Wednesday, April 15, 2009

John Tavares: Brian Burke wants you!

With an equal amounts of bravado and bluntness, Brian Burke declared yesterday that it didn’t matter where the Leafs were picking in the Amateur Draft, he was targeting John Tavares. Now who can blame him? Tavares is the Ontario Hockey League’s all-time leading scorer and labelled a franchise player. But I’m sure 30 General Managers long for Tavares in their line up. Sure Burke has been there before with Pronger and then the Sedins but can he really do it again?

Well the first prerequisite is an interest in trading their first pick by either the Islanders or Tampa Bay. Last year, Tampa Bay announced on the evening they won the first pick in the lottery draft draw, that they were not entertaining offers and were going to draft Steve Stamkos first overall. No such announcement has been made this year. Although there is some mixed signals about the possibility of a trade it has been suggested they could be persuaded to part with their first pick – for a package of 5 or 6 players. I am thinking that they would not want to see players like Ryan Hollweg, Jason Blake and Jonas Frogren in that package. So what kind of package might land Tavares in Toronto?

Let’s start with the only Maple Leaf “untouchable”, Luke Schenn then throw in their first round pick (7th overall) and two second round picks. That still might not persuade the Islanders but it sure would get Garth Snow thinking. Remember the Flyers gave up 6 bodies plus $15 million for Eric Lindros back in 1992. The likelihood of a trade is slim unless New York passes on Tavares and goes for Hedman. The Lightning might be more willing to talk trade since they have their marquee young player already in Stamkos. Trading this year’s pick would speed up their rebuild.