Leafs UFA Wishlist

Although the Leafs may not be in the run for any big name UFA’s as has been the case in recent years, the Leafs are very interested in a number of free agents hitting the market next Tuesday. Here I have composed a list of the UFA’s Toronto is said to be in the running for, and why.

1)Ryan Malone:
The Leafs are said to be very interested in the stalky Penguin. His ability to score along with his size would for sure make him a top 6 forward for the Blue and White. Cliff Fletcher has also always had a knack for bigger players which only helps Malone’s chances. Malone’s market value is said to be around $5-6 million, and although the Leafs have been hurt in the recent past by giving players top dollars, they might make an exception for this hockey warrior.
Other teams interested: Columbus, Edmonton, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Vancouver

2)Gary Roberts:
Although many people may scratch their heads at this signing because of Roberts age and the fact that the Leafs are in a so called rebuilding faze, this move makes much sense- for both sides. Roberts desperatly wants to come back to Toronto to be close to family, and the Leafs would like Roberts to come back to add some leadership to the dressing room. Although Roberts would have to take some what of a “home team disscount” to return to the Buds, and decreased ice time to make room for the youngsters on the team. The market value for Roberts is said to be between $2-3 million on a one year deal, but Roberts would probably except a pay cut to return to T.O or to go to the Sens.
Other teams interested: Ottawa, Buffalo, Montreal, Calgary

3)Kristian Huselius:
Many believe that the Leafs are in the running for the Calgary winger. Huselius underachieved at times last season, but many believe that was a result of the Flames bench boss, Mike Kennan. Huselius is a great offensive producer, who scouts believe still has some untapped potential. The market value for Huselius is said to be up in the air, with the fact that he may be unreliable for top dollars. Expect between $4-5 million, or $3 million as a steal. Also expect the Leafs to be weary on handing Huselius anything over 2 years.
Other teams interested: Edmonton, Florida, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Columbus

4)Radim Vrbata:
The baby faced winger was ignited when picked up by Pheonix, and showed flashes of being an elite forward. Although Pheonix is said to be pushing to resign Vrbata, the general thought is that he will test free agent waters. Vrbata would be a very nice fit in Toronto, and add some much needed offensive boost. Vrbata’s market value is said to be anywhere from $2.5-$4 million, and that he would like a long term contract- which may be a problem for the Leafs as they would probably like to hand him a 1 year deal instead.
Other teams interested: Pheonix, Pittsburgh, Dallas, Vancouver

5)Michael Ryder:
There has been a lot of talk about Mats Sundin heading to the rivaled Canadiens, but underneath that buzz lies another rival crossing as some people believe that the Leafs are going to be one of the front runners trying to sign the Newfoundland native. Ryder had an awful year by his standards this years, but is still valued as a 20 goal scorer. Ryder would add some offence and physicality to the Leafs. Ryder’s market value is said to be $1-2 million, which could either be a steal or wasted money.
Other teams interested: Calgary, Ottawa, New York Islanders, Dallas

6)Ron Hainsey:
Speaking of former Canadiens, Hainsey has proven himself to be a solid top 4 defencmen- something the Leafs could need given the expected departure of McCabe and possibly Kubina. Hainsey’s talent has been underrated as he played in a tucked away environment in Columbus, but Hainsey brings a lot to a defence core in his ability to skate hard, score, and keep his own in the defencive end. Hainsey’s market value is said to be $2-$4.5 million.
Other teams interested: Ottawa, Anaheim, Minnasota, San Jose

7) Pascal Dupuis:
With the idea of Dupuis resigning with Pittsburgh seeming more unlikely, the big forward would be a nice fit in T.O. The Leafs would probably except giving a bit over market value for Dupuis, as he would help fill up roster spots that the leafs need to be filled, all the while coming in with a positive attitude after making it to the Stanley Cup finals. Dupuis market value is said to be around $1-$2.5 million.
Other teams interested: Pittsburgh, New York Rangers, Atlanta, Pheonix, Chicago.

8) Jody Shelley:
This signing fits like a puzzle piece. The Toronto Maple Leafs are looking to become bigger, and stronger, and what better way then to sign San Jose tough guy Jody Shelley? Plus, Ron Wilson would be able to provide Fletcher with a backround on the guy, as he coached him in San Jose when Shelley was dealt there during the season. Shelley’s market value is said to be around .800-$1.5 million.
Other teams interested: San Jose, Anaheim, Calgary, Minnasota, Pittsburgh

Other UFA noteables: Ty Conklin, Adam Hall, Rob Davison, Mark Streit, Scott Thornton, Wyatt Smith, Joe Dipenta.