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Dreger: A trade in the future for the Leafs and Oilers?

Darren Dreger
2/3/2010 11:52:45 AM
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On Sunday, the moving truck loaded up and moved out six Toronto players while their Maple Leafs teammates watched in disbelief.

Two trades, ten players, and the promise of more to come, and if the pieces of the plan continue to fall into place, there will be more dealing.

Alexei Ponikarovsky survived the first trade tsunami, but its unlikely he'll be able to dodge the next wave.

Like Hagman and White before him, Ponikarovsky attracts a lot of attention from teams interested in his size and offensive ability, and although he wasn't needed to swing either of the weekends trades, it is very likely he will be used to beef up Toronto's draft cupboard.

Veteran defenceman, Garnet Exelby's and shifty forward, Lee Stempniak's names can also be found in the out-box, however if Burke is able to move both, neither is expected to fetch the same return.

For Ponikarovsky, at worst, the Leafs are hoping for a second round draft pick.

Like Ponikarovsky, Stempniak and Exelby are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents this summer, however both still carry hefty tickets. Stempniak is making $3.5 million this season ($2.5 cap hit), while Exelby is on the books for $1.7 ($1.39 cap hit), so moving these players isn't a simple process.

NHL sources say the Edmonton Oilers are pushing hard to move out bodies, but Oilers GM Steve Tambellini hasn't reached a point of desparation where he's willing to sweeten the pot to make a deal.

For example, the Maple Leafs would likely move either Exelby or Stempniak for Oilers captain Ethan Moreau, if Edmonton throws in a draft pick to soothe the pain of swallowing Moreau's contract which includes another year at $1.75 million and a $2 million cap hit.

At 34, Moreau is a character player whose speed and skill is lagging.

He, like most of the Oilers veteran leadership core has been a quality citizen in Edmonton and a good soldier on the ice, but he's hit the wall in the Alberta capital.

Toronto is a team capable and willing to take on salary, but whether it's Ethan Moreau or another teams cap crisis, the Maple Leafs won't accept the burden without added incentive.

Darren Dreger

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