So what's next for JFJ
Last year, I was not upset at any Leafs moves (except maybe not buying out Belfour). Frankly, it was a transition year, and I knew it would be painful. JFJ went out there and took some risks to try to ice a competitive team. For the most part he succeeded.
What he did best though, was not tie up a lot of money in long contracts. The idea was *supposed* to be that they would have the money to start rebuilding this year; with a new plan under a new CBA.
Yesterday, he decided to take some of that money and get aggressive. He tried to address the largest problem the Leafs have; defense of course. Yesterday was *supposed* to be the beginning of a team that was headed in the right direction. Instead, I look at the team now and I see nothing but 4 years of futility after they hamstrung themselves against the cap.
17 million in 4 defenseman and NOT ONE of them is considered a premiere defenseman in this league by people outside of Toronto. McCabe may be close… maybe. These were exactly the kind of moves I did not want to see. So where do we go from here? The Leafs cap situation looks something like the following:
Buyouts – 2 million (belfour .75, Domi 1.25)
3 Goalies* – 2.464 million
5 Defense – 17.712 million
11 Forwards** – 16.3636 million
* assumes Raycroft plays for the qualifying amount.
** assumes Antropov, Wellwood, Stajan at 1 million each
Total Committed: 38.550 million
Somwhere, they need to ice 2 more D (3 if Kronvall is not one of the kids) and 2 more forwards(wingers). To stay 2 million under the cap, which should be the maximum they want to spend, they have 3.450 million.
I only see a few scenarios. Here is one plan that might work.
1) White and Harrison are the number 6-7 D-men at 500K each.
2) Trade Colaiacovo (who I don’t think they want anyway) to Florida for Roberts… BUT, Florida must take Belak from them as a salary dump. Now they have 2 more forwards to sign and they have .875 million (3.45 +.675 – .5 – .5 -2.25)
3) Trade Tellqvist to somone for a pick.
4) Lindros .750, and a Marlie (Suglabov?) .500K…
Payroll is approx. 41.786
Steen – Sundin – Roberts
O’Neill – Lindros – Tucker
Antropovl – Wellwood – Ponikarovsky
Kilger – Stajan – Pohl
Extra – Suglabov/Earl/whoever
McCabe – Kaberle
Kubina – Harrison
Kronvall – Gill
Raycroft / Aubin
Regardless of whether any of this actually happens, I think a couple things are probably in the Leaf’s future this summer:
1) Lindros will be re-signed. Simply, who has more upside, and is available, at that price?
2) They will dump 2 or more of Antropov, Colaiacovo, Belak, and Tellqvist. Hopefully Belak is in there somewhere in the dumpees! They can’t afford to pay these guys and they are all expendable and 3 of them are probably tradeable for a minimal return.
3) Nothing more of significance is going to happen this summer.
We can also conclude that Gary Roberts return is a serious question and by no means a given at all, unless Florida takes back some salary. Instead of Roberts, they may opt to see if they can get Guerin or Allison real cheap? Other names to look for include Grier, Bulis, Perreault, Young, Dvorak … Any of them might be available within the budget.