On Tuesday June 12, 2001, Pat Quinn sacrificed the young, promising and somewhat injury prone Danny Markov in order to acquire Robert Reichel, Travis Green, and Chris Mills from the Coyotes. I’m certain that Leafs fans everywhere will wish 24 year-old Danny Markov the best of luck and hope that he continues to develop into the defensemen that we’ve often seen glimpses of. The young Russian had shown a lot of spirit on Toronto’s defense and had displayed great courage in blocking shots and killing penalties.
This trade is believed to be one of many off-season moves Pat Quinn will make in order to further enhance his club. Although it will cost Toronto more financially, Toronto has substantially upgraded its depth with this trade. The team’s blueline looked strong during this year’s playoffs which, in turn, made Markov expendable.
Robert Reichel is destined to support Mats Sundin as the team’s #2 centreman. Although many critics say that he is a soft player, Reichel had back to back 40 goal seasons with Calgary (and Gary Roberts scored back to back 30 goal seasons as his line mate during those same years). Travis Green has had three 20-goal seasons and is looked upon to be the #3 checking center. Green is a solid physical player who should offset the impending loss of current face-off specialist, Yanic Perreault.
With this trade completed, Toronto has surely improved it’s options at center. The newcomers join a deep cast of NHL quality forwards including Sundin, Berezin, Hoglund, Korolev, Corson, Tucker, Roberts and the developing Antropov. Though Markov will be missed on the blueline, the team still has a solid young defensive core of Berg, McCabe and Kaberle along with veterans Yushkevich, Manson, and Cross. And don’t count out Wade Belak or Nathan Dempsey (a player who seems to richly deserve a full time spot with the big club).
The improving farm system may soon provide additional reinforcements such as Svoboda, Farkas and Ponikarovsky. And there is still the NHL Entry Draft as well as an appealing free agent market that will provide additional opportunities for Toronto to enhance themselves. We will continue to watch the Maple Leafs as they make their off-season alterations in an attempt to further build their team into a squad that can compete amongst the best in the NHL.