Rumor: Toronto And Carolina Talking Trade - What you need to know

A trade between these two teams has long been discussed. There was confirmed open dialogue between the Leafs and Hurricanes during the Nylander contract saga and now hockey insider Darren Dreger has again slipped us some more info.

Dreger's tweet from earlier today, has again raised the eyebrows of many of the leafs faithful.

While this is not earth shattering news, usually where there is smoke, there is fire. Obviously, these 2 teams are aware of each others "want list" as they have been actively engaged all year. Further to this point, both GMs by now are more than familiar with the organizational depth and prospect pools on the other side.

So what's the hold up? Many speculate that it is a matter of Carolina attempting to drive up the price by waiting as long as possible. Others feel that Dubas and his "extreme patience" is waiting for the other side to flinch.

In any case, here is what you need to know about potential trade targets for the Leafs.

Name: Michael Ferland
Position: LW/RW 
Age: 26
Shoots: Right
Height: 6’1”
Wight: 217 lbs 
From:  South Swan River, MAN, Canada
Salary Cap Hit: $1.750mil AAV, UFA at the end of this season

Why Michael Ferland?

Babcock has been talking all season about the need for "Heavy forwards". Well that's what you are getting in Ferland. He can crash and bang and drop the mitts.  Ferland can also deposit the puck when given the opportunity.

This guy is of course a pure rental. While not being the prime target of a Leafs trade, I would assume he would be a replacement piece for one of their active wingers they will inevitably have to move out. Babs will love this guy, his teammates will love this guy, and those blood thirsty old time hockey fans will buy his jersey.

Name: Brett Pesce
Position: Defenseman 
Age: 24
Shoots: Right
Height: 6’3”
Wight: 206 lbs 
From:  Tarrytown, NY, USA
Salary Cap Hit: $4.025 mil AAV for 5 years after this season

Why Brett Pesce

The better question is, Why not? I don’t like the term #2 defenseman, as in the modern NHL this usually means, your 2nd best d-man. I truly believe that a teams #2 defenseman is the guy on the back end who best compliments your best defensemen. 

The best and most recent example of this was in Ottawa when Erik Karlsson was paired with Marc MethotMethot wasn’t the best all around d-man they had next to Karlsson but his stay at home style of play allowed Eric to stretch out the ice and go for a skate. 

There is no question who the best Leafs d-man is, Morgan Rielly. Rielly has a very similar style of play to that of Karlsson. Under the tutelage of head coach Mike Babcock, Rielly has really raised some eyebrows around the league and already this season, put himself into the Norris conversation. Pairing Rielly with a young puck mover like Pesce who is first and foremost responsible in his own end could be magic for the Leafs. At just 24 years old and on a cap friendly deal for the next 5 years, Pesce has a tonne of time to grow with the young leafs core and grow into his already sizable frame. Did I mention he is a right shot? 

Name: Dougie Hamilton
Position: Defenseman 
Age: 25
Shoots: Right
Height: 6’6”
Wight: 229 lbs 
From:  Toronto, ON, Canada
Salary Cap Hit: $5.750 mil AAV for 2 years after this season

Why Dougie Hamilton?

Well I don't need to explain to Leafs fans why the name Dougie Hamilton will forever be synonymous with Leafs history whether he ever plays for them or not. Incidentally, a draft pick which was part of the trade that brought Phil Kessel to Leafs was used by the Boston Bruins to select Hamilton 9th overall in the 2011 entry draft.
“He’s a Top 4 defenceman. He’s just not as good as people thought he would be,” said an Eastern Conference scout. “He’s good, but he doesn’t do anything great. Passes well, but he’s not a great puck mover. He defends OK, but he’s not real physical. Pretty good at everything. Not great at any one thing.”
So, while Hamilton is not a bust, he has yet to reach the potential most thought he would. A perennial 40-50 point getter with a solid 2 way game. Perhaps The Leafs new brass can push Dougie to the next level as they did with Morgan Rielly.

A hometown kid, Dougie may have extra motivation playing in from of family and friends ever night.  

My only real concern here, which I have not been able to get answers to is. If this guy is this good, why do teams continue to trade him? Boston - Calgary - Carolina - ?????

Of all the options on Carolina's roster, this one is definitely the most intriguing. Oh look, another right shoot defenceman!

Name: Justin Faulk
Position: Defenseman 
Age: 26
Shoots: Right
Height: 6’0”
Wight: 217 lbs 
From:  South St. Paul, MN, USA
Salary Cap Hit: $4.833mil AAV for 1 years after this season

Why Justin Faulk?

Well one scout put it quite simply like this:
"He has tremendous skating ability, a wealth of offensive acumen and good shot. Is plenty confident with the puck on his stick. Plays a smart, mature game, tending to the small details. Is a major asset on the power play."
The only knock on Faulk is that he needs to continue to work on his defensive-zone coverage, as well as his decision-making ability. My fear is that with the torches and pitchforks all ready out for Jake Gardiner, Toronto fans may overreact to similar flaws in Faulk's game.

Faulk, with only 1 more year left on his deal, falls into the rental category a little more then the other 2 previously mentioned blue liners. For this reason only, I feel he is the least likely to find his way to Toronto. PS, would you look at that? another right shot defenceman.

In the interest of not wanting to receive hate mail, I have opted to avoid listing the boat load of potential players and picks the Leafs will have to give up to acquire 1 or more of these guys. However, one has to assume if the Leafs want to be true contenders, there is likely a trade worth making with Carolina. A trade which could be beneficial outside of just this season.

What do you say Leafs fans? Who should the team go after if there is a trade to be made with Carolina?

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