By Daniel Friedman
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Not a season goes by without an outlandish trade rumor involving your favorite team’s best player and the Toronto Maple Leafs, especially if said player is from the Canadian province of Ontario.
Usually, these rumors tend to originate there as well. But that wasn’t the case with the recent talk around Islanders captain John Tavares. That rumor started right in our own backyard.
It wasn’t the first time Tavares and the Leafs have been linked, and it won’t be the last. Here are seven players, including him, that are supposedly moving to Toronto any day now:
(Note: The following takes are loaded with sarcasm)
1. John Tavares
As mentioned earlier, he’s a regular in the rumor mill. It’s only a matter of time before he turns down a maximum-length contract from the Islanders and decides to bolt for Toronto. That is, if he doesn’t get traded there before he’s eligible for free agency.
2. Steven Stamkos
Stamkos is also from Ontario, and he hasn’t re-signed with the Lightning yet. Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman has publicly stated he won’t deal Stamkos before the deadline, but the Leafs are going to swoop in with a last-minute offer Yzerman can’t refuse, sending Tyler Bozak and Alexander Mogilny to the Bolts.
3. Eric Staal
Can anyone guess where Staal is from? He has also been rumored to be on the trading block for a while and the Leafs would naturally love to have him. This might actually happen (no, seriously), but if history is any indication, it probably won’t.
4. Aaron Ekblad
The Leafs were reported to be mounting a serious offer for the draft pick that became Ekblad. The Florida Panthers wisely held on to it and now have their franchise defenseman … until, of course, he demands a trade to Toronto after his entry level contract expires.
5. Joe Thornton
The San Jose Sharks are going to cut him loose one of these years and the Leafs will be waiting with open arms. They’re reportedly interested in Thornton, so it’s only a matter of time.
6. Roberto Luongo
Even the veteran goaltender, himself, said he was “shocked” he wasn’t traded to the Maple Leafs. Let that sink in for a moment.
7. Nail Yakupov
Like every other No. 1 overall pick before (and after) him, Yakupov was rumored to become a Leaf. Reports indicate that Toronto wanted to put together a package to move up in the draft and obtain the top pick. It didn’t work out, but the additions of Tavares and Stamkos should be enough to fill the void.