Burke will target Getzlaf, Ryan, Perry
The Anaheim Ducks are prepared for a roster overhaul, and its three star players in Bobby Ryan, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf are available for the right price, according to Ducks general manager Bob Murray.
The news is a minor surprise as the Ducks are two points removed from being the worst team in the National Hockey League. Moreover, Ryan was available barely a month ago before Murray removed him from the trade market and instead hired head coach Bruce Boudreau in hopes of providing his club with a spark.
"I thought they'd figure out when we changed coaches that time was running, the clock was running quickly here. And I don't care who you talked about," Murray told the L.A. Times.
"We're going to get ready for next year," Murray said. "I think this team can be turned around to make the playoffs next year. I think it's going to be hard to do it this year but I do want them to make a run. But it's got to happen quick. Everybody knows that."
So here we are. The Toronto Maple Leafs are one point removed from eight place,---and three points from fifth place---general manager Brian Burke has a trade history with Murray, having dealt on three separate occasions in the last two years, and the team has placed both Colton Orr and Phillipe Dupuis on waivers, which frees $1.65-million in cap space. Of course, the latter point could coincide with the fact that Matthew Lombardi is back in the line-up and Mike Komisarek and Mike Brown are expected to return sometime within the next week.
It is unlikely, however, that Burke is content with the Leafs roster moving past the Feb.27 trade deadline. While the team has solid prospects in the pipeline and depth both upfront and on the blueline, they still lack another star player or two before they can realistically compete with the league’s elite.
If the Leafs were to acquire any of Getzlaf, Ryan or Perry, they’d be able to do so if they unloaded some quality youth. Of course, the deal would only work on the Leafs’ end if they sent a fair-sized contract the other way. A player who obviously fits the bill is Luke Schenn. The 22-year-old rearguard had a slow start to the season, but has progressed his game since. Schenn is second among NHL defensemen in hits with 117---only five less than Matt Greene with two games in hand---and fourth on the Leafs in blocked shots with 61. Schenn’s cap-hit is $3.6-million for the next five years. His occasional defensive blunders aside, Schenn has potential for more and has proven to be an NHL-quality defenseman. Logic dictates that any deal for Anaheim’s “big three” would also have to include a draft pick and a top prospect such as Nazem Kadri or Joe Colborne.
While Burke would probably love to have either of Ryan or Perry, both top-line scoring wingers, his interest is likely fixated on Getzlaf, if he is inquiring. Getzlaf is, after all, the type of player Leafs fans, and Burke, dream about. At 6’4, 220 pounds, Getzlaf has the size to add some truculence (yes, I had to) to the top-line while also providing elite production. He’s also a first-line center, something the Leafs have lacked since Mats Sundin, which is crucial to any team aspiring for a playoff run. While he is having his worst season in the NHL with 25 points in 38 games and a -19 rating, Getzlaf has 440 points in 468 career games and he’s only 26 years old. His cap-hit is $5.325-million for this season and next.
Burke is a firm believer in ensuring both teams are winners in a trade, so don’t be surprised if he overpays should he covet Getzlaf as a major addition moving forward. If the asking price is absurdly high, expect him to target Ryan or Perry---and acquiring Ryan would require less assets. Perry’s contract is identical to Getzlaf’s, while Ryan has a $5.1-million cap-hit for four more years, including this season.
The Leafs have a solid foundation in place moving forward, but if Burke wishes to compete with the elite, relinquishing prospect depth and a young roster player for a star player is not only integral, it’s consistent with Burke’s blueprint of fast-tracking the Leafs to respectability.
You stay classy, TCL.
*I apologize for the long gap between blogs. Between work and school blogging has unfortunately been on the back burner temporarily. With a lighter work load this semester, expect more Leafs blogs from now on.*
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