Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Trade time is off an running | Versteeg deal coming out of the woodwork

The Leafs swapped away F. Beauchemin for their first trade before the deadline - picking up three assets in return, including 20+ goal-scorer J. Lupul (although oft injured), defensive prospect Jake Gardiner and a fourth round pick in 2013 (a long ways away).

Gardiner was Anaheim's 5th highly touted prospect, and first defenseman after Cam Fowler, who's a regular NHLer, not really a prospect at all. he's 20, drafted 17th overall in 2008 and is slated to possibly make the jump to the NHL in 2012-13.

Expect him to move to the AHL next season before contending for a spot in the NHL.

Latest on Versteeg:
The chances are growing very strong that the Leafs will find a great return for Versteeg according to sources..."Versteeg brings last year's playoff experience and his ability to score big goals at clutch times. People remember his huge goal in game one of the Finals particularly." There are quite a few teams interested, but the Canucks are the most likely and are apparently willing to part with a player "Brian Burke really loves."
First of all - I LOVE that they're mentioning the Canucks because this brings us one step closer to acquiring Cody Hodsgon.

Second, the cryptic part where Brian Burke "really loves" the player they may get in return could mean a few things. First off, everybody would "really love" to get Hodgson, and Vancouver is happy to have him. Obviously Burke didn't draft Hodgson, I don't think, but there may be players on Vancouver that he did draft - though they obviously wouldn't part with the Sedins.

Burke was GM between '98 and '03, drafting the following forwards (We've seen him actively acquire players that he's managed in other franchises like B. May, F. Beauchemin, J.S. Giguere, etc.)

Alexandre Bolduc
Ryan Kesler
Henrik Sedin
Daniel Sedin

Frankly, only one of these players is American - that being Kesler, who just scored his 30th goal the other night with 20+ games remaining in the season. Frankly, Bolduc doesn't fit the mold Burkie's looking for, the Sedins are obviously not available - and I HAVE to think that Kesler isn't, either.

BUT - he's someone Burke would "really love," is American, and he drafted. Those are three things that Burke would definitely be interested in.

HOWEVER, I'm still fighting for Burke to continue to pick up prospects instead of big names. Kesler is 27 as well, which puts him in his prime - not quite what the Leafs need right now. They need prime in 2013-14.

I still contend that they should get Cody Hodgson, someone the Canucks don't have in their regular lineup, and someone they can use to get a "prime" player in return for. Versteeg on Vancouver's second or third line would be AMAZING. And they know that.

Hodgson was acquired in the 2008 draft, was a huge factor in the Canada Junior team and has had a nagging back injury for a long time. Bringing in a player of this calibre at this age is IMPERATIVE. And I'm thinking it's getting closer and closer to being a reality.

And I started looking around, the disreputable source The Bleacher Report is reporting that the Canucks are offering Hodgson for Versteeg.

The most recent rumor suggests that the Vancouver Canucks may be willing to part ways with young prospect, Cody Hodgson. Due to the excellent play of the Canucks, Hodgson has only been able to find his way into four games thus far this season.

108787102_crop_340x234 Christian Petersen/Getty Images

In those four games, he has notched a goal and an assist for two points, and has a plus/minus rating of plus-1. Comparing numbers, however, does not suffice when considering this trade possibility.

A simple swap will mostly likely not happen considering that Versteeg is at best a pivotal second-line forward, and Hodgson is projected to be a top-line center for years to come.

On the other hand, Versteeg has won a Stanley Cup, while Hodgson's young career has been plagued with back injuries.

Regardless, any trade scenario involving these two players would more than likely involve additional pieces, of which are hard to determine beyond speculation.

But this potential trade is a win-win for both teams.

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