It’s late February in an Olympic year, and you know what that means – the Trade Deadline has NOT passed yet, and we still have a little more than a week to run around pointing at guys while screaming “YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND, I WANT IT!”.
This year, a couple of higher profile players have hit the market. Could the Leafs be interested in moves involving any of them? We’ll go through a couple potential candidates bit by bit as we near the deadline. Today, lets go far over to the west coast.
The Vancouver Duo
Names Involved: Ryan Kesler, Alexander Edler
The Vancouver Canucks, needless to say, have had a less than spectacular season, after years of dominating the regular season standings. Roberto Luongo and Eddie Lack have been fine between the pipes, so you can’t say that they’re being Pavelec’d. The thought is that this core’s window of opportunity may be closing, so some reshuffling is in order.
Rumours that Ryan Kesler had requested a trade spread like wildfire this week, something that both he and his agent are denying. Maybe it’s a “save face” situation, but whatever the case, Bob McKenzie is reporting that the Canucks are taking offers on him. As well, speculation has flown around regarding defenceman Alexander Edler.
Both of these names are enticing to Leafs fans. After all, the two biggest needs of this team are a number one centre, and a number two defenceman. That said, as much as this sounds like a match made in heaven, I don’t see it being the smartest of ideas.
The expected asking price on Kesler is reported to start with Nazem Kadri, who has been a long-term target of the Vancouver Canucks. When Roberto Luongo was rumoured to be on his way here, the asking price involved both Kadri and Tyler Bozak, along with a draft pick, which never materialized. That’s the thing with the Canucks; they’re willing to move their top assets, but Mike Gillis will accept nothing less than a treasure chest for them. Luongo, who originally requested a trade, didn’t end up moving because of managements adamance on getting a strong package.
My other issue with Kesler is a crash in production over the past three seasons, minus his 17 game run last year. While some may attribute that to playing behind Henrik Sedin, he’s been playing in the first line ice time range (20 minutes/night) for six seasons now and has just two impact ones to show for it. His defensive game is an obvious attraction, but in the end, doesn’t live up to the top end puck distributor hopes of many.
As for Edler, he’s an interesting option, but having five more years left on his deal at $5M leaves some cause for concern. As well, he’s not the right handed shot that Carlyle seems to be coveting, and hasn’t spent a lot of time playing against significant quality of competition over the years. His offensive ability, decent enough defensive ability and typical durability make him enticing, but I can’t see that realistically working for Toronto.
In short, these are two solid players who fit the Leafs’ needs, but not perfectly. The GM involved will be asking a premium price and it isn’t a good idea to pay a premium if the glove doesn’t fit just right.