The Toronto Maple Leafs have a solid roster on paper, and were thought to be playoff contenders this season. Things have fallen apart in Toronto, and the Leafs are switching to rebuild mode, perfect time for the McEichel Lottery.
On Tuesday, January 6th 2015, the Toronto Maple Leafs fired their heavily criticized head coach. Many have pointed the finger at the players, but the organization as a whole should be blamed and needs to be shaken up
The Toronto Maple Leafs can be serious sellers at the deadline, as they have big time trade chips. Doing so might make themselves real contenders for a top 5 pick in the 2015 draft. If you have lived under a rock for the past 2 years, this draft holds the top tier prospects that have teams tanking for the top pick. Toronto should look at Buffalo’s blueprint, and trade anything with value, except prospects with high ceilings.
One name to keep an eye on is, Dion Phaneuf. Dion is a solid top 6 defenseman, and offers solid offensive contributions. He is still relatively young, 29 years old, and is under contract until 2021. Phaneuf is now one of the top d-man names available and should garner significant interest. The Leafs may have to contribute monetary compensation, but the return will be worth it in the long haul.
Phil Kessel, is one name that will be heavily rumored in the next few weeks. Kessel has already had to deal with being blamed for the firing of Randy Caryle, and is being called a coach killer. Kessel is definitely a problem player, but his talent is undeniable, and will be a hot commodity come deadline day. Kessel is one of the premier young forwards and is only 27 years old.
Nazem Kadri is a young center, with loads of potential. He is a RFA in ’15, and would be a great addition to a team on the rise like Colorado, Buffalo, or Calgary. Kadri might be worth keeping around but no name should be left off the list to be traded.
Overall, Toronto started the shake-up early enough to sell Franson while his value was high. Now the idea of Toronto shipping off their big name players, will have all NHL franchises inquiring for a deal. Hockey does trades right, exciting and blockbuster every year.
Add the Leafs to the names of the McEichel race, and watch them blow this up in Toronto.