If you ask me, the Toronto Maple Leafs would be foolish to ship their underrated – and most talented – center out of town. Still, that rumor is picking up steam as TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that the team has an offer “on the table” for Mikhail Grabovski.
The word is that the hypothetical deal would net the Buds a second-round pick and some sort of prospect, although the specific team in question remains a mystery.
One possible catalyst for GM Brian Burke’s flirtation with a move is that Grabovski is a pending free agent who some believe would fetch as much as $5 million per year. If the two sides are far apart on his asking price, shipping him out of town makes a bit more sense.
It’s weird to say this in hockey-saturated Toronto, but Grabovski might be a rare Leafs forward whose value slips under the radar.
The versatile Belarussian’s five-game scoreless slump hurts his numbers a bit, but he’s still been nicely productive with 39 points in 52 games. He’s also decent in other areas of the ice and has shown the occasional mean streak, so he can do a little of everything. Grabovski has contributed solid-to-great offense even though he’s lining up with lesser wingers such as Clarke MacArthur and Nikolai Kulemin rather than stars Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul. (Kulemin has struggled mightily this season, too.)
Burke knows how to play the media, so perhaps he’s dipping his toe in the water to see if he can get a little more for Grabovski. It’s hard to imagine the team parting ways with him in the middle of what could be the Leafs’ first post-lockout playoff run, but you never know with Burke.
It would be rather amusing – Alanis Morissette might even call it ironic – if that potential Grabs trade does go through, though. After all, Grabovski joined the Maple Leafs in exchange for a second-round pick and a prospect in 2008.