A few players high on Brian Burke's To-Move list

 

Nik Antropov is one of several players who could be moved prior to the NHL trade deadline. Antropov got off to a torrid start this season, but now is mired in a 14-game goal drought. Here are the players expected to be high on the To-Move list.

 
 
 
 
 

Nik Antropov is one of several players who could be moved prior to the NHL trade deadline. Antropov got off to a torrid start this season, but now is mired in a 14-game goal drought. Here are the players expected to be high on the To-Move list.

NIK ANTROPOV

The 6-foot-6 Kazakh's play has dropped considerably since the arrival of GM Brian Burke, believed to be sour on European players. Antropov, 28, is also an unrestricted free agent July 1, so the Leafs may want to get something for him if they're afraid he'll bolt. His $2 million salary makes him an easy fit on any team; his skill and size make scouts drool. Burke might hope for a bidding war that could land him a first-round pick and a prospect.

ALEXEI PONIKAROVSKY

Everything said about Antropov is true for Ponikarovsky, except the 6-foot-4, 28-year-old Ukrainian has another year left on his deal at a very reasonable rate ($2.1 million). That might make him even more palatable to another team. A high-end prospect, or two high draft picks.

TOMAS KABERLE

The puck-moving defenceman landed in Ron Wilson's doghouse, but who hasn't? He is said to be willing to waive his no-trade clause, but won't ask to be traded. Burke has said he won't ask. A cat-and-mouse game going on here. But would it be wrong to keep Kaberle, who, at $4.25 million a year for the next three years, has a reasonable salary, and at 29 is reasonably young enough to be part of a rebuild? But Burke likes tough, not Kaberle's strength. If his price last year was Jeff Carter and a first-round pick, then Burke should say let the bidding begin there: a young NHLer and a top pick.

PAVEL KUBINA

A no-trade clause stood in the way of a trade to San Jose last year, but that was only for salary cap reasons. Ron Wilson liked him enough to convince Cliff Fletcher to trade Bryan McCabe instead of Kubina last summer. There are no salary cap pressures on Burke to move the 31-year-old, who earns $5 million a year and has another year on his contract. His stock has risen with steady play and offensive output. A handful of picks – not necessarily including a first-rounder – would do the trick.

JASON BLAKE

The odds have come down considerably with much-improved play over the last two months by Blake. He's the pesky Blake of old and scoring again. Teams might be fearful about his recent brush with cancer and the fact he still has another three years on his contract. Although the Leafs don't have salary cap worries, they might like to get out from under the length of this deal considering that Blake is 34 years old. The best offer lands him.

VESA TOSKALA

The Finnish netminder has been hot and cold this year. When he's good, he's very, very good. When he's bad, he's awful. Again, keeping Toskala wouldn't be the worst thing that Burke could do. If he turns his game around, all the better. If he doesn't, John Tavares would look good in a Leaf uniform. And Toskala can fill the space until Justin Pogge's ready. But the trade deadline can be a funny thing, and if a Stanley Cup contender finds itself with a goalie injury on the eve of the deadline, then Toskala becomes incredibly marketable. Hey, if Andrew Raycroft could find a steady gig again ...

 
 
 
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