Leafs should focus on D through free agency even if it means over spending a bit
The main focus for the GM of the Leafs if it remains fregason or someone else should be the defence. Leafs defence has never been on of the top D-groups in the league and this off-season is an opportunity to change that. The amount of quailty defenceman that are free agents this year is a lot. First off if the Leafs can sign McCabe anywhere between 4.5 to 5 million they should. Second priority should be defenceman Kubina in the range of 3.5 to 4 mill. Then get a soild #4 defencman like Van ryan or Salei in the range of 2 to 2.5 mill. Then you have coliacovo and then finishing off with a young guy like harrison or vet like Careny or Richardson. Here’s a look at the D then
the cost here is 17.5 mill which may seem a little high but Defence is so important that its ok to over spend a bit. Plus the top for guys can easily log 20+ minutes as they are currently for their teams. In goal u have tellquvist a guy in the range of 1-1.5 mill and if its true Biron who is a group three free agent should be signed at 3-3.5mill. So you spend 4.5 mill there and in total you have spent 21.5 mill on ur D and goaltending. With the cap maybe at 45mill upcoming year that leaves 21.5 mill on forwards (note 1.5 mill to buy belfour will count against cap). Up front leafs need to soildify their forwards through trades and some low key signings. Leafs need some speeding wingers with offensive talent. A guy like Jason Blake (1.5mill) so a deal like antropov and a young D man like woznoski or a bell. Leafs have a lot of young potential D. So trading a few to help upfront would be a good idea. Another trade that might work is trading one of your young goalie prospects rask, o’neil and a kronwall for Shane Doan (3mill) and pick, yes it might be tough giving a guy like rask but remember we have pogge still and kronwall won’t be able to crack the line-up for sometime with the Defencman already selected, O’neil’s game has dipped but could be usefull to a team like phx because o’neil still has the ability to score 20+ goals also domi should be traded aswell for either a pick or prospect. Also signing lindros for 1-1.5mill and kilger for 1mill would be wise aswell. So here’s what the 06/07 leafs should look like im my opinion.
Lw C Rw
Poni – .800 Sundin -6.84 Lindros 1.25
Steen .800 Wellwood – .800 Doan -3.0
Tucker 1.6 Stajan – .900 Blake – 1.5
Kilger 1.0 Pohl – .500 Ondrus .500
wilm – .500
Kaberle – 4.25 Kubina – 4.0
McCabe 4.75 Van Ryan – 2.0
Coliacovo – 1.0 Richardson – 1.0
Biron – 3mill
Tellquvist – 1.5mill
belfour – 1.5(against cap)
That sets the team at 43.5mill so if the cap is at 44-45 mill ur still under. Also you have a guy like lindros who can switch to second line center if stajan or wellwood struggle a bit. This team will be a lot faster and a lot better defensive team. Leafs can make solid moves like the ones suggested in the off-season and get right back to challenging for a top spot in the nhl.