Hockey insider and former Stanley Cup winner Nick Kypreos sent out a tweet this week that has a photo of Toronto Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis talking with Edmonton Oilers GM Craig MacTavish. Kypreos said he knows what trade they may be talking about.
Here's what Sportsnet's Kypreos, becoming one of the go-to guys fans listen to when it comes to NHL trade rumors, tweeted along with a photo of MacTavish and Nonis talking in a hallway in Boston at the GM meetings: “#Oilers MacTavish #Leafs Nonis had good 10 min talk after GM meeting. Could Tor move up in draft for D man in return?”
Oilers need defence, Leafs may have it
If that is the case, and the high-octane, perennial playoff-missing Oilers do need help on their back-end, then there are guys the Maple Leafs are surely not going to offer up, even for a 7th overall pick, which is what the Oilers have to offer.
Jake Gardiner? No, he himself is only 22 and is not only ready for prime-time but he could become a bona-fide game changer. Dion Phaneuf? The Leaf's captain is still in his prime at 28 and he's a warhorse. He gets criticized for mistakes but he's a great player and the Leafs' defence, and offence (9-19-28 in 48 games), would suffer without him. Nope.
It's hard to say then who the Oilers might take. Carl Gunnarsson, sure, 26 and absolutely a top 4 defenceman. But would Nonis give him up for a prospect that'll take time to mature? Michael Kostka, at 27, showed he belongs in the NHL. But is he top 4? Would MacTavish give up the 7th overall pick for a guy who until recently looked to be a career minor-leaguer?
That's the extent of the defenceman that MacTavish would consider, or that Nonis would think about moving the other way, so it doesn't look promising. And the fact the Leafs had such a strong campaign and were so close to advancing to the second round suggests it's not the right time for them to give up a working part of their blueline, or roster.
But there are combinations of players and Toronto could add their own first round pick (21st) to push the deal over the edge. Because if Kypreos said it then an Oilers/Maple Leafs deal may
indeed become a reality before the seventh overall pick is made at the 2013 NHL entry draft.