July 1st options

July 1st is around the corner and I found myself looking at free agent lists and wondering what Brian Burke might do this Thursday. The players I will mention are players I BELIEVE to be good fits in Toronto and by no means am I saying they will/want to sign here.

With that said I will focus mostly on forwards since the Leafs have 5 goalies in the system and even if Kaberle is traded we still have ample defencemen at the ready.

So keeping with Burke mantra…we need some top 6 scorers and some bottom 6 grinders. What we have at the moment is:

Phil Kessel
Nik Kulemin
Mikhail Grabovski
Nazem Kadri
Luca Caputi
Colton Orr
Christian Hanson
Victor Stalberg
Mike Brown
Fred Sjostrom
Tyler Bozak

Im going under the assumption that Burke keeps our RFAs, Hanson shouldnt be a problem its just a matter of how much Kulemin gets. I also dont see many scenarios where Kadri DOESNT make the team so he’s in.

We have a list of 11 here but guys like Brown, Hanson and Sjostrom could be scratches at times so I believe we have space for 2-3 forward signings.


2 Top 6 scorers
1 Bottom 6 grinder

What’s available? And what fits in Toronto’s system? (Example…Burke said he doesnt want to sign a lifetime contract so Kovalchuk is out…Lee Stempniak also out since he sucked in Toronto but flourished in Phoenix)

Colby Armstrong: Bottom 6 grinder who can pot in 20 goals in a good year. He is excellent on the forcheck and is the kind of Burke player everyone is speculating about. Is he worth 3 million a season to play the 3rd line?

Ray Whitney: He is 38 but he seems to always be good for 60-70 points in a season. I believe he is a good option for the short term to sign a reasonable 2 year contract.

Raffi Torres: This guy aside from consistency issues is exactly what Burke is looking for. I personally hope he signs elsewhere because I dont like him but its safe to assume Burke has interest in him to be a bottom 6. Will Raffi take a pay cut to come to Toronto?

Alex Ponikarovsky: I know what your all thinking… But he is always good for 20 goals in a season…even if he didnt pan out in Pittsburg. However I dont think he is worth 3 million a year.

Eric Belanger: Tough bottom 6 kind of player. Relatively inexpensive…seen pulling his own tooth out during the playoff. Pretty sure Burke would be interested.

Derek Boogaard: This was disgusted in another thread as the 3rd fighting option after Orr and Brown. How many fighters can the Leafs dress each game tho? And is it worth having 3 million invested in a 4th line?

Aaron Asham: This is a guy I hope Burke goes after. I believe he can be had for 1.5 million and can play the 3rd line with some grit, nastiness and determination. Had a great playoff IMO.

Alex Frolov: This isnt a guy that Im overly excited about but hes worth a mention. Twice a 30 goal scorer and he is relatively young…But can he backcheck?

Teemu Selanne: Haha OK this is quite a longshot but could he be convinced to come play for Burke again? He always scores 25+ but he seems to be attached to the hip with Saku Koivu.

So Thursday Im sure will have its highs and lows. I for one am excited and I hope Burke gets Armstrong, Whitney and Asham! That’s my wishlist because I think they wont break the bank and will fit into the system Burke and Wilson are trying to instill here.

78 Responses to July 1st options

  1. mojo19 says:

    Not JFJ material on a 1 year deal, and he wouldn't be a go-to free agent, but something you consider mid summer if you can fit him under the cap. Obviously if you can fill out your roster with younger free agents who can be part of the team for a while you do it, but if you've got a roster spot left and some $, why wouldn't you do it? Provided he'd agree to come up here.

    27 goals in 54 games last year for Teemu is a 41 goal pace. 27 goals in 65 games the year prior is a 34 goal pace. 27 goals in each of the last two seasons! Even if he does miss 10-20 games he's not showing signs of slowing down too much and would bring veteran scoring to the line up.

  2. KingCanada says:

    The Leafs are already the youngest team in the league so adding a couple veterans would actually be beneficial!  Id gladly take Teemu if we were lucky enough to catch his attention!  Even Asham I thought had a great playoff and wouldnt break the bank, hes the perfect kind of bottom 6 player.

    The entire team cant be young you know and the younger UFAs out there are eigther ex-Leafs or not worth it.  And obviously we cant count on next year's draft eigther so there's only one other way to build…

    Just wondering…how exactly is Whitney "already gone"?  If we cant get Teemu there really arent any other top 6 options…. Id sign him for 2 years no problem!  2 year 6 million approx?  That's fair!

  3. mojo19 says:

    Definitely, Ray Whitney is a pimp

  4. mapleleafsfan says:

    That's true, they do save quite a bit of money and they are pretty screwed financially however I really don't see the stars moving one of their best young players for one year of kaberle. And adding another prospect on top of that is too much. Dallas may need the cap space but they can't just trade away their young players/prospects for kaberle when they aren't even cup contenders. I'm sure they would be more than willing to move ribeiros contract for very little to free up cap space but I really don't see them sacrificing that much just for kaberle. Realistically he won't resign with them next year as they aren't a contending team and with their money issues probably won't be one for a while.


    Adam Burish will be in the "minors" next season.. Pronger said it first.

  6. leafstime says:

    Grabovski and Hanson for Marc Staal.

    Kaberle, Exelby, and Sjostrom for Bobby Ryan.

    Get these done.


    Torres is good for 25 goals a year?? Hes only done it once in his career. Hes typically good for 15 goals a year. How do you know"he liked to party"?


    He won't even think about going to TOR.. He'll play in ANA ot go to a contentor to make another run at a cup.


    then sign Kovy and Gonchar and then trade Kulemin for Savard, and everything is all good in Leaf land.

  10. cam7777 says:

    And hopefully Burke tries to take one of those guys off the market himself.  Either Hamhuis or Martin would look good in our top 4 post-Kaberle.  What I would consider to be a good day for Burke:

    -sign Colby Armstrong, 4 years, 10 million
    -sign Paul Martin, 5 years, 20 million

    To CHI: James Reimer, 2nd in 2011
    To TOR: Andrew Ladd

    Then in the next week Burke finds a Kaberle trade, and following that, he looks at dumping Grabovski for a pair of mid-tier prospects and flipping those for Savard.  Very successful off-season if Burke is able to add Armstrong, Martin, Ladd, Savard, and still trade Kaberle for a solid winger.

  11. TmLeafan says:

    I would have to agree.  Like I said Bergeron is their best player and with all this talk about Savard I would have to say that Boston has no interest in moving Bergeron and Savard is gone.  But who knows I would not be surprised if Burke has at least explored the possibility.  

    The one player I am excited about would be Jeff Carter.  I think he has got to be our number one target.
  12. Kev_Leafs says:

    I'm being realistic with my signings.  I think the key acquisition to this off-season is going to be acquired through trade.

    Yeah Torres would be a guy that floats between 2nd/3rd line duty.  More importantly, let's hope Phaneuf cleans up too.

    I mention Konopka because he's really good at faceoffs (and he'd sign for around 500,000 – allowing money to be spent elsewhere).  I hate it when the fourth line is on the ice – if they ice the puck they need someone to win the draw.  Brown – Konopka – Orr would bang people around, fight (win or lose), and win some draws to chip the puck out or get it deep. 

    Again – I would only sign Konopka or Moreau if we get only one of Malhotra, Armstrong, or Torres.  If we get two of them then there would be no need to add to the fourth line as we could find someone already in the organization to fill that spot.

    By the way – I really hope we don't get Lombardi.  A small centre is not what we need considering we have Kadri and Bozak (or – heaven forbid – Garbovski) to fill the top centre positions.  Getting Lombardi would just screw the Leafs over for next summer when some decent centres could become UFA (Thornton, Richards, Bergeron…)

  13. gregmash_Leafs says:

    Colby Armstrong,Aaron Asham and Eric Belanger are the only 3 guys Burke would actually sign from that list from there its all through trade. 

    I'm not convinced that Burke wont give an offer sheet to some of the pending RFA's so there stilll may be a trade option there for a guy like James Neal or Bobby ryan although unlikely. But I think Marc Savard is a viable option and possibly Devon Setaaguchi through the Kaberle trade but I wont speculate more on that front.
    But Kovalchuk is not ever coming to Toronto and I for one am glad for that.
  14. Kev_Leafs says:

    Throw Nystrom in there as a possible 3rd line guy too to sign.

  15. HABSSTAR says:

    Nope, Selanne had repeatedly said he wasn't leaving California.

  16. 24_cups_and_counting says:

    and then:

    Giguere to PITT for Fleury
    Kulemin's rights to WSH for Ovechkin
    Finger to LA for Doughty
    Colton Orr to TBL for Stamkos

    Seems about as likely as yours doesn't it?

  17. mapleleafsfan says:

    That's dumb.. Atleast get kulemin resigned before you trade him for ovechkin or I don't see it going through.. And if we're gonna trade with pittsburg I'd aim for crosby over fleury when we can probably get miller for Reimer.

  18. mojo19 says:

    That's true but he's had like 12 in 50 games, and 19 in 60 games, you figure if healthy he'd be counted on for at least 20. And he did like to party, my friend works for the Oilers. Also in a lot of ways Edmonton is a small town, word gets around. Can't confirm it, don't wanna spread rumours but its just what I heard.

  19. mojo19 says:

    I agree about Lombardi, and I see your reasoning. Not like there are any prizes outside of Kovalchuk anyways so whats the difference.

  20. mojo19 says:

    I don't even think he'd leave Anaheim for a contender. I believe its Anaheim or retirement for Teemu, anything else would be a big shocker.

  21. mojo19 says:

    You don't want Kovalchuck? Bizarre

  22. gregmash_Leafs says:

    Yeah he's a forty goal scorer but he's only good in the regular season he disapears in the playoffs. He's a headcase and definetly not worth 8 mil per.

  23. Mapleleaves says:

    nowadays id rather have a poor playoff then a poor regular seasons.

  24. Mapleleaves says:

    I think the penguins would need to add more, Malkin or crosby would be a nice fit.

  25. gregmash_Leafs says:

    So your not interested in winning the cup??

  26. Mapleleaves says:

    Im interested in being entertained. Cup would be a bonus.

  27. Mapleleaves says:

    And dont get me wrong id be exstatic if the leafs won the cup.

  28. connsmakebe-leafs says:

    hmmmmm…….I find it funny that all these habs fans shiet all over the buds, however we didn't have to lean on a yankee to save us from folding in jan '01

Leave a Reply