1.If Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings is available, it’s safe to assume he’ll wind up on the very top of Leafs GM Brian Burke’s wish list heading into Monday’s trade deadline. Over the past five seasons, Brown has been one of the league’s most consistent power forwards, hovering in the 50-60 points range while finishing in the top three in hitting in each of those years. While Brown doesn’t possess the largest of frames, he would bring that combination of grit and skill that Burke so desperately covets. After all, Burke chose Brown for the U.S. Olympic team for exactly those reasons. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun tweeted earlier that LA may consider moving Brown to the Leafs for Luke Schenn and Matt Frattin, but it remains to be seen whether the Leafs would agree to that, or if another team could offer more.
2.Speaking of the Los Angeles Kings, credit must be given to GM Dean Lombardi for an job well done in acquiring Jeff Carter from the Columbus Blue Jackets for defender Jack Johnson and a 1st round pick. Lombardi may even be lauded not for what he landed in Carter, but what he didn’t have to give up. Johnson was a must, but Lombardi’s ability to part only with a 1st and not one of his top prospects like Andrei Loktionov, Vyacheslav Voynov, or Jonathan Bernier is a huge plus. On the flip side, I do sympathize with Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson, who was forced to sit back and watch Carter destroy his own trade value with a sulking act and low points production before being forced to move him.
3.After consecutive poor outings from both Jonas Gustavsson and James Reimer, Brian Burke told TSN 1050 that the Leafs may have to look for goaltending help before the trade deadline. That’s great news, assuming Burke doesn’t want to use picks or prospects to acquire an aging, rental goaltender just so the Leafs might make the playoffs. If Burke really wants to ‘stick to the plan’, it will require a deal in which significant assets are moved for a goaltender with significant talent, and who’s young enough to grow with this team. The perfect fit, should he be available? Vancouver’s Cory Schneider, whom was drafted by the Leafs’ very own Dave Nonis in 2004.
4.The Washington Capitals must be getting quite antsy about one of their greatest Russian talents. And no, it’s not Alex Ovechkin. Evgeny Kuznetsov, one of the Capitals top prospects, recently revealed that if he was offered a 10-year deal, he might stay in Russia. That surely gave the Caps front office some headaches, but earlier today that stress quickly became concern when the 19-year old Traktor Chelyabinsk forward looked to be seriously injured when he was checked hard and fell awkwardly into the boards. Talk about a rough week.
5.I might be a filthy Toronto Maple Leafs ‘homer’. I say this because I’ve never much been a fan of Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Downie and his antics. In fact, I haven’t liked Downie since I first heard about his altercation with Calgary Flames prospect Akim Aliu back in Junior. That’s why I had so much trouble reading Mike Halford’s article on how Avs coach Joe Sacco sees Downie as a new-age Darcy Tucker. My issue? I completely agree with Sacco, and Tucker was one of my favorite Leafs when I was growing up. HOMER!