So Maple Leafs Fans, we are passed the midway point (don’t tell the all-star scheduler that!) and we are edging closer to the deadline so there are questions to be asked and decisions to be made. Let’s start with a tough one, what to do with one Matt Stajan? Stajan is one of the guys who seems to have rebounded very well from some tough love from Mr. Wilson. He is on pace to score 19 goals (my math is about as accurate as a Mats Sundin rumor from Bob McCown) and 61 points. Here is the question Burke has to ask himself: at 25 years old is this what Stajan is, a 20-25 goal scorer at or around 60-65 points? Or this is a one year thing? If he IS the 20-25/60-65 a year guy then you are starting to look at a player comparable at the low end to Brad Richards( I know, Richards was in the Olympics and is an All Star, I am just talking about numbers….)…Again, my math is nothing to write home about, but Richards’ averages about 21 goals and 49 assists a season averaged over his career. If you look at this one year of Stajan’s as the break out, then who’s to say he can’t become a consistant 25 goal, 50 assist guy. At 1.75m he is a bargain (especially when you compare it with 7.8 for Richards (who is 3 years older then Stajan)
Conversely, do you think this is an aberration, then do you deal him when is value is at it’s highest. People (perhaps correctly) chastise Cliff for not dealing Toskala after last season for the very same reason. It says here the best GM’s know when their assets are worth their absolute most and deal with them accordingly. If a year from now, the goal is to have the average age under 25, then is a guy who turns 26 next December to old to take the spot of a younger guy? I don’t try to pretend to have the answer. I think this is the type of question Burke is really going to have to focus hard on. Of course an easy answer would be to question what the return would be should you deal Stajan. Obviously we don’t know…but let’s say prospects and picks (some mix of both 1 and 1). One thing that would concern me is the message that it would send to the team. Stajan was benched and has responded well, very well. If he were to get traded, what does that say for the Wilson way…. You get sent a message, you hear it loud and clear and still get traded????
Interesting times indeed. At least it’s something to talk about