in which Justin could potentially put up some pretty scary numbers from the backend. Add to that the close proximity to his family out in British Columbia and it seems like a pretty good fit. Burke was still the man with the Ducks when they drafted Schultz back in 2008 but it would be rather surprising if he decides to sign in Toronto.
Which brings us to Nash and Luongo. Make no mistake, the Blue Jackets winger is on his way out of Columbus but his destination is still unknown. The Maple Leafs have made it well known that they are interested in the big man but the asking price remains very steep and one that they may not be able or willing to meet. Would Nash be a good fit in T.O.? Of course he would be but at what cost? They would not only be giving up assets to add him to their roster but would also take a major hit to their cap for the next six years by bringing him on board.
While many look at the former first overall selection as one of the premier power forwards in the league, he has managed to produce only one seventy point campaign in his nine NHL seasons. In my mind, he is highly overpaid at $7.8 million and is frankly overrated as a player. Nash has proven to be unable to carry the mail in Columbus on a club with a less than stellar lineup and if the Leafs have to deplete their already limited roster, in order to acquire him, what is the point? Would they really be any further along?
As far as Luongo goes, he is still a top ten goalie in the NHL and would instantly make Toronto a better team but there are two obvious sticking points. Any team that would be willing to give up anything of worth for the thirty-three year old netminder, should be looking for a new General Manger. As previously mentioned, he is still a great goalie but is signed until 2020-2021...that's another nine years!
Vancouver GM Mike Gillis and Canucks fans everywhere are telling anyone willing to listen, that Luongo is a bargain at a cap hit of only $5.333 million but that's a total of $46 million over the length of the deal and a real dollar figure of $6.714 over the next six years. Hardly seems like a deal of any sort and an awful lot of money to be taking on for a guy that is clearly on the back half of his career. Like Nash, how does this move make Toronto better?
If the goal is for the Leafs to hopefully squeeze into the playoffs over the next couple of years, than by all means, make the move. With the level of netminding throughout much of the Eastern Conference being what it is, they have no hope of making it with their current level of goaltending but last time I checked, there were three teams that missed the playoffs that had pretty darn good goalies. Bringing in Roberto will not guarantee Toronto anything short term but could certainly hurt them badly in the long run.
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