Jun 15, 2012, 10:43 AM EDT
According to the Toronto Sun, you can add the Maple Leafs to the list of potential suitors for Justin Schultz.
To be fair, this isn’t exactly a revelation. The University of Wisconsin blueliner is a highly touted talent, only 21 years old and projected by many to step in and become a top-four defenseman in the NHL. Toronto, like almost any other team, would be interested in that.
What makes the Leafs interesting, though, is GM Brian Burke’s history with Schultz.
Toronto’s connection is that Burke drafted him just prior to leaving the Ducks in 2008, 43rd overall, the round after another Wisconsin defenceman Jake Gardiner. Anaheim was so anxious to get Schultz signed, it was reportedly prepared to burn a year of his entry-level contract just to play him in the final few games of the regular season. The Ducks might also work a trade for his rights before the 24th.
Burke has a history of obtaining (or trying to obtain) players he drafted while in Anaheim. In Feb. 2011, he flipped Francois Beauchemin to the Ducks in exchange for Joffrey Lupul and the aforementioned Gardiner, the latter becoming Toronto’s best young defensive prospect (sorry, Luke Schenn.)
Burke’s also been tied to Ducks sniper Bobby Ryan for what feels like forever. The rumors date back to 2008, when Burke left his Anaheim post to take over the Leafs and was reportedly trying to take Ryan — who he drafted second overall in 2005 — along with him.
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