We are just past the half way mark and mere days before the All Star break….Deadline dealings will no doubt heat up shortly. Not all cup contending or playoff wannabe (in some cases “needtobe”) teams will be looking for this years version of Marian Hossa….Many teams will be looking for lower priced, small pieces of the puzzle….vets that can handle playoff pressure or simply more 3rd and 4th line depth to deal with injuries. We all know about the Kaberle’s, Kubina’s and Antropov’s that we hope Burke can morph into picks and/or prospects….But there are a few vets on the Marlies that I believe the Leafs should consider recalling to see (and demonstrate to potential suitors) if they have anything left at the NHL level that could net more, albeit lower, picks in this years draft. I’m referring to Mark Bell, Boyd Devereaux and Bates Battaglia. Bell especially; who apparently has played extremely well of late (read Sun Article by Steve Buffery). Before you laugh – I know that the league is probably filled with guys like these and that there will likely be very few teams interested in our older farmhands….but why not give it a try? All three will be UFA’s after the season so it’s our last chance to get any value for them and there is no downside for the acquiring team as there are no long term commitments. Drafting is a numbers game; especially in the later rounds….there are lots of great stories of low picks becoming good NHL’ers…why not try to parlay one or all three of these guys into late picks? One might argue that playing these guys will stunt the development of others….Well, for a few games, I see no harm in asking vets like Mayers and Hollweg (who doesn’t play regularly anyway) to sit and sending a guy like Deveaux back down to the AHL for a few weeks. If you think I’m way off – especially on Devereaux and Battaglia…at least give me Mark Bell.
Another consideration (and perhaps most damaging to my suggestion above) is the risk of losing these players on re-entry. I’m not an expert on the CBA but after reading the rules (Article 13) I believe all three players mentioned would have to clear waivers if recalled…(someone correct me if I’m wrong). So, we could risk losing them for nothing. So perhaps the ultimate question is….is it worth it to attempt to bring them up to demonstrate their worth at the NHL level vs. trying to peddle them based on their AHL performance? Another option is to focus on other moves and simply let them remain with the Marlies and ride off into the sunset at the end of the season.
What do you think?