Maple Leaf fans have reason to hope today and tomorrow will signify positive, new beginnings for their favourite hockey team.
The Leafs have the No. 7 pick in tonight's draft, and by 9 p.m. or so there will be a new teenager with "saviour" tattooed on his forehead. There are all kinds of trade rumours, including some linking Pavel Kubina to San Jose when Kubina's trade window opens this weekend. There's an intent to at least try again to move veterans Darcy Tucker and Bryan McCabe, whose only professional aspirations currently seem to be to live in Toronto, whether the hockey club wants them or not.
So lots of intrigue, many possibilities.
And what a strange little move with which to see the hockey club start off.
After resourcefully picking up a third round pick, 70th overall, from Florida at the trade deadline for Chad Kilger, Fletcher peddled that moderately useful pick to St. Louis last night for 33-year-old winger Jamal Mayers.
Mayers is a local fellow, a big, grinding winger who again played for Canada at the recent world championships in Quebec City and Halifax. The Leafs have been eyeballing him for years as a useful third or fourth line player. Mayers is under contract for the next two seasons at the very affordable $1.4 million.
The question, however, would be why is the team selling off newly acquired picks, even third rounders, for aging veterans who can at best play supporting roles?
It's not a big deal, that's for sure. But isn't this where the Leafs want to be hoarding as many young prospects as possible, not dealing off picks? Or is the plan here to patch together a lineup that can qualify for that exalted eighth and final playoff berth in the east?
While first and second rounders are obviously the most useful, any pick in the top 100 has value. The idea was to move Kilger to start the rebuilding process, yet the pick acquired in exchange for him has now been flipped to land another older player.
Curious. Let's see what the rest of the weekend brings.