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.


27 Responses to Leafs UFA Wishlist

  1. leafy says:

    As everybody knows, the Leafs need forwards badly.  From the guys on that list I'd make inquiries on Malone, Huselius, Vrbata, and Dupuis.

  2. lukeleim says:

    all these players are way overpriced.

    Actual Worth:
    Ryan Malone 3.5 million
    Gary Roberts 1 million
    Kristian Huselius 3 million
    Radim Vrbata 3 million
    Ron Hainsey 3 million
    Pascal Dupuis 1 million
    Jody Shelley 700,000

    I hope the Leafs stay clear of all of these UFA with the exception of maybe Roberts.

    Players on my wishlist:
    David Hale 700,000
    Pavol Demitra 4 million
    Alex Auld 800,000
    Curtis Joseph 800,000
    Kurt Sauer 1.2 million
    Michael Peca 2 million
    Curtis Glencross 1 milion
    Ladislav Nagy 2 million
    Brandon Bochenski 700,000
    Bryan Berard 650,000

    Fletcher should be looking into players that might sign at a bargain price. Buy low, sell high…

  3. habsrock99 says:

    I would advise the Leafs to stay away from Radim Vrbata. And I would advise Vrbata to sign with a team with no media coverage. He's very much like Paul Kariya, plays great under the radar but put him in some sort of spotlight and he crash and burns.

    And I've been watching Michael Ryder throughout his career and all I got to say is that if he has a physical side, he sure hid it well during his 4 years in Montreal. Ryder's a one dimensional player with a great shot. He's very much like ex-Leaf Sergei Berezin in that all he thinks about is offence. But the moment you tell him to start doing other things, you get last year's performance.

  4. rodsnick says:

    would love to see Malone come to Toronto, as well as Roberts. Both tough guys who like to go to the net and score goals. the Leafs need these kinds of guys due to all the leadership and veteran presence that is about to be lost.

  5. cam7777 says:

    I would go after Hainsey, Orpik and Vrbata.  I think the offense will improve on its own, just with Wilson teaching the guys how to create offense by playing well defensively.  Sign Hainsey for 4 years at 3.5 million.  Sign Orpik for 4 years at 4 million.  If 4 million isn't enough to seal the deal I'd offer him an inscentive laced contract.  If he leads the conference in hits, he gets a million dollar bonus.  If he leads the division in hits he gets a 750k bonus.  If he is top five in the division or conference in hits, he gets 500k.  And if he leads the team in hits he gets 200k (he can only take the best of these available, not all of them).  This way, the Toronto D is pretty much established for the next 4 years, at the cost of about 19 million.  And just as Schenn and Stralman need raises, McCabe will become moveable. 

    Kaberle-Orpik
    McCabe-Hainsey
    Stralman-Schenn

    Pretty solid tandems for the next while.

  6. Nemix says:

    The leafs need to rebuild, not take chances on chance contracts..Id take a carolina or detroit as a model .. Draft develop..for an interim player…look for one having an off year but can easily excel .. A ray whitney type player ..sign them for two years and under the correct circumstance can prove to be worthwhile.. Defense has the big 3.. the other 3 down the lane look solid.. Ian White can handle the puck so need for a berard (who the isles HAVE to resign )  Forwards ..thre is a few out there that can blossom ..cut a deal on a bad year .. leave it well under 4 million ..  Its not just one player that is needed but many.. Adapt a team philosophy…not stats ..

  7. Nemix says:

    While im on the topic, doesnt the current cap situation put far too much a premium on a small group of players?  There needs to be a salary control more so then a cap ..  At this rate.. i have a feeling a majority of players will play themselves out of the NHL ..

  8. Kramer says:

    Why doesn't Fletcher do something?  He hasn't made any interesting moves yet.  Cliff, wake up and make some moves!!!  Make some trades, get rid of some players, put somebody on waivers.  Do something!

    The Leafs gotta make some big trades right away before the season starts.

  9. habsoverserver says:

    The Leafs will sign all these free agents to five year deals with no trade clauses. 

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  11. ChyldProdigy says:

    My thoughts:
    – Nix Malone, we can't chance overpaying him if he is just a product of his allstar wingers.
    – Huselius, Vrbata, Ryder would be the best fits imo
    – Who exactly is 'expecting' the departure of McCabe?  I'm pretty sure he remains in Blue and White, since he seems to be holding all the cards right now.  But I do like the idea of Hainsey.

  12. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    dont sign anybody long term….we've been fu(ked over by that too many times

  13. flyersfan10897 says:

    Have you ever actually seen Orpik play? He is not first pairing material and is definitely not worth 4 million a year.  So if the Leafs want him for that, please, take him.

  14. cam7777 says:

    well, he was a good match with Gonchar, from what I saw.  Gonchar is pretty comparable to Kaberle in my books, and so naturally I would expect similar chemistry between Kaberle and Orpik.  It has more to do with the philosophy that I would approach with the pairings.  You put an offensive minded guy alongside a defensive, hitting threat.  With McCabe and Hainsey you get kind of a mix of both sides in each of them, and obviously Stralman would provide the offense while Schenn would bring the hitting.  It probably is over-paying for Orpik though, you're right.  Still, who are they going to get that's better?  They'll have the capspace to spare for the next couple years at least…

  15. HABSSTAR says:

    He's the Happy Gilmour of the league. LOL!  He can shoot but that's it.

  16. HABSSTAR says:

    How about don't sign any of these guys until you get a "real" GM vice an "interim" one. 

    Suck it up and collect the good pick for next year.

  17. oilcountry88 says:

    Glencross would'nt sign a one million dollar contract his first priority is edmonton and their offering around 3 million for him, if he wouldnt sign in edmonton for 3 i dont no why he would sign in Toronto for 1?

  18. lukeleim says:

    Glencross doesn't deserve that kind of money.  I didn't know Edmonton already offered him 3 mil.

  19. Kramer says:

    I got a feeling there's gonna be a big trade!

  20. nordiques100 says:

    The only way they can fill in their hole at centre is via trade. i think they should go after Jarret Stoll from the Oilers. He is a player, like the ones they got rid of (tucker, wellwood) who needs a change in scenery. He is young (26 years old) and could easily fit in long term. He is a good faceoff man and can excel on special teams. I think the Leafs could trade Ponikarovsky for him. They have similar salaries, similar stats, are of similar ages.

    you may think he is like stajan but i think he is more skilled than stajan and is not as soft on the puck as matty is.

    This would give the leafs Stoll, Stajan and Mayers as their top 3 centres with either Mitchell, Newbury, Tim Stapleton (26 yr old free agent who was playing in Finland) or a player like Dom Moore (if they bring him back) battling for the 4th line centre role.

    if they traded ponikarovsky for stoll, they would still have tlusty, steen, blake and antropov to round out their top 6 forwards. khumelin has a great shot to make the team too and is in that battle along with jeremy williams.

    that would leave the leafs with bell, devereaux, ondrus, boyce, foster, earl in the hunt for the 3rd and 4th lines.

    i think the leafs could use a bit more toughness and perhaps a player like Ben Eager from the Hawks is someone they could acquire. He would fit the mold of the team i think they want. big, rugged, can skate. Probably a better player than belak except he cant play defence (neither could wade!). i think he could be had for a 4th or 5th rounder (mcgrattan was just traded for a 5th).

    their d if mccabe is kept is mccabe, kaberle, kubina, coliacovo, white, stralman, kronvall and possibly schenn. they do need to probably add someone as schenn probably should be sent back to jr and coliacovo can never stay healthy. they may have to go via free agency, but there is so little available. forget about redden, orpik, campbell or any of the big names.

    they really dont need to dip into free agency up front. there is really nothing much out there and it would be pointless to throw money at malone, avery or anyone else.

    maybe ryder might be worth taking a chance on because there isnt much he can demand after how poorly he played last year. he is another player who could use a change in scenery.

    the leafs just might bring back roberts (and cujo for that matter). i bet they will. fletcher is in charge, his right hand person is coates. he will add nieuwendyk to the front office next week and gilmour is here. tim hunter, a roberts teammate in calgary, was just hired as well. this would at least break the trend of the leafs actually keeping their word and clearing the decks like fletcher said. i'm so use to him or anyone else in MLSE going back on their word (he said no free agents over 30 but he also said he woudlnt fire maurice, hire a new coach etc etc). i now expect it to happen.  

    the goal hopefully is to still finish as low as possible. a top 10 pick at the very least has to be what the leafs should be shooting for.

    they could get tavares, hedman, matt duchesne, landon ferraro, brayden schenn, jared cowen, magnus paajarvi, jordan schroeder. richard panik, simon depres, jordan caron.

  21. greatlife15 says:

    July 1st my friend. July 1st.

  22. JuicemaN says:

    "Make some trades, get rid of some players, put somebody on waivers. Do something!"

    Really?

    Allow me to summarize as it seems you're just a Leaf fan looking to be entertained by the off-season.

    "Make some trades" – traded up two spots at the draft to get Schenn, traded sundins rights to Montreal for a conditional player
    "put somebody on waivers" – REALLY? Have you been surfing the net with your eyes closed? Raycroft – waivers, Wellwood – waivers.
    "do something" – Buying out Darcy Tucker, working on McCabe and Kubina trades.

    Trades take time dude, just because you keep reading about possibilities in the news doesn't mean there's going to be a trade everyday…do you want Fletcher to make the right trade or just make a trade to give you something to talk about?

  23. JuicemaN says:

    No, John Ferguson would sign them to that.

  24. mojo19 says:

    Malone is totally not worth it. Wouldn't give him more than $3.5 million. If he wants $4, $5, $6 million? Let CBJ be the desperate team, we're rebuilding here.

    Jody Shelley and Patrick Rismiller, fine. Bring in some of Ron Wilson's boys.

  25. the_word says:

    I pitty the team that will over pay on Malone. Leafs don't need another Jason Blake.  I hope Fletcher only signs small term UFAs that can be flipped for picks at the deadline.

  26. Kramer says:

    I dunno, I just want trades!  I get bored very easily and I can't get enough of big trades.  I hope we see something big happen soon.  But it's true I wanna see the right moves made too.

  27. JuicemaN says:

    Trust me I totally understand, it's way more exciting to talk about huge trades and risky trades etc…but I think that time has passed for the Leafs, they need to make trades that are obviously good for the team; they can't afford risks which means there's less options for them.

    I feel your pain but I'm sure if we were in Fletchers shoes we'd see how busy he really is.

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