The Toronto Maple Leafs have had a great start to the NHL season sitting near the top of the Eastern Conference, but still are not considered a contender. GM Brian Burke will need to add a few pieces to make this team a legitimate threat come playoff time.
Start the speculation.
There are a number of options the team could look into. So, I have taken the liberty to share a few players that I think are realistic and that would fit in with the team makeup extremely well.
Here are a few options I could see in a Leaf uniform.
Time and time again, it is debated that the Calgary Flames will not trade him because of his history with the team.
I think this is just foolish.
Look what happened with Mats Sundin in Toronto. The team got dummied.
This isn't a mistake to be made by another organization. Sending Iginla Toronto's way would solidify the top six and add veteran leadership to a playoff-bound team. Iginla will be another scoring threat that can also throw around his body.
Calgary would get pieces, prospects and/or draft picks in return.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are having a rough season thus far. They inevitably need to make moves. One of the biggest disappointments in recent history has been the play of Derick Brassard, who had a great rookie season and has since fallen off the map.
Surely, with his recent slump Columbus could look to change his scenery.
Add Toronto to the scene.
A nice, big, young center. He is perfect for the team. Maybe swap out disappointments and send Nazem Kadri their way. You could then slot him right away between Joffrey Lupul and Phil Kessel, and see what happens.
Look for any deal like this to take place this week or after New Year's. GM Brian Burke does not like dealing players around holiday season, which is a debatable tactic.
The piece I would really like to pry out of Columbus is Ryan Johansen. The kid is a stud. One can dream.
I love this kid. He plays hard and has put up 50-plus points before. He, like Brassard, has been struggling of late. A change in scenery may be the best option.
The New York Islanders are young and the Leafs could send them a few solid pieces for the future.
Okposo would slot in on the top six and provide anther gritty option to put the puck in the back of the net.
He is a player that would excel in the playoffs. Burke, bring 'em in!
Like Brassard, Staal plays for a struggling team. This is an indication the team is willing to make moves because they need a change.
Staal is the face of the franchise, but has not had a great season. He has a very large cap hit and is tying the hands of the Carolina management, who work near the cap floor. With the emergence of Jeff Skinner, Staal is expendable. It's crazy to consider, I know.
Toronto would have to send a ton of pieces, but Staal would be the perfect piece to slot in on the first line between Lupul and Kessel.
He is a physical leader, and would be able to handle the pressure of Toronto hockey. He could spearhead the Toronto attack and it would surely only make Kessel a better player.
This is the move I am craving to see.
So What Now?
It's just plain fun to speculate on who would look good in the Blue and White. But in all seriousness, managements needs to look into making a trade or two to add the pieces this team will need in the playoffs.
If no additions are made, this team will not make it past the first round. Simple.