Leaf Experts Look: Leafs Edition

Bryan McCabe, the NHL Draft, whats about Cujo and Ryan Smyth?

With the NHL’s draft not far away and free agency soon to be here by the end of the month. Here’s an inside track through what I’ve gathered the Leafs will be up to for this month and for the most part of this offseason….

I’ll start off with Mike Peca. The National Post first reported Peca has made it known he would like more than anything to return to the Maple Leafs and even admitted he’ll need to take a pay-cut in order to do so which he understood based on the fact not playing past the full season last year. Sources say JFJ will meet with Peca’s agent Don Meehan to discuss future plans with both parties.

Experts Look: I believe if Peca wants to truly come back to the Leafs, that if he isn’t signed before JULY 1st, he’ll have to wait a while before JFJ comes to him with a contract offer(Something like with Lindros, except Lindros ended up leaving). This beacause there’ll be much more bigger fish to fry for JFJ in the offseason before he comes to Peca with an offer for the centre to handle the 2nd/3rd line duties.

Now onto Bryan McCabe. Apparantly, the Leafs are lurking through the NHL market to see what they can get for the offensive defenseman. With the Islanders being the most interested.

Experts Look: The thinking behind dealing McCabe is, that if they can dump his salary, it’ll enable them that much more space to make a push for their main target (Ryan Smyth) and will also allow them to trade for or sign a cheaper yet, more reliable defenseman in the defensive zone.

J.S. Aubin will obviously not be back mainly for reasons of he and coach Paul Maurice having a rocky relationship and also the fact that when given the chance to handle the ball for the team he just couldn’t run with it. Names like Mathaui Garon and David Auebicher are surfacing but former Leafs goaltender Curtis Joseph

Experts Look: I personally believe that 2/3rds of the potential 1A type goalies in the NHL would be an upgrade over Ray‘crap(i mean Raycroft). But the hope for the Leaf organization is Razor used the past year as a learning experience and will hopefully improve upon his disastrous year. Of all potential back-ups that can or may be available, I too am one of the supporters of bringing Cujo back to the Leafs.

This years NHL Draft should be a lot like last years for the Leafs. They will try to move up but may once again fall short. At pick #13 the Leafs will no doubt select the best forward prospect available and with picks in every round, may even try to gain another few 2nd or 3rd rounders.

Experts Look: Yes this years NHL draft should be a lot like last years. I do expect the Leafs to make a few minor selection swaps here and there. But unlike last year I truly think the Leafs may move up from the 13th pick. With an over-crowding group of talented defensemen rumblings of unsigned RFA Carlo Colaiacovo along with the 13th pick are rumored to be a possible package for any team with a top 7 pick willing to make a swap. Such a deal would bring a much needed top-notch prospect into the organization while will also save money for the team to spend elsewhere (like in goal)? just keeps finding a way to be mentioned in possibl plans for the Leafs as a back-up for Raycroft. Which with the elite Cujo there could also be the potential for him to steal the #1 job in Toronto should he return back to form.

The Leafs have been organizing and planning out a way to bring forward Ryan Smyth to the blue and white. John Ferguson has apparently already presented to the board of governors at MLSE a budget that would fit in the teams directions and allow them to offer that type of high salary for Smyth. Moving a player like McCabe would only ensure that incase the bidding goes out of hand for Smyth, the Leafs can still top the highest bidder for Smyth services. That is how serious they are in acquiring him.

Experts Look: What I see are all signs pointing to the Leafs preparing for and all but getting ready to sign free agent Ryan Smyth once July 1st hits. JFJ has just over 10million to spend on free-agents with 3 needs. A top line player(i.e. Smyth), a 2/3rd line guy who can contribute( i.e.Peca/ or etc.) and a back up goaltender. If he truly is planning and thinking this as throroughly as he has been leading on the past few months, than we should see all these moves completed and for a change JFJ will be praised for a successfull offseason….

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