Oct 30, 2011; Ottawa, ON, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Carl Gunnarsson (36) in the second period against the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Leafs Offering Gunnarsson, Kadri, and Bozak for Luongo?

The Toronto Maple Leafs are rumoured to be offering the Vancouver Canucks a package consisting of defenceman Carl Gunnarsson, forward Nazem Kadri, and centre Tyler Bozak for goaltender Roberto Luongo, according to The Fourth Period.

Gunnarsson, 26, is in the final year of a two-year contract and carries a cheap cap hit of $1.325 million, but is due for a significant raise this offseason. He has been the Leafs’ most consistent defenceman the past two seasons and has been skating on the top-pairing with Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf averaging 21:42 a game.

However, would the Canucks be interested in Gunnarsson? The Canucks are already cap-strapped for next season so it’s unlikely they would be interested in bringing in Gunnarsson who will easily triple and quadruple his salary this summer as a restricted free agent.

The Canucks at this point are seeking a right side defenceman to replace the departed Sami Salo.

When the team signed Jason Garrison as a free agent last summer, it was widely assumed by fans and media that he would slide into Salo’s spot on the second pairing with Alexander Edler believing he was a right side defenceman.

In actuality, Garrison only played the right side with Brian Campbell on the power play last season with the Florida Panthers. Head coach Alain Vigneault’s plan at this moment may be to move Edler to the right side—a position he spent time playing last season.

Gunnarsson is another left side defenceman, so he does not meet the needs of the Canucks.  Cody Franson, a Salmon Arm, B.C. native, may be a better fit for the team.

Kadri and Bozak have been rumoured names in a potential Luongo trade for a while now, but the Leafs may not want to move these two players anymore.

After struggling out of the gate and getting called out by Toronto Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins for unacceptable fat levels, Kadri has since ramped up his play picking up 26 points in 27 games.

Sportsnet analyst and former NHL general manager Doug MacLean wondered on Hockey Central at Noon on the Fan 590 whether the Leafs would trade Bozak given his close relationship with winger Phil Kessel and if that would impact contract negotiations between the winger and the Leafs.

Kessel has one more year remaining on his contract after this season before he becomes an unrestricted free agent. The Leafs will be looking to extend his contract this summer.

Tags: Phil Kessel Toronto Maple Leafs Vancouver Canucks

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