Friday, June 22, 2007

The Leafs have just made their first deal of the draft weekend, acquiring Vesa Toskala and Mark Bell from San Jose for (maybe)their first-round pick at No. 13 this season, a second rounder and a fourth-round pick in 2009.

I'm not thrilled about the loss of the first-round pick, but Toskala is the real deal. He was 26-10-1 with a 2.35 GAA and a .908 save percentage last year, and he'll only be better if he's the main man. The pick also can switch to the 2008 draft if the Sharks don't like who is available this year, but Toronto has Top 10 protection in that case.

Where this leaves Andrew Raycroft is up for debate. Raycroft wasn't the problem last season (hello, Kubina and McCabe!), but he wasn't the solution either. Dealing him or relegating him to the back-up spot would be an admission of defeat for Toronto GM John Ferguson, Jr., in the trade that sent Tuukka Rask to Boston last year. I have to think (and hope and pray) JFJ has a deal in place to move Razor and a defenseman.

It also makes you wonder whether the Leafs have already soured on Justin Pogge. I didn't hear anyone come away from last year's Marlies games saying they were overly impressed with Pogge, and the organization has been pretty mum. Pogge's way too young to write off, but if the right package came down the pike to move him and acquire either a high pick or a solid scorer, I think the Leafs would jump.

As for Mark Bell, he can't possibly play down to the lousy level of last year again, can he? Bell's 6-4, 205, so he's got the size Toronto needs in the corners and to free up Mats Sundin (hint hint), and he's only $2M a year. Wjat's the harm?

This is definitely a nice move by Ferguson, but keep your fingers crossed that another deal's coming.

No comments: