The latest on the Maple Leafs and the Flyers.
TORONTO SUN: Steve Buffery believes the Maple Leafs shouldn’t worry about finding an experienced goaltender and instead seek a first-line center for Phil Kessel’s line. Buffery doesn’t believe Tyler Bozak, the Leafs current first line center, can fill that role, while Mikhail Grabovski is a solid second-line center. He suggests moving Nazem Kadri to the first line and dropping Bozak to the third until such time as management can find a bona fide first line center via trade or free agency.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Buffery noted, there was talk last summer of moving James van Riemsdyk from the wing to center, but he’s playing well at his current position. Maybe a first line center might be available later in the season, but that would prove costly in terms of assets to be given up. I know some Toronto fans and pundits dream of the Leafs acquiring Ryan Getzlaf from the Anaheim Ducks.If Getzlaf became available via trade, the Ducks won’t just give him away. The earliest they might get Getzlaf is via free agency this summer, and he would be a very expensive free agent signing, provided he could be convinced to come to Toronto. For now, the best the Leafs can do is line juggle, like maybe moving Kadri to Kessel’s line as Buffery suggests, and hope for the best until an opportunity to acquire an affordable upgrade becomes available.
PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi noted the toll the rising number of injuries has had on the Flyers roster. Carchidi claims the loss of Andrej Meszaros for a month to a shoulder injury hasn’t prompted Flyers management to send an offer sheet to unsigned Montreal Canadiens blueliner P.K. Subban, but that could change if another key defenseman gets hurt. He also wondered if the Flyers scoring woes so far this season might prompt management to make a bold move, perhaps by targeting Anaheim Ducks forward Bobby Ryan.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers were rumored to have contacted the Canadiens making inquiries about Subban’s trade status, but Carchidi reported late last week there was no truth to that speculation. The Habs, meanwhile, insist they’re not shopping Subban, so if the Flyers want him, an offer sheet may be their best route, but given their limited cap space even with Chris Pronger on LTIR, that doesn’t seem a likely one. Trading for a scoring forward seems possible, but the asking price for Ryan was reportedly Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn.