Over the past 24 hours or so, there has been a ton of speculation regarding the rumoured Toronto-Tampa Bay trade talks.  Before these rumours start spinning too far out of control, perhaps a bit of clarification on how this all got started may be in order.  As such, I’ve been doing some digging this evening to try to straighten out the story.

    Here’s the update on the recent rumours flying around Leafland, from what I’ve been able to gather.

    1.  HNIC’s Elliotte Friedman broke the rumour of the Leafs 1st round pick for the Lightning’s 1st plus Ryan Malone, on the Fan 590, saying “everyone around the league is convinced” that the Leafs will wind up with the second overall pick.

    2.  Shortly thereafter, ex-Blue Jackets’ GM Doug MacLean broke the rumour on Sportsnet that the Lightning were demanding the Leafs 1st, plus Kaberle and Schenn, for the 2nd overall pick.   The report suggested the story was confirmed by Leafs GM Brian Burke via email.  More on this in a moment.

    3.  Brian Burke is said to be right pissed at Sportsnet, and at MacLean, over that report.  Burke had to scramble to call both Schenn and Kaberle to tell them that no deal had been discussed, and to disregard all media reports of a possible deal.  Good luck to Sportsnet, and particularly MacLean, for landing any inside info from the Leafs in the near future.

    4.  What’s the story with the supposed email MacLean referred to in his report?   A few possibilities:

    (a) Burke and MacLean had an email exchange where Burke suggested the Lightning wanted too much for the pick. Burke was upset that it was reported it on air, and is now trying to quash it. I could certainly see the story developing out of that; Schenn and Kaberle’s names were bandied about at the deadline in reference to Tampa Bay, so it would be reasonable speculation to plug them into a story about TB wanting a heavy price for their pick.

    (b) A “source” told MacLean that the source or someone close to the source had received or been forwarded said email, and MacLean ran with that without seeing the email himself.

    (c) The email MacLean received was a fake, and he got played in front of a national audience.   Normally I would disregard this possibility, but the Brian Burke fake Twitter fiasco is still way too fresh to brush this possibility aside.

    (d) There was no email and the whole thing was speculation.   Which I think is highly unlikely … MacLean doesn’t strike me as the sort of guy to just make something like this up out of thin air.

    5.  Another rumour, whose origins remain somewhat unclear but are likely tied to members of the media picking up on MacLean’s report, broke suggesting that what was actually discussed was the Leafs 1st, plus Kaberle OR Schenn, plus Grabovski OR Tlusty, for the Lightning’s 1st overall pick, a prospect, and Ryan Malone.

    6.  The latest iteration of the rumour (#5 above) has picked up a fair bit of momentum online, but has yet to see serious play on the airwaves.  There is probably nothing to it, although the speculation involved seems far more realistic than MacLean’s version of the rumour, for whatever that may be worth.

    7. MacLean’s report has been denounced as completely false by just about everyone connected to the Maple Leafs and Lightning.  Burke’s response was that there was not a remote possibility he would make such a deal.

    8. Friedman’s report has been denounced as completely false by just about everyone connected to the Maple Leafs and Lightning.  Burke’s response was that such a deal “has not been discussed on [the Leafs’] end.”   The Score’s rumour blog reported that team sources claimed the Lightning are enamored with Hedman, and not at all eager to trade the pick.

    9. All hell continues to break loose in the Barilkosphere as trade speculation runs rampant in Leaf Nation.

    10.  The only thing anyone really knows for sure is that it is possible that someone from the Leafs and someone from the Lightning could have been in touch, and that the possible price of the 2nd overall pick may possibly have been the topic of discussion.   In other words, the only thing anybody knows for sure is that nobody knows anything for sure.   It’s pure speculation, at this point … on all sides.

    That’s the story thus far, from what I can tell.  Feel to make of it what you will.