With 11 pending UFAs and RFAs on the Leafs' roster (one or two of who might actually be tradeable) there are a few key dates Leaf fans should keep an eye on.
January 1, 2010 (yeah I know it was three weeks ago):
As of January 1, NHL teams can begin negotiating new deals ("extensions") for players on one-year contracts. Leaf players in this category include Gustavsson, MacDonald and Wallin.
I know I speak for many Leaf fans when I say that Burke better get Wallin's name on a long-term deal (in the SEL, KHL or working the counter selling fast food at Burkie's Dog House).
February 12, 2010 - Olympic trade freeze.
NHL rosters will be frozen for the duration of the
corrupt multinational festival Olympics.
February 28, 2010 - Olympic trade freeze ends.
GMs are free to once again make blockbuster deals like Stefan Legein for Michael Ratchuk or Pascal Pelletier for Brendan Bell.
March 3, 2010 - NHL Trade deadline day.
If you're able to do the math here, you'll notice that NHL GMs have all of four days from the end of the Olympic roster freeze to the trade deadline to sort out their final moves of the year.
That means March 3 should make for a great day of TV for Leaf fans to find out:
- Which Leaf will land a 3rd rounder?
- Which underperfoming Leaf won't find a new home and won't get waived?
- Which assistant GM will botch the paperwork and see a deal get annulled?
- What former goon (now character guy) will the Leafs pick-up for a conditional 6th rounder?
- Who will be the first to say, "Sometimes the best deals are the ones you don't make."
- That yet another year has passed without a high pick being traded to bury a bad contract
- And no players were moved to help a team hit the cap floor