Just how much would Shea Weber, Steven Stamkos or Drew Doughty be worth to the M

Are they worth relinquishing four years of first-round draft picks for? Are any one of them enough to turn the Leafs from also-rans to Stanley Cup contenders? That’s something general manager Brian Burke has to be considering — with three of hockey’s young stars heading to restricted free agency on July 1 — and knowing the kind of impatience he has shown in trying to build the Leafs the old-fashioned way. While Burke has previously spoken out against going after restricted free agents, he has said recently he has no objection to going that route if he deems it necessary. In the case of each of Weber, Stamkos and Doughty, teams are dealing with limited budgets and an over-the-top Leafs offer may put those clubs in peril of having to match the offer. The compensation for any restricted player over $5 million US a season is four first-round picks.

That wouldn’t be problematic for the Leafs if the four picks turned out to be Alex Steen, Carlos Colaiacovo, Brad Boyes and Luca Cereda. But might be if the picks turned out to be Vincent Damphousse, Wendel Clark, Al Iafrate and Russ Courtnall, whom the Leafs selected between 1983 and ’86. With Stamkos finding his playoff form and Tampa winning, and Weber nominated for the Norris Trophy, it is a ripe time to have this conversation or at least consider the possibilities. All of them could be signed with their existing teams by July 1. But what if they’re not?http://www.torontosun.com/2011/04/30/steve-simmons-says


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