Another hot rumor this morning!
OTTAWA — If often-criticized defenceman Bryan McCabe is a potential victim of the imminent Maple Leafs housecleaning as is expected, it likely will not come via the buyout route.
That was the word yesterday from Maple Leafs general manager Cliff Fletcher, who is aware that McCabe’s average salary of $5.75 million US translates to a hefty cap hit (almost $3-million per season for six years) in the event the Leafs attempted to buy him out.
The more logical way to go is to trade the veteran defenceman, the belief being that McCabe might waive the no-movement clause in his contract in order to go to a preferable destination such as the New York Islanders. The McCabes spend their off-seasons on Long Island, where Bryan’s wife, Roberta, grew up.
One theory making the rounds here leading up to tomorrow’s 2008 entry draft was that the Leafs might attempt to include McCabe and their No. 7 overall pick to the Islanders for a package that includes the No. 5 selection. By moving up two spots, the Leafs likely would land either Niagara defenceman Alex Pietrangelo or Russian forward Nikita Filatov, two players they covet.
But rather than make a knee-jerk reaction deal, the Leafs are thinking that it might be more prudent to wait until August when McCabe’s value on the market could swell slighty. With only two blue-chip free-agent blue liners — Brian Campbell and Wade Redden — available in free agency, McCabe, who has struggled the past couple of seasons, might fetch more interest by teams desperate to augment their back end.
Not sure I like this as it goes against two statements from Garth. Why lose the fifth overall and absorb cap space and age?
The only way I like this deal is if we get McCabe, the #7 pick, and one of Kyle Wellwood or Alexei Ponikarovsky. We get a top pairing d-man, retain a great first round pick and get a young veteran to retain the “youth movement” feeling.