Dear Brian Burke,
This all seems way too obvious. The Toronto Maple Leafs are in dire need of an elite left-wing. The best available free agent at the moment is a 27 year old, 2-time 50 goal scorer, who has also proven to be very durable.
Yes, I am going to say again what has been said so many times: "Why is Ilya Kovalchuk not a Toronto Maple Leaf?"
When I need bread and I have money, I buy bread. Why is filling a need on a hockey team any different?
By all accounts, it sounds as if Kovy will re-work his deal with the New Jersey Devils and will retire somewhere on the East coast. The fact you Brian are not in on this however, confuses me to no end.
Unless Ilya has stated that he does not want to play in Toronto, (which if he has and I missed it, this whole message is moot) it seems like a great fit. Solid goaltending, a top-5 NHL defense, and young talent around him. The Atlanta Trashers this is not.
To add Kovy to this team, would transform the team from playoff contender...to perhaps, contender.
I know you must look around the NHL, as many of us do, and see that more and more young stars are getting these deals. A new CBA may eliminate some of the deals we are seeing, but long-term deals are a trend I do not see going away.
Here you have the rare ability to get (in my opinion) the second best pure goal scorer in the NHL and you get him for nothing less than dollars.
What am I missing Brian?
Surely you can move a couple salaries to make this work. Finger, Grabbo should get you close. Move Beauchemin as well if you have to. Bring in a cheap vet for the seven slot.
Why not even use the huge reach of your owners to get Kovy a couple million extra in endorsements a year. The ol' "wink, wink..nudge, nudge."
Why the heck not.
Money does grow on trees for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Hall of fame goal scorers in the prime of their career do not.
Make that splash Brian, you will not regret it.
Your ol' buddy Burnie