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:
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.