In a lead that we could have repeatedly recycled over the last few years, the Anaheim Ducks and Toronto Maple Leafs made yet another trade. This time, the Leafs sent oft-injured prospect Luca Caputi to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for disappointing youngster Nicolas Deschamps. What are the odds that Brian Burke and Bob Murray have each other on speed dial?
Both prospects have had a tough 2011-12 season in the AHL this year. Deschamps, who was a highly-touted 2nd round pick from the 2008 draft, has struggled with only seven points in 31 games this season. Likewise, Caputi has struggled with injuries and only has three points in 21 points. Both teams will hope the left wing swap will light a fire under the pair of prospects that have been underwhelming through their professional careers thus far.
Hopefully for Ducks fans sanity, this trade goes a little better than that Francois Beauchemin for Jake Gardiner and Joffrey Lupul trade in February. That isn’t really working out so well for the struggling Ducks.
The best part about the trade? They both get to play against their former teams as the Syracuse Crunch and Toronto Marlies faceoff tonight. Awkward.
Things are moving quickly for Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith today. Not only was Smith activated by the team from injured reserve, but he was immediately put into the lineup to start against the Blues in St. Louis. The Coyotes aren’t exactly easing him back into the fold, are they?
Mike Smith hasn’t played since December 20th when he hurt his groin in the 3rd period of a game against the Florida Panthers. After winning the first game without Smith, the Coyotes have limped to a 1-3-1 record over their last five games. Nothing against Jason LaBarbara or Curtis McElhinney, but the team that is built on strong team defense and solid goaltending could use Smith back between the pipes.
Smith had been one of the good stories of the early season before falling to the injury bug. His strong play behind one of the best defensive systems in the league has helped the Coyotes raise a few eyebrows in the early going. After the mini-slump with Smith out of the lineup, they need to put their foot back on the gas if they want to compete for one of those last playoff spots in the Western Conference.
In a bit of breaking news, it’s come to light that the Toronto organization would like to host a Winter Classic. In related news, water is wet and the Boston Bruins are good at hockey.
There are rumors aplenty that Detroit has the inside track for next year’s Winter Classic—but for now, they are just rumors. Gary Bettman addressed some media members yesterday and narrowed it down to cities that haven’t already hosted a Winter Classic and teams that could handle the climate requirements. In other words, there are 25 teams that are hopefully that they can make some kind of pitch to the league. If they can play a game in Las Vegas, then owners would surely want to find a creative way to get in on the action.
One of the ideas floating is that the Toronto Maple Leafs would like to throw their hat into the ring. Brian Burke, as blunt as ever, was straight to the point with QMI Agency today: “We would love to host a game and the league knows it.”
There isn’t a lot of gray area in that statement, is there?
Of course, the players would be all over the chance to play in an outdoor game as well. Leafs rookie Nazem Kadri spoke to reporters, “It’s something that I’ve always watched. I think it would be cool for Toronto to get in on something like that.”
There are about 23 guys on 29 other teams that would agree that it would be fun “to get in on something like that.” Either way, it’s good to know that the Leafs would be willing participants if the NHL tapped them on the shoulder. After all, there was that .0001 percent chance that they wouldn’t be interested.