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Friday, April 6, 2012

Core Toronto Maple Leafs for 2012-2013 and forward

If Brian Burke wants to keep certain players off-limits from trade talks, here are the 10 players he would be best to try to keep out of trade talks:

Jake Gardiner
Phil Kessel
James Reimer
Nazem Kadri
Matt Frattin
Tyler Biggs
Joe Colborne
Cody Franson
Mark Owuya
Brad Ross

Here are 5 names that should be considered in trade scenarios, with an explanation:

Jonas Gustavsson - As he is a free agent on July 1st and the Leafs would be unlikely to have any interest in signing him, offering exclusive rights to negotiate with him until June 30th could bring a 3rd round draft pick, or a young player. This trade needs to be arranged in advance and happen within a week of season's end, as the deadline will be fast approaching.

Dion Phaneuf OR Luke Schenn - It would be nice to keep them both, however if there are grains of truth in the stories about tension between these two, it may be best to listen to offers for each and hit the bid if a strong goalie or enticing package becomes available.

Joffrey Lupul - Yes it would be sad to see him go and if the Leafs were ready to challenge for a Cup I'd have him on the top ten list above. Instead, the Buds will need 2 or 3 seasons of playoffs experience before being ready to drink from the Mug, so trading Lupul to a legitimate Stanley Cup contender can bring a pick and a player, with Matt Frattin and Nazem Kadri competing for the left wing spot on Kessel's line.

Jussi Rynnas - I'd like to see a proven NHL goalie plus Reimer start with the Maple Leafs, with Scrivens and Owuya slated to handle Marlies duties. This means Rynnas can be moved as part of a package deal, or straight up for a pick or a skater.

Tim Connolly - I don't believe his season was as disastrous as some do, however a $4.5 million checking line winger doesn't make a lot of sense. If BB can package Connolly up in a trade, free agent Darryl Boyce has a winning record as a Leaf and would excel on Carlyle's checking line, and he would likely be available for $850,000 to $900,000 per year.

Other names that could be moved to free up cap space include Komisarek, Lombardi and Armstrong.

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