A fun little piece ran in the Edmonton Journal earlier today, talking about the Pittsburgh Penguins and the apparent necessity for them to move Evgeni Malkin. Jim Matheson talked about several situations in which the Penguins could move their (other) star centre, and… wait, no. Stop. Don’t drag the Leafs into this…
The Leafs need a first-line centre, too. Would they go Malkin for Phil Kessel and his $8 million salary and Tyler Bozak? Kessel could play with Crosby.
Alright, let’s deal with this and quickly move past it, yeah?
Malkin, 28, is a ridiculously talented centre that has scored 268 goals and 702 points in 587 games since being selected 2nd overall in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. He’s won a Stanley Cup, a Conn Smythe Trophy, two Art Ross Trophies, and a Hart Trophy.
Why in hell’s name would the Leafs want someone like that when they’re planning on scorching the earth and rebuilding through the draft? It makes about as much sense as Chewbacca living on Endor.
What makes even less sense is trading Phil Kessel for Malkin. While I think most of us recognize that Malkin is probably (and ever so slightly) the better player, can he help Toronto win games in some way that Kessel was unable to? I doubt it.
In Toronto, Malkin would be a one-man show, much in the way that Kessel has been since he became a Leaf. The #1 centre position has been a huge hole for the Leafs since the Sundin days, but trading Kessel for Malkin satisfies one need while creating another.
And Tyler Bozak… Well, Tyler Bozak can go to Pittsburgh for all I care. That’s fine. No issues there.
If I could suspend disbelief for a moment, then we could have a really amazing conversation about how good Kessel would look lining up beside Sidney Crosby, but Kessel and Crosby combining for 200 points a season and winning Stanley Cups despite all of the Penguins’ other problems certainly doesn’t help the Leafs.
Point is, while I’m not a member of the Toronto’s front office, I’m going to go ahead and say ‘no thanks’. There’s no reason why the Leafs should be interested in trading for Evgeni Malkin.
Matheson, leave Toronto out of this.