Once the 2012 All-Star Weekend is over, it’s likely that the media and fans’ attention will turn almost completely to wacky trade rumors. In the video below, Mike Milbury and Keith Jones take a look at which players might be available for a swap, from Vinny Prospal to Ryan Malone to even a higher-level guy like Derek Roy.
Oh yeah, they also discuss the possibility of the Nashville Predators desperately trading Ryan Suter and Shea Weber (Milbury isn’t buying it, for one).
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After six years that more or less followed a pattern of disappointment, something just feels different about the Toronto Maple Leafs now.
Sure, the Buds made a late and ultimately futile charge toward the postseason last year, but the 2011-12 campaign smacks of honest-to-goodness progress. That’s not to say that the Maple Leafs are without their blemishes, but for the first time since the lockout, it seems like they boast a squad suitable enough to be dangerous in the playoffs.
If you ask Burke, a playoff run is pretty pointless if you don’t have a real shot to make noise.
With that in mind, GM Brian Burke’s trade objectives are likely shifting from the future to the present. In more direct terms, it means that the Maple Leafs are primed to be buyers instead of sellers.
The Maple Leafs just hope that Burke opts for a slight change in makeup rather than a bold makeover, as The Toronto Sun’s Lance Hornby reports.
“We do like the group,” Burke said. “It’s a group that cares about each other (witness Joffrey Lupul tossing aside two Islanders to help an over-matched Phil Kessel). The work ethic is excellent.”
That brings the discussion to PHT readers: do you think that the Maple Leafs are good enough to make a run with small moves or would Burke need to land a blockbuster to truly morph Toronto into contenders? Share your thoughts in the comments.
The Blackhawks are totally ready to make deals. They’re just sitting so pretty right now there’s no need to.
GM Stan Bowman told Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times that while the Hawks are doing just fine on their own right now, they’ll be ready to make moves come trade deadline day if need be. Of course, it also helps to have someone to dance with in a trade and at this point, no one is really willing to do that yet.
“As it is right now, there are a number of teams that are probably long shots to get in [the playoffs],” Bowman said. “But they’ve only played 30 or something games. They’re not going to give up on their season yet and trade their players away. It’s a big waiting game.”
Bowman says there are players he’s keeping tabs on that if the opportunity presents itself to make a move, he’ll try to get something worked out. Right now though, all is quiet on the trade front and besides, the Blackhawks are winning like crazy. Unless injuries make things impossible, there’s no need for Chicago to make any deals now.