The Toronto Maple Leafs have been in the market for a fourth line centre and may have finally found the right target just a few days away from the trade deadline. When Brian Boyle was part of the Leafs' lineup, everyone loved him as an elite fourth-line centre, but the veteran player did not want to re-sign with Toronto, moved on to the New Jersey Devils, and now we are here:
The Leafs want another quality centre of their fourth line.
While general manager Lou Lamoriello could give a shot to a young player in the minors, as such Frederik Gauthier or Ben Smith for example, the Leafs might be perhaps persuaded by head coach Mike Babcock to look on the market. More precisely to the coach's former team, the Detroit Red Wings' camp.
According to Frank Seravalli on TSN, the Maple Leafs have inquired about veteran Luke Glendening in Detroit. Though they are not the only club to have done so, as the Dallas Stars have also made the call, the link between Glendening and Babcock could give Toronto the edge.
However, as Seravalli points out, Red Wings' general manager Ken Holland will not be giving Glendening away, which could seem like too much of a gamble for the Leafs.
One of the main problems with Glendening is that his term is three more years after this one on his contract. His annual cap hit seems somewhat affordable though, at $1.8 million. In comparison with another potential fourth-line centre on the block, Montreal Canadiens' Tomas Plekanec, Glendening is a bargain. Plekanec is on a $6 million contract and the Habs have yet to decide if they are moving him or keeping him in the fold.
There are other options on the trade market, notably Minnesota Wild forward Matt Cullen, Edmonton Oilers' Mark Letestu and Anaheim Ducks' Antoine Vermette, but there are issues and obstacles with them too. For one thing, they are all more expensive and older than Glendening, and none have the experience of playing under Babcock's philosophy.
In 44 games with the Red Wings this season, Glendening has tallied eight goals and 14 points so far. Gauthier, in the nine games he played with Toronto, managed to record just a goal.
As of now, the Leafs are counting on 37-year-old veteran Dominic Moore on the middle of their fourth line, and he has scored five goals and 11 points thus far this season. Moore is competent, performing better than Gauthier...While Moore is a trust-worthy player you can count on, Babcock might be asking for an upgrade with the a younger Glendening, who he can also depend on.
Is Glendening the right option, or would you prefer another player to take on the role of centring the fourth line?