A Planned Aprroach…Yes another leafs article.
I have been away from this site for a while.
And it is kinda sad to see not much has changed.
Although, there is less leaf talk which is a good thing. Not that I am about to help that.
Based on this years available signings and the consequence of the CAP going up dramatically, I would propose something a little out of the ordinary.
This is not a pipe dream, we get everyone article.
It is a valid approach.
The leafs have between 9 and 12 million to spend this offseason.
Based on this I think it is only fair to try to stay in these parameters.
I offer two scenarios, one in which we deal McCabe.
First, keeping McCabe (or rather unable to trade him).
I would persue Briere as much as I could. A full season removes his stigma as a band-aid boy. I would persue him as much as I could to stay competitive. He is in his prime and ready to show what he could do. He really has only had two truly shortened seasons in the last five years. And unlike some players, stayed active during the lockout. As long as his salary remains in the 7 million and under range he is a good idea. As he has room to grow. Anything more than that, and he is too costly.
Assuming we have paid 7 Million for Briere I would persue Hartnell and Handzus. Two reasons here. First, Hartnell is a budding powerforward. He is young, skilled, and gritty. Leafs fans favourite. Second he is still in an affordable 3 million range. He has room to grow at age 25, and could be our next Tucker for years to come. Maybe not as talented a goalscorer as Tucker has shown he can be as he was in his junior days; Hartnell is probably a more balanced player with comparable skill, and less apt to take stupid penalties as Tucker is, especially for being mouthy, or taking a dumb instigator or fighting penalty for taking on a guy he has no chance against. Not too mention we now have two pests.
Handzus, is a great option for Secondline Center. He is an affordable Powerforward that can help dominate a game. Having him between Poni and Antropov would make one menacing line. All three would be well above 6ft, all capable of scoring around 20 goals a season. All are punishing checkers from bodyweight alone. This also frees Sundin to Play with Briere. Either Centering or on the wing. Both are able to switch and would create great matchup problems. Failing to sign Hanzus, I would persue Bertuzzi. Again, a huge guy that can produce, and has at a superstar level. And could be affordable around the 3 million or less. Getting both is probably possible, but dangerous because you could loose one or both and between 4-6 million of CAP space should they both go down to injuries. They might be written of as Long-term injuries, but then you have priced yourself away from other talented FAs before the season. Bertuzzi would take spot on the wing and Antropov would be the new center. Still deadly, providing they are all healthy. None are expected to be superstars, but all are capable of 50 points and between 15-25 goals. Could be a even more punishing third line.
My proposed lines would be this:
Poni/Handzus/Antropov or Poni/Antropov/Bertuzzi
Plus one could be any mix of:
Pohl Kilger Williams Newbury Deveraux.
This could push our spending to over 12 million depending on the prices overpaid for free-agents as they always are. At there respective maxes Briere 7, Handzus 3, Hartnell 3, that puts us at 13 million. 1 Million more than Top cap space. But a perusal of recent reports by experts will make you aware that the leafs have been stockpiling there defense and are bursting at the seems. One-three guys could be dealt and thus giving us more than a million at the top to afford free agents. Trading one of these prospects for a back-up goalie also takes care of that problem.
Scenario two, trading McCabe.
Would free-up 5.75 a year. I would use this money to do the same scenario up top, with the exception of Hartnell. I would use the other available funds to get a better back-up, as well as a more prolific forward like Kariya, Forsberg, Blake or Tkatchuk. We would also maintain some space for a deadline aquisitions that will at least help us get into the playoffs, if these guys can’t find a way to do it already.
Futhermore, I would start stacking picks for 09 draft at the off chance or acquiring TAVARES. This guys is maybe not as good as Crosby but will by most accounts be close. He is the type of Franchise player we have not had. And I would put all effort into making his acquisition possible. He would come in NHL ready in the same years we could bring in Kulemin, Williams (if he does not get a spot this year) and Pogge, for a new Era in Leafdom, developed, not payed for.