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.