Boy it has been a good news week in Rangerland. First, it became clear that the Rangers were very much involved in trade discussions with the Ottawa Senators for star right winger Dany Heatley. And today it was reported in The Globe and Mail that the Toronto Maple Leafs may have interest in Wade Redden.
I find it hard to believe that anyone, let alone a general manager as shrewd as Brian Burke, wants to trade for Redden. But if the Leafs really are talking trade, they must be expecting quite a bit of help in return.
The Leafs really don't have many massive contracts. Jason Blake has three more years at a salary cap hit of $4 million, Tomas Kaberle has two years at $4.25 million, and Jeff Finger has three years at $3.5 million. Blake and Finger were bad deals at the time of their signings, but the end of both are in sight, and the Leafs are in a reasonable position to buy out either player should they so desire. It has long been rumored that the Leafs wanted to deal Kaberle, so that's a possibility, but I think they would have found a taker by now if they were serious about getting rid of him.
The Leafs don't have any contracts lasting past the end of the 2011 season, so they can afford to take on a bulky contract like Redden's. They have a ton of cap room to spare and, with no big contract on the books, perhaps taking one atrocious deal accompanied by some assets is a good idea.
I don't buy it for a minute, but maybe the Leafs would trade Blake, Finger, or Kaberle for Redden and a second round pick. None of the three particularly interest me, but for a fraction of Redden's contract amount and length, I would happily take them on board if I were Glen Sather.
The most appealing of the three is Jason Blake. While Blake isn't worth $4 million, the Rangers are set on defense with or without Redden. There's no incentive to acquire Kaberle or Finger. Although I can't imagine Blake would be thrilled about the idea of playing on the same line as Sean Avery, he has a bit of offensive punch which the Rangers sorely lack. Blake is only two years removed from a 40 goal season, and although he had a rough year in 2007, he returned to form with 28 goals and 63 points last season. Blake has also reportedly been on the trade block for a while, and maybe there's a match between the Rangers and Leafs here, assuming the Rangers add a pick or prospect. It might take a lot more than a second round pick and absorbing Blake's contract to unload Redden, but the good news is that the Rangers may be able to ship Redden out of town after all.
Time will tell, but things are getting interesting in Rangerland with the draft and free agency quickly approaching.