There's only one untouchable on the Maple Leafs.
The man with no name.
Not Clint Eastwood, or his empty chair.
The 2013 first-round draft choice.
It is to be protected, retained and cherished, although other teams covet it and have already started suggesting it should be included in proposed trades.
Sucker trades. Like Ernie Hicke to help you now.
That '13 pick, among many reasons, is why there won't be an offer sheet from the Leafs for P.K. Subban. The Canadiens just might be willing to forgo matching and take the compensatory picks, after all, for a shot at Nathan MacKinnon or Seth Jones.
Beyond that, the betting here is that new GM Dave Nonis won't do what Floyd Smith did, or what Cliff Fletcher did, or what Pat Quinn did, or what John Ferguson Jr. did, or what Brian Burke did.
There will be no trading away the first-rounder in an attempt to make the present more palatable.
The Leafs seemed to have learned — finally — that blue-chip youngsters are not to be rushed. Similarly, surely they have learned through Tom Kurvers, the return of Wendel, Owen Nolan, Andrew Raycroft and Phil Kessel that the very definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and forecasting a different result.
At least when Kessel was acquired it could be imagined that one day he would be an untouchable. But it hasn't happened, and worse, in the early days of the shortened 2012-13 season it appears he may be poised to struggle through his most difficult season in a Leaf uniform yet.
Maple Leafs must keep first pick, deal Phil Kessel
Toronto Star | Jan 28