So you may have heard some significant rumbling coming from your baseball buddies or had a chance to dive into the massive trade that happened betweem the Blue Jays and the Marlins recently. Yes, it really was that big and yes it really was that significant. Any way to look at it, the team the Jays are going to field with the inclusion of the recently signed Melky Cabrera (definitely worth the risk) is going to be one of best we have seen here in Toronto in quite some time. I’m not guaranteeing any results (we are predominately Leaf fans remember!), nor am I helping plan any parade routes just yet but from a skill level standpoint this is one of the best teams to suit up for the Jays in awhile and you might just want to head out to some games this year, just saying.
So what does all this have to do with hockey you ask? Not much but it was fun writing about. Kidding. In all honesty it was how the trade came about that was most interesting, to me anyways. Jays GM and resident wonderkid Alex Anthopolous had been stockpiling picks and prospects for awhile and that is exactly what went to the Marlins in return. We are not just talking prospect here but good prospects, really good prospects in fact, just ask your baseball loving buddies. BUT what they got in return was a future sure fire hall of famer and two really good pitchers.
So where does that leave the Leafs? Well you may or may not have noticed that stockpiling picks and prospects is EXACTLY what Brian Burke has been doing during over the last five years and with all this extended time off you have to wonder if the scouts and braintrusts have started running through numerous trade senarios that may involve just suchs assets to better the parent club. You now have a significant number of real prospects in the Marlies and all your picks for the first time in recent memory. Hope you didn’t actually think that we were just going to keep them all and bring up the really good ones as they developed!?!. Possible but you have to admit, highly unlikely. I am willing to take a gamble that the Leafs will at some point, like the Jays, start packaging up these young talented players they have acquired, drafted etc. to bring in some immediate and inpactful help to the parent club.
Lets face it, the more you look at our defense core, especially in the Marlies, there is plenty of talent in that lineup that would be useful to other clubs with weaker squads (Kostka, Fraser, Holzer all look ready to take the next step or return to the NHL and would be considered really good depth trades for just such clubs).
Matt Frattin has returned and appears better than ever, scoring five goals in his first five games after coming back from a freak knee injury suffered in the conference finals last year. Both Kadri and Frattin look primed to make an NHL entrance if not this year then next, so they are close to becoming at minimum rookie third line contributors, that in itself would have value to older or rebuilding squads. (Having the two of them between newly signed Jay McClement might yield some interesting results as well.).
So there you have it. Chances are, just given the amount of depth present in the farm club and the amount of younger players who’s development has paused given the severe roster issues caused by the lockout (Brad Ross anyone?) a trade involving a number of prospects could be not only just what the parent club ordered but would create space enough for the Marlies to get to concentrating on developing talent (like, Crescenzi, Brenner etc.) instead of allowing players to stew especially like Fraser and Frattin. Just some food for thought, comments always welcome!