Toronto Maple Leafs Trade Rumors: Dealing Luke Schenn?

January 29th, 2012 1 Comment

On January 25th the Toronto Maple Leafs announced they were signing veteran defenseman John-Michael Liles to a four-year $15.5 million contract extension, and with that announcement came more rumors that defenseman Luke Schenn was going to be on the trading block.

We have already discussed the good, bad and the ugly of trading Luke Schenn, with the majority of Leaf fans feeling that, if the return was great enough, i.e.: a top-six forward, then Burke would have their blessing to trade Schenn—a player that was thought to be untouchable as little as last season.

In the case of Schenn, at just 22-years of age, he has tremendous upside. To a team in need of a legitimate top-four defenseman with the ability to be a top-tier defenseman one day, Schenn offers hope that he can evolve into that stud defense-first D-man.

With Schenn currently under contract for five years at $3.6 million per, he is hardly overpriced. He does, however, own a modified no-trade clause, but that doesn’t kick in until 2015-16.

Schenn on his own may not bring Burke that big-body, top-six forward he so badly covets, but as part of a package of players, Schenn could help Burke land the player that could put the Maple Leafs over the top and into the playoffs.

On the surface, trading Schenn would not hurt the Maple Leafs, at least not in the short term. The Maple Leafs system is full of good young defenseman, which means Burke would be dealing from a position of strength should he chose to part with Schenn or another D-Man.

The Philadelphia Flyers had been mentioned as possible suitors for Schenn with James van Reimsdyk coming the other way. JVR has since suffered a concussion, which derailed that deal, but there is still thought to be considerable interest on the part of the Flyers.

With Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger also out with a concussion and rumblings surfacing that his career may be in jeopardy, Schenn would be a nice fit in Philadelphia, adressing some of the grit and defensive prowess that has been lost when Pronger went down.

Also being mentioned as trade bait are forwards Mikhail Grabovski and Clarke MacArthur, two members of the highly successful “MacRussian” line that took the NHL by storm last season but has not lived up to expectations in 2011-12.

With Schenn, MacArthur and Grabovski on the trade market, Burke has three players that should garner plenty of interest from NHL teams looking to acquire one of these players independently or a combination of said players as a package deal.

Trading any or all of Schenn, Grabovski and MacArthur will be no easy task for Burke. All three are very capable hockey players, all three good citizens, all three have some upsdie left, which will make it difficult for the fiercely loyal Burke to part ways with these players.

Schenn on his own may not bring Burke that big-body, top-six forward he so badly covets, but as part of a package of players, Schenn could help Burke land the player that could put the Maple Leafs over the top and into the playoffs.

In Grabovski, you have a proven 60-point player who is what he is— a decent two-way forward who has probably already peaked. Burke must decide if he wants Grabovski around for another 3-5 seasons, while also considering what a 60-point player is worth in today’s market.

The bottom line is this: if Burke does not feel Grabovski is worth a 3-5 year, $10-15 million deal he is as good as traded, no matter how valuable Grabovski has been over his tenure as a Maple Leaf.

What Grabovski could bring in return is up for discussion, but with so many teams looking to rid themselves of salary and Grabovski’s pending UFA status anything is possible, as long as Burke is willing to take an excessive contract back in return for Grabovski.

MacArthur is a serviceable player who has struggled this season after posting career highs in goals, assists, points and games played in 2010-11.

Known as a hard working player, MacArthur would make a nice addition to any playoff team looking to add a top-six forward who can play hard at both ends of the ice.

MacArthur is signed at $3.25 million through next season, which is a reasonable amount, but hardly a bargain when you consider this seasons output of 24 points through 42 games.

Truth be told, Burke would be better off cutting ties with MacArthur, that is, should any team offer up the right return, which is probably a second round draft choice or mid-range prospect.

Of course, Burke also has the option of dealing one of his prospects. Nazem Kadri’s name has come up in countless trade rumors, but thus far they are just that—rumors and nothing more.

One thing is for sure, for the first time in many seasons, Burke has plenty of chips to barter at the trade deadline. All that remains to be seen is if he can pull off the deal that can bring the Maple Leafs to the promised land that is/are the playoffs.

Until next time,


1 Comment

  1. briane burke is a very smart gm . let him do his thing and you will see a much improved team .willson has turned the corner on his coaching skills and god bless him for what he has done . go leafs go .dont let anyone get in your way you are real winners

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