McKenzie: Are the Maple Leafs paving way for big move?

Bob Mckenzie

9/5/2009 8:15:38 PM

At face value, it looks like a garden variety exchange of draft picks.

And maybe it is, but could it possibly be more than that?

We will see.

The Toronto Maple Leafs today re-acquired their own much-travelled 2010 second-round pick from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Toronto's third-round pick in 2011 and a 2011 second-round pick that was previously acquired by Toronto from Calgary.

Why would the Leafs effectively pay a net price of a third-round pick to get a second-round pick in the 2010 draft instead of the 2011 draft?

Well, the move now gives Toronto their own first, second and third-round picks in the next NHL entry draft, which is the prerequisite for any team that would want to submit an offer sheet on a top restricted free agent player this summer.

This deal doesn't mean the Leafs will submit an offer sheet but it now allows them to do so if they so choose.

And which current restricted free agent might be of interest to the Leafs?

Well, Toronto has had significant interest in Boston's Phil Kessel this summer but has not been able to work out a deal with the Bruins.

In any case, the Leafs are now, thanks to today's draft picks trade with Chicago, positioned to submit an offer sheet.

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