As the trade deadline looms, there will certainly be some interest in the Leafs’ squad. They’re clearly a non-playoff team and have plenty of reasons to be sellers rather than buyers. Here’s a list of who’s likely on his way out and who’s here to stay for at least another year.
Mats Sundin – as mentioned in a previous post, Mats has a no-trade clause (NTC) which makes it hard, but not impossible, for him to be traded. However, if the Leafs are able to trade him to a team that doesn’t require him to be signed to a contract extension (therefore meaning he’ll be a free agent next year) and promise to sign him back with the Leafs after the playoffs, he might wave the NTC. Likelihood of being traded: 80%
Darcy Tucker – Tucker also has a NTC, and other than Mats he’s been with the team the longest. However, unlike Mats, Tucker is having a miserable year and he may be looking for a change of scenery. And even though he’s struggling, there is still a huge market for a gritty player like Tucker, especially teams looking for a long playoff run. Likelihood of being traded: 60%
Jason Blake – Even though we signed him just this year and he’s having only a slightly better season than Tucker, Blake is still an attractive player. He scored 40 goals last year and he’s still showing that he has the speed. If teams aren’t scared off by the four years left on his contract he could be on his way out of Leaf Land. Likelihood of being traded: 35%
Chad Kilger – No stranger to being moved – the Leafs are his seventh team – Kilger could be a strong bet to be on the block this week. He’s a hard hitter who plays with a lot of energy, someone a lot of teams could use in the playoffs. He’s making less than a million a year, so salary will not be an issue. Likelihood of being traded: 35%
Nik Antropov/Alexei Ponikarovsky – Best friends who love to play the cycling game, Nik and Poni could be parting ways. They both have modest contracts and their ability to tire out defensemen along the boards should be attractive to playoff teams. Being injury prone may be a detractor. Likelihood of being traded: 30% / 20%
Andrew Raycroft – If a playoff team suffers a goalie injury in the next week, you can bet the Leafs GM will be getting a call. Some teams with cap space may also be able to invest in Raycroft as an insurance policy even if they have no immediate injury problems. Likelihood of being traded: 15%
Bryan McCabe/Pavel Kubina/Tomas Kaberle – McCabe and Kubina have enormous contracts that will scare off buyers and Kaberle is one of the few untouchables on the Leafs’ roster. It’s unlikely that these D-men are going anywhere: Likelihood of being traded: 15% / 10% / 3%