A Proposed Trade Idea for Dave Nonis

The Leafs have made some significant trades before the March 2nd trade deadline. While I’m certainly not a Dave Nonis supporter I do applaud him for not sitting on his hands and making some moves. In particular, ridding himself and the Leafs of the absurd David Clarkson contract must be a massive relief. This trade is a ‘win’, really, no matter what. Even in the worst-case scenario where Horton never plays, the Leafs still are better for it by moving Clarkson. In the event that Horton plays, even better, he’s a good player that has had great experience.

By all accounts, Nonis may not be done. Off the top of my head I can think of a few trades that could really shake things up for the Leafs that could work before the deadline. Bozak, Kessel, and Lupul seem to be the names that are tossed around the most. With that in mind, I tried to figure out a move that Nonis might be able to make that could potentially bring some excitment (which is definitely lacking) back to Toronto.

Phil Kessel Maple Leafs
(Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Bozak, Lupul, and Kessel

I’ve written before that I quite like Tyler Bozak. I think he has a difficult role and faces a lot of criticism because he’s thrust into something for which he might not be good enough. Bozak would be a GREAT second line center, and he’s decent first line center but he’s certainly not up there with the TOP NHL 1st line centers. I do think that Bozak offers good value for his cap hit, and I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to keeping him. That said, that same value makes him pretty good trade bait.

To be honest, I don’t have much to say about Lupul. Sometimes he’s good, sometimes he’s a ghost. It’s a big cap hit for that kind of player. So I’m a bit indifferent about whether he stays or goes.

Phil Kessel. I actually really like Kessel and I think he also faces unfair criticism. Sure, he’s fairly one-dimensional, and he can be streaky. Most goal scorers are streaky, just look at Ovechkin this year. At any point, Kessel could easily go on a run and score a bunch of goals in a row. But he can also go quiet and not score for a few weeks. Obviously, it’d be nice for him to be more consistent, but there’s not much that we can do about that.

The Trade

hurricanes news
Carolina Hurricane Eric Staal – Photo By Andy Martin Jr

The Leafs need a number one center. That hasn’t changed. So, who has a number one center that might be willing to deal at this time of the year? The Carolina Hurricanes. There’s been talk about Eric Staal since the Fall, but the fact of the matter is, why would he go when he wants to play with his brother? Let’s simplify that. Package Kessel and Bozak together for both brothers.

Eric and Jordan Staal are on a combined cap hit of $14.3 million. Eric Staal is an Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA) as of 2015 making him an attractive trade for the Hurricanes. Jordan Staal is under contract until 2022. In comparison, Phil Kessel is under contract until 2021  and Bozak until 2017.

As a straight swap, this might not work. I would venture that the Hurricanes might not go for this…. so here’s the kicker. Although I didn’t necessarily agree with the Franson to Nashville trade, that 1st rounder could really be useful as a bargaining tool. So the trade becomes both Staals to Toronto, and then Bozak, Kessel, and the late first round draft pick to Carolina. Obviously, Bozak could also be Kadri or Lupul, if the the Hurricanes would prefer – I think you get the idea.

Thoughts? I think this would bring some real excitement to Toronto. I’m sure two kids from Thunder Bay, Ontario would leap at the chance to play in Toronto. (Anything would be better than Carolina, no?) I also think this would be a positive move from Toronto, and while I like both players that Toronto would be parting with, I’d be pretty excited at the prospect of these two brothers joining the team.

Thanks for leading, let’s hear your thoughts.

15 thoughts on “A Proposed Trade Idea for Dave Nonis”

  1. This whole thing is written on the side of the Leafs. Why would Carolina want anything to do with the players mentioned in this article. Francis is no idiot…he will not be bringing the Leaf problems to Carolina…count on it

    • It makes no sense for Carolina. Why would they want Kessel and Bozak or for that matter Kadri or Lupul. Canes won’t touch this with a ten foot pole.

  2. Funny that you write about “speeding up the rebuild”. I have not heard or read anything from Leaf Management directly that says there even is a “rebuild”. In fact Nonis and Shanahan have been saying exactly the same things that Nonis has been saying the past few seasons. First, that no player is untaouchable, and second, that any deals the Leafs make will be towards making them a better team in the future. My feeling is that you might see 1 or possibly 2 players dealt from the core group of Kessel, Phaneuf, JVR, Bozak, Kadri and Lupul, but that Bell/Rogers don’t have the stomach for an up to 5 year “rebuild”.

  3. This guy just doesn’t get it. Nobody wants to play in Toronto. Carolina is a much better place to play. I guarantee there has been more media coverage of the leafs in the past 10 days in Toronto than all year in Carolina. As a player what do you gain from playing in Toronto? More money? NO. Better chance to win? Big NO. So why would anyone want to play in Toronto?

  4. Adam your closing doesn’t explain why you think this would be good for Toronto. Two players willing to come home and play under the pressure just doesn’t cut it. As Jacob said, using them as the leadership block for the young group that is coming in would be an interesting way to close it out. Or something that explains why…

  5. I don’t think it is that bad. I wouldn’t give up the 1st but you get a 26 year old player and a 30 year old player that could shorten the rebuild in Toronto by a few seasons. I think many people misinterpret how to do a rebuild. It is not just trade away every single player and get 20 draft picks. You still need leadership and players to help build the young players into smart hockey players. They also have young players like William Nylander, Josh Leivo, Brendan Leipsic, Frederik Gauthier, and the talented players they select in this deep draft in 2015 the Leafs that will be NHL ready in the next 1-3 seasons . Plus the leafs will probably have a few good free agents to sign if you look at all the “rentals” being sent around during this deadline. I say the Staal brothers will be 35 and 31 with a group of young talented players for a cup run 5 years from now.

  6. No. I’m not even a Leafs fan and I know for a fact that this could be the dumbest possible move for the franchise. Just no. You’re in rebuild mode now, and you think acquiring two players either in their prime or at the tail end of it is a good idea? No. Awful trade idea. Please don’t be a general manager.

    • The Leafs have been in “rebuild” mode since the Sundin/Gilmour days. It’s time to stop rebuilding and just acquire some talented vets. The young kids the Leafs keep signing obviously can’t handle the Toronto “fishbowl” environment. That’s become quite obvious thus far. So bring in some vets, re-establish a veteran foundation, and slowly bring in some youth to coincide with said vets.

  7. There is no way Toronto should take on a 30 year old center when they are in rebuild mode. Consider the fact that they won’t likely be a competitive team for 3-4 years, I hope they go after someone much younger if they do anything with Kessel. But then again, the leafs are known for bringing in star players past their prime so we’ll see LOL.

    My guess….this won’t happen under Brendan.

    • “won’t likely be a competitive team for 3-4 years”

      The Leafs haven’t really been competitive for the last 3-4+ years either. Time to stop “rebuilding” and get a guy like Staal. He’s a guy you can build a team around.. not the Kessels, Bozaks, Lupals, etc.

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