Its now mid June and lots of speculation and trade and free agent talks are starting to heat up as the 2010 NHL entry draft is in less than 2 weeks away. I’m not going to talk about any other team besides the leafs, so don’t get mad that this is another Leafs article. This article isn’t about my trade predictions or anything its about the recent news on the leafs, Burke, Kaberle , Kulemin , and prospects.
First off I would like to say to all those Burke haters, he is one of the best GM’s in the league so dont say he is ruining or is going to ruin the leafs. He is trying his best to rebuild this team, so give the man time, he knows what hes doing. He has acquired a top notch young defenseman in Dion Phaneuf , a competing veteran goaltender in J-S Giguere , a good prospect in philippe paradis, and a young big, good skating defenseman in aulie. He still needs to make many more adjustments but its going to take time, dont expect him to make a team in one year, and for that team to win a stanley cup, its going to take a year or two before he makes a decent team, right now hes trying to make a team that would compete for a playoff spot first.
Second, Kaberle – one of my favorite defenseman, hes got all the attributes a GM would ask for except his size. Hes speedy, has great hands, and is a great puck moving defenseman. He is probably one of the cheapest, best defenseman out there and alot of teams show interest ahead of the draft since Burke sent an e-mail to all the GM’s stating hes available. The number one team proving to be interested is the Devils, along with a few other teams. Now Im not going to predict where he is going to go or for who, but I will say his value.
In my eyes Kaberle would easily bring back a mid-late 1st round pick, or even a top 6 forward. Burke will keep listening to offers, but hes not going to trade Kaberle for the sake of it, he would be a key to the Leafs future, but if the Leafs are in desperate need of a trade to acquire something good in return, he is the top name for that.
Thirdly, Kulemin- A great skilled young player who had an impressive season for the Leafs this past season on a crappy Leafs team. Hes got good hands, is fast, has size, and can score. Hes got good attributes for a top 6 forward, and he stated that he loves Toronto, but he wants more money than offered, so negotiations between him and the Leafs are not so good right now. Kulemin is asking for 1 million more dollars then being offered, so hopefully they come to an agreement soon.
Last but not least, prospects- The Leafs have a pretty decent group of prospects in their system including two former 1st rounders from the 2009 draft: 7th overall nazem kadri , & 27th overall philippe paradis. believe it or not the rest are 2nd round or lower. What can I say about Kadri .. he is unreal, he has improved every year since hes joined the OHL, and he has stepped up his game. He racked up 93 points this past season for the london knights in the ohl, and his speed, vision on the ice, play making skills and scoring has much improved, but if he wants to make the leafs next season he has to work harder on his physicial aspects of the game and gaining some weight, he is 6’0, 167. Now on Paradis, he joined the Marlies for a couple of games at the end of the season, I didnt get to see him play, but I looked him up and I found out to see that he has good size, and he is a good grinder and crashes the net and can score, a perfect player for Burke. The leafs are set for goalies as the additions to giguere, gustavsson , rynnas, and scrivens. The Leafs are also set on D with Phanuef , komisarek , kaberle , beauchemin, and schenn in play, and aulie, blacker, holzer, mikus, oreskovic, and smith in the system. The Leafs really need top 6 forwards, and these rookies could one day fill that roll: d’amigo, didomenico, hayes, d. mitchell, ruegsegger, k. ryan, and stefanovich. In all the Leafs dont have a bad prospect system, but if they want to improve free agent signings and trades are major, lets see what happens from this day forward, and we got to take it a day at a time and see what Burkey can do. Lets just hope for the best, and see what he can do at this years draft, and at free agency.