State of the Toronto Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs have missed the playoffs in five consecutive seasons after making them in six consecutive years from 1999 to 2004. Their win total has decreased for five straight years and the near future isn’t looking much brighter unless Brian Burke can pull some magic this summer.The Toronto Maple Leafs have missed the playoffs in five consecutive seasons after making them in six consecutive years from 1999 to 2004. Their win total has decreased for five straight years and the near future isn’t looking much brighter unless Brian Burke can pull some magic this summer.

From 2003 to 2007, the Toronto Maple Leafs made only four selections in the first two rounds of the NHL Entry Draft. That means that they traded six of their ten picks (before making them) in order to improve in the short run. You can even add Tuukka Rask to the list as he was traded for Andrew Raycroft one year after being drafted. Amongst their other picks, Jiri Tlusty was traded this year, John Doherty never made the AHL which leaves Nikolai Kulemin as the only player currently in the Leafs organization. The future of the team is therefore in the hands of late round picks such as Viktor Stalberg, Anton Stralman, John Mitchell and Carl Gunnarsson (all picked in the fifth round or later) as well as draft picks from the last two years which include Luke Schenn and Nazem Kadri.

As we know, the Leafs also traded three of their next four picks in the top two rounds in exchange for Phil Kessel. It certainly is possible to build a team with free agency or with late draft picks but the odds of success are much lower than if they had a number of high draft picks ready to make the jump in the next year or two.

Let’s take a look at the 15 players they currently have under contract for next season:

Dion Phaneuf – D – $6,500,000 – The Leafs traded Matt Stajan, Nik Hagman, Jamal Mayers and Ian White in exchange for Phaneuf and others earlier this year. It might not seem like much considering Stajan and Mayers were set to become UFA’s but Phaneuf has a heavy contract at 6.5 million. Phaneuf came first in an NHL poll where players were asked who the most overrated player in the league is. I can’t say I agree with this assessment but most would agree that he would not receive 6.5 million if he were a UFA this summer – Slightly overpaid.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere – G – $6,000,000 – He was pretty good in his final 15 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs but he has a save percentage of only 0.903 over his last 81 games. That is a pretty big drop from the 0.918 he averaged in 381 games from 2000 to 2008. He is still only 32 years old so he could return to the level he was at a few years ago, but 6 million is still way too much for him – Overpaid.

Phil Kessel – F – $5,400,000 – He is by far the best forward on the Toronto Maple Leafs even though the trade for him looks pretty bad at the moment. His statistics are very similar to Brian Gionta ‘s who signed for 5 million with the Canadiens last off-season. It is therefore a fair salary for him but he could become a bargain in the next year or two if he gets to play with better players – Fair value.

Mike Komisarek – D – $4,500,000 – If I had to take a vote as to who is the most overrated player in NHL, I probably would have selected Mike Komisarek . He is a very intense player but he often gets out of position because he wants to hit, he is amongst the most undisciplined players in the NHL and he has only 62 points in 395 career games – Slighty overpaid.

Tomas Kaberle – D – $4,250,000 – Tomas Kaberle somewhat makes up for the salaries of Dion Phaneuf and Mike Komisarek. He is above average defensively and has 258 points in 377 games since the lockout which made him one of the top ten scoring defensemen in four of the last five seasons – Great value.

Francois Beauchemin – D – $3,800,000 – He averaged 25:27 of ice time per game in 2009-10 including about three minutes per game on the penalty kill as well as the power play. His offensive stats are not particularly good but it was still a good signing by Brian Burke – Good value.

Tyler Bozak
– F – $3,725,000 – Tyler Bozak was offered very large bonuses in order to sign with the Maple Leafs and has a very high cap hit because of that. He should develop into a pretty good player but he will be overpaid until his entry level contract runs out after next season – Slightly overpaid.

Jeff Finger – D – $3,500,000 – Jeff Finger is one of the worst signings of the past few years in the NHL but the good news is that the Leafs can stick him in the farm for the next two years. He’ll be one of the highest paid players in the AHL but at least it will clear up 3.5 million in cap room – Overpaid.

Luke Schenn – D – $2,975,000 – He is another player with very large rookie bonuses who takes up a lot of room on the salary cap. Schenn was used for over 20 minutes in 13 of his final 30 games and should be used even more in 2010-11. He will also be overpaid until his entry level contract runs out at the end of next season but should be a very good defenseman in the near future – Slightly overpaid.

Mikhail Grabovski – F – $2,900,000 – He signed a contract worth 8.7 million over three years at the end of the 2008-09 season. He recorded 35 points in 59 games in 2009-10 and I don’t see him getting much more than 50 points in a season. 2.9 million dollars per season is a lot of money for a 50 points player who is a liability defensively – Slightly overpaid.

Nazem Kadri – F – $1,750,000 – It is pretty safe to assume that Kadri will make the team next season. He was very impressive in the training camp and in his one game with the Maple Leafs this season. His offensive production will depend heavily on his ice time but he could easily record 40 to 50 points in his rookie campaign – Fair value.

Colton Orr – F – $1,000,000 – He was dressed for every game this season but played only 6:51 per game – Fair value.

Viktor Stalberg – F – $850,000 – He was the second best scorer on the Marlies with 33 points despite playing in only 39 games and recorded 14 points in 40 games with the Leafs. He could eventually be a pretty good second line player in the NHL but probably not for another season or two – Fair value.

Luca Caputi
– F – $833,333 – Caputi has been a good player in the AHL in each of the past two seasons and looked good late in the year with the Leafs. He is two and a half years younger than both Bozak and Stalberg
and could breakout as early as next season – Fair value.

Carl Gunnarsson – D – $800,000 – Gunnarsson looked surprisingly good when he joined the Leafs this season and was rewarded by Ron Wilson. He is still young but any defenseman who plays over 21 minutes and costs only $800,000 is a bargain – Great value.

Here’s what you have when you put all that together:
Great value: 2
Good value: 1
Fair value: 5
Slightly overpaid: 5
Overpaid: 2

Total Cap Hit: $47,033,333 (assuming Jeff Finger plays in the AHL in 2010-11)

The Toronto Maple Leafs defense is pretty much set for the 2010-11 season with Dion Phaneuf, Mike Komisarek, Francois Beauchemin, Luke Schenn, Carl Gunnarsson and Tomas Kaberle if he is not traded. In net, playing time will be split between Giguere and Gustavsson. Gustavsson will probably receive a small increase over last year and earn between 1 and 1.5 million depending on the length of his new contract.

On forward, the Leafs should resign Nikolai Kulemin , John Mitchell and Christian Hanson for a total of about 3.5 to 4 million. Add that to Gustavsson’s contract and the Leafs will have 19 players under contract for a total of about 52 million dollars. Assuming the salary cap stays approximately the same, it would leave about 5 million to add two forwards and a seventh defenseman. If the Leafs are able to trade Tomas Kaberle for draft picks and good young talent, it could clear an additional 4.25 million and allow them to make a move for top end talent like Ilya Kovalchuk , Patrick Marleau or Alexander Frolov .

It will once again be very difficult for the Toronto Maple Leafs to make the playoffs in 2010-11 and Brian Burke knows that. When he made the trade of Jason Blake and Vesa Toskala for Jean-Sebastien Giguere, he was losing 2 million in cap room in 2010-11 but gaining 4 million in 2011-12. In 2011-12, the Leafs will not only get rid of Giguere’s contract but also save on Bozak and Schenn’s contracts. Young players like Kessel, Bozak, Kadri, Kulemin, Stalberg, Caputi, Schenn and Gustavsson will improve and the additional cap room will allow them to add another forward for the top two lines at 4 to 5 million. Their success this season will depend on how Brian Burke spends his money in the off-season but I see them finishing with 80 to 85 points.

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45 Responses to State of the Toronto Maple Leafs

  1. TheLeafNation91 says:

    Okay. This is why I'm not worried:

    -Burke knows what he's doing, yeah I hear a lot of crap about the first pick blah blah. But we got Kessel and Burke has probably been the best GM we've had in a long time…Don't forget..Who got Bozak? Hanson? Gustavsson? Rynnas? Phaneuf? Must this list continue…

    -If we want a first rounder..Goodbye Kaberle…Simple as that

    -Giguere is only signed until the end of next season, and I don't expect the Leafs to be competitive until 2011-2012 so I'm content with keeping him and alternating duties with Gustavsson…Hey…He's better then Toskala

    -Phaneuf brought one thing we haven't had since Sundin left…Someone to kind of call a captain

    -Finger has a two-way contract= buried in minors

    – I loved Komisarek when healthy, if he comes back, and an improving Schenn and Gunnarsson, people are going to HATE the Leafs defence

  2. TheLeafNation91 says:

    Question to Leaf fans:

    If we trade Kaberle…What does everyone think of trying to sign Joe Corvo in the summer?

    I thought he kind of had a bad season, but he might of been the best Capital in the Habs/Caps series…

    Also, he can QB a powerplay and plays two-ways…

    What do yoou guys think???

  3. Kramer says:

    The NHL is in a sad state. No trades for so many months. The players wanna see trades too.

    Like when one goldfish told another goldfish, "If there's no God, who changes our water every week?"  Same thing with trades.

  4. nordiques100 says:

    i think the first choice is the team inviting Mike Van Ryn to camp and seeing if he can make a comeback. He was actually good in his limited time as a Leaf. He will likely come quite cheap as well considering his questionable injury history and lack of games he has played.

    He would battle prospects like Jesse Blacker, Keith Aulie, Phil Oreskovich, Jurai Mikus, Simon Gysbers.

    I think its possible too the Leafs could acquire a defenceman in the Kaberle trade to compete for one of the openings on D.

    There is the possibility to acquire a Dman via trade, not involving Kaberle.

    Some possibilities include Kevin Klein from Nsh, Paul Ranger from TB, Trevor Daley from Dal.

  5. LeafsLegacy says:

    Not a fan of Corvo, not the best puck moving abilities in my opinion. I think the Leafs have got enough D and should start working with some prospects, since it is a rebuild.

    Phaneuf -Schenn
    Beauchemin – Gunnarsson
    Komisarek – (Frogren, Blacker, Aulie, Oreskovic)

    If I was GM, I'd move Beauchemin or Komisarek for draft picks, can't stand the way they play.

  6. Leafs_Forever says:

    I think it is funny when people dis Dion and say he is overpaid. Really?  How about Matt Stajan?  3.5 per year?  Are you kidding me?? If Dion is overpaid than Matt's contract in crazy. 

    Plus, Dion is only 24.  When his current contract expires in 4 years the Leafs can offer him a lower contract, or if his play improves (which is very likely, remember he is only 24 and defence don't usually reach there prime until 27-28 years old) they can give him a similair contract.

    Also, remember that Dion bring intagibles to the team.  Toughness, leadership, 'swagger', etc.

    I still can't believe we raped Calgary for our spare part players!! 

  7. nordiques100 says:

    The team basically has 17 players signed and 10 mil to spend in cap space to round out a 22-23 player roster.

    If they kept things as is, all those roster spots would be for the forward position.

    But its questionable that would be the case.

    Kaberle stands a good chance to get moved.

    Finger stands a good chance to be dropped from the roster and in the minors, saving 3.5 mil in cap space.

    So at some point this summer, Burke will definitely look at acquiring help on defence.

    He does have options within to fill some of those spots up front.

    Nazem Kadri will get a long look again at camp and probably will see some time with the Leafs. The team may be patient though and do what they did with Bozak, Stalberg and others and put him with the Marlies to start to get him acquainted with the pros. Also, he needs to get bigger and stronger. We'll see how he progresses in the summer.

    Brayden Irwin is another with an opportunity. But he too, like the above mentioned, will almost certainly see time with the marlies to start.

    I think the key will be for Burke to be patient, not just sign players for the sake of signing them. They need to stay flexible.

    While they need to be ready on July 1st, I dont think they need to go crazy.

    We've seen Burke go well over the cap and not care about it until he has to deal with it in October. But that may not be the right play here. The market isnt great and while there are some good talents, they may not be the right fit.

    For example, Frolov and Plekanec have good skills and are very talented. But Burke has spent most of his time here ridding himself of Europeans.

    A player like Marleau is always mentioned, but are people forgetting his rift with Ron Wilson? It may be the case where there isnt enough cap space in the world to reunite these two.

    A player like Kovalchuk may be the exception to the rule regarding adding Euros. But he will cost big time and in 2 playoff appearances has been ordinary.

    Burke will probably be able to address his need for more grit and sandpaper with players like Colby Armstrong or Raffi Torres.

    But its unlikely free agency will get him the star forward he needs to support Kessel.

    he may target RFAs, but he had a 3 year war with Kevin Lowe that ended just this year after Lowe signed one of his RFAs to an offer sheet and out of principle may never make an offer sheet to any player.

    That will probably only happen via trade.

    This is where Kaberle comes in. His value varies, but he is worth something and probably would bring something of good value to Toronto in return.

    That may be Burke's biggest accomplishment this summer.

  8. broc says:

    Kaberle should go… the most realistic teams to try to get a 1st rounder from are:

    1) ANAHEIM (have 12th overall and Philly's 1st- around 22nd overall right now)

    Anaheim and Burke have a good history. Anaheim has a ton of capspace opening up this summer, so fitting Kaberle- or others- won't be a problem. A very real possibility here.  Is Burke satisfied with a pick in the mid 20's? Would Anaheim part with 12 overall after underachieving this past season? They did add Visnovsky, but are still thin overall on the blueline.

    – Kaberle, 4th
    FOR
    – 12th overall, 3rd
    OR
    22nd overall, 2nd rounder

    2) ATLANTA

    Rick Dudley is the new GM of the Thrashers… he has a chance to put his stamp on the team this summer as he also has the fortune of 2 first round picks. The 8th overall is likely untouchable for this troubled franchise, but they also have the Devils 1st rounder, a mid round pick which they might put into play to upgrade the roster. Does Atlanta want/need Kaberle though, while they have Bogosian, Hainsey, Enstrom, and Oduya definitely returning. Kab would fit in nicely with that group IMO.

    – Kaberele
    FOR
    – 15th overall (guesstimated NJ spot)
    – 2nd rounder

    Maybe Todd White can be added to Toronto's way if Atlanta can sweeten the pot. They were trying to dump him and his salary this past year..

    3) BOSTON

    Obviously, they've dealt before, lol. Boston should be wanting to make a run not only this year, but next year too. #2 ain't gonna happen, but they also have their own late 1st rounder (around 26-28th overall IMO) and a wealth of other picks to choose from as well.  With likely Seguin coming into the fold, they will be deep at centre in the prospect pool- could they give up one of their other prospects? Assuming Seguin comes their way:

    – Kaberle

    for
    – Colborne/Caron/Wheeler
    – 26th overall

    Toronto might have to take a little salary back to make it work.

    4) PHOENIX

    Phoenix also has a pair of first rounders- their own, and Calgary's too.  13th overall + 15th overall. Trouble is, Maloney has no idea how much money he can take on, so dealing with Phoenix is unclear until the NHL can clear that up to the team.
    Maloney can't even re-sign his own free agents (Lombardi, Upshall, Wolski, Stempniak, Bryzgalov, and a lot of D need to be signed still) until that happens, and with the money woes and the club for sale, it's unlikely this team will take salary on even if it's a good deal like Kaberle's. Longshot at best, even if Burke did deal with them at the deadline. Maybe Reinsdorf gets the club before the draft and gives Maloney free reign to spend to the cap… something could definitely brew and this team will be wanting to take another step forward instead of resting on its laurels.

  9. broc says:

    Jeff Skinner is my sleeper pick for the draft.. unbelievable year for the small center. He's probably gone in the top 10 now.

  10. KingCanada says:

    As hard as out bluebline (on paper) seems to be…our forwards are mad soft so that puts us at pretty even if u ask me.

    BTW Finger has a one way contract, I dont know why everyone keeps thinking its 2 way but its definatly not and MLSE will be on the hook for the full 3.5 if hes burried.

  11. leafy says:

    I'm upbeat too because the Leafs have some interesting pieces in place.

    Now I'd like to see us land some forwards. The addition of Kadri next year may help, but he's still a kid. Some big name forwards like Marleau or Sharp should be priority and I'm sure they are.

  12. KingCanada says:

    I dont mean to nit pick but Klein just resigned at a modest 1.35  Then considering the Preds cant afford to sign Dan Hamhuis, Nashville probably wont be in the market to trade away their defencemen.

    I wouldnt mind seeing a cheap MVR signing however, as long as it stays in the 6 figures.

  13. KingCanada says:

    I dont think we need Corvo at all, I think hes rather soft actually..not a huge fan of his.  Kind of streaky.

    Plus we have a very expensive defence as is and Corvo is 32 and prolly looking for one more big contract that we cant afford.

    Well be fine with

    Phaneuf
    Komiserak
    Gunnarsson
    Schenn
    Beauchemin
    Finger

    There are plenty of cheaper options then him… we already have a solid top 5.

  14. futurebruin says:

    Regarding the Boston trade, if they were to make a deal involving Kaberle, I wouldn't be surprised to see Burke ask for Wheeler.  I, personally, have no problem with that.  Wheeler, and our first for Kaberle

  15. KingCanada says:

    Well considering Burke doesnt have his 2011 1st rounder he cannot offer any RFAs a significant offer sheet over the amount of roughly 2.6 million (compensation 2011 2nd rounder).

    So that unfortinatly leaves out Bobby Ryan, Joe Pavelski, Devin Setoguchi, Blake Wheeler, Sam Gagner, Nik Backstrom, ect..

    The only way those types of players are available is threw trades but the Leafs dont have much to offer.

    For good young forwards we need to pick on cap strapped teams like Chicago and possibly San Jose depending on how deep they get this spring and what we can offer them in return.

    Maybe a low ball offer like Keith Aulie, Philippe Paradis and a mid round pick for a cap strapped team's decent RFA??

    Oh and just wanted to add that I really hope Burke signs Colby Armstrong, hes his type of player and in retrospect I hope to hell he doesnt even ring Raffi Torres agent's phone number…screw that guy hes sooo inconsistant!

  16. KingCanada says:

    Regarding Atlanta…cant they just re-sign Kubina.  I mean they arent the exact same kind of defenceman but Pavel still can provide offence and he would cost them only cap space, no picks.

    From Boston Id love to take from them both Colborne and Wheeler.  That wouuld be a huge coup for Burke and they are both the type of big aggressive players hes looking for.  We would probably have to add to the pot but who knows…  Boston will be set for a while with their top 6 anyways so they could afford to do this..they have a super rookie (Hall/Seguin), Kreijci, Savard, Lucic, Bergeron, Sturm.

    Phoenix IMO wont trade their picks since this team needs to be sold and they also need to stay young and cheap.  One year of a cheap Kaberle wont be enough for them to consider trading with us.

    Depending on Neids retiring or not Anaheim could be a legit trade option…but contrary to what everyone on this site believes…we wont get Bobby Ryan for him.

  17. Boston_Bruins says:

    I've seen him from around 15th to early second round. After potting 50 goals and having an epic playoffs I don't see him slipping any further than around 25. I don't really think he's a sleeper though. Everyone can see his stats and skill. It's only size that's a question mark..

  18. Boston_Bruins says:

    I'm definitely up for trading Wheeler. So much potential with that size and speed package but he can't score to save his life, along with having next to no hockey smarts.

    I've never been that big of a fan of Kaberle though. If Wideman can get back to where he was last year (or at least somewhere near there) or we can get Alexandrov to come to Boston I can live without an elite puck-mover for next season. He's good but I don't want the Bruins to part with too much, which is likely what they'd have to do if Burke gets a market going for him.

  19. KingCanada says:

    Luke Schenn and Tyler Bozak arent overpaid.

    The cap number is only affected if those players achieve their bonuses!  last year I can garanty both of them missed most of their bonus money.

    Schenn will never get his points bonus and Bozak altho has a chance to get many points I dont think he will get all of it.  That actually frees at least a million off those 2 so they are definatly fair market value.

    I think Stalberg, Caputi and Kadri are all excellent value just based on their potential.  Very low cap hits for the potential ceiling they all bring. 

    Kadri especially…

    He was scoring over 2 points per game in the playoffs.  Tied to 4th overall in the regular season with less games played then the others.  He also had BY FAR the most PIMs in the top scorers.  We could potentially be dealing with a Theo Fleury or a skilled/consistent Sean Avery.  Cant wait!

  20. cam7777 says:

    Burke has addressed the offer sheet stuff multiple times.  It has nothing to do with Kevin Lowe, but everything to do with player value.  Clearly, to get a team to relinquish a player via an offersheet, you'd have to overpay.  It's just better for both teams to make a real trade, and sign the player to an appropriate contract.

    Also, I don't know how many times I have to remind people of this, but the rift between Wilson and Marleau is long mended.  Wilson addressed this publicly.  Marleau told him he would play for him any day, and thanked him.  Just because two guys have a fight, it doesn't mean they won't ever look at each other again; they're not women.  That said, Marleau isn't coming to Toronto, because his wife would rather stay in SoCal.  LA or another Southern team will ink him if San Jose doesn't.

    And for what it's worth, Wilson said Kadri would be with the team next season, no questions asked.  So provided Kadri bulks up a bit, and puts on a decent camp, he will be in that lineup right from the get go.  I don't doubt that Burke would prefer he stay down, but clearly Wilson has other ideas.  He's mentioned before that he only trusts his own coaching, and he must really think he can mold Kadri in the most ideal way.

    The Leafs have a deep prospect pool all of a sudden, and what they should be trying to do, is swap quantity for quality in a position we need.  We have Caputi, DiDomenico, D'Amigo, Stefanovich, Hayes, Mitchell, Ryan, Paradis, Irwin, Champagne and a few others who all look like they're coming along very well all of a sudden. What we lack is a prospect replacement for Kaberle.  I would like to see Burke target BOTH Blake Kessel, and Jonathan Blum.  Doing so would obviously clear the way for a Kaberle trade.

    At that point, I would first look to move Kaberle plus for one of the desirable RFA's.  I long promoted Pavelski as that guy, but now that he's turned into Sidney Crosby, he's become unattainable.  Now, I know that many think Kaberle for Bobby Ryan doesn't work, and maybe directly, they are right.  However, certain teams will be willing to pay more than others for Kaberle.  Use those assets, plus whatever we can add (2nd in 2011, prospects), and get that deal done.

  21. cam7777 says:

    Yea, a massive chunk of Bozak's bonus involves him winning the Calder, I'm pretty sure. After bonuses, the combined cap hit for these two is probably a little over 2 million – not the 6.7 it would otherwise appear.

  22. cam7777 says:

    It's been rumored that interest has picked up in James Reimer, and that he might net a 2nd round pick at the draft, or be packaged in a bigger deal.  So with that in mind, who do we know that wants both Kaberle and a goalie:

    To DAL: Tomas Kaberle, James Reimer
    To ANA: James Neal, 2nd in 2011 (TOR), Jimmy Hayes
    To TOR: Bobby Ryan, 2nd in 2010 (DAL)

    Everyone gets what they want here.  The Stars finally land a young goalie prospect, and Reimer is further along than Rynnas or Scrivens, both of whom they were interested in quite heavily.  They get their top puck-moving D they feel will elevate them on the whole.  Anaheim gets a good pick and a good prospect, plus a solid powerforward winger who is more in their price range.  Ryan wants more than 5 million, but the Ducks only want to pay 4.5 max.  Neal is probably looking for around 4, so something like this would be ideal for them.  The Leafs add a huge piece to the puzzle, and take back a pick as well.

    To NSH: Phillipe Paradis, Juraj Mikus, 4th in 2011 (TOR)
    To TOR: Jonathan Blum

    The Preds swap Blum for a prospect at a position they need, and also get a replacement for their AHL defensemen (Mikus has high upside too, and looks like he could become a Gunnarsson type), and a late pick next year.  Pretty good deal considering the Preds can't take back any salary.

    -sign Alexander Frolov, 2 years, 7.5 million
    -sign Matt Cooke, 2 years, 4,5 million

    Alexander Frolov – Tyler Bozak – Phil Kessel
    Viktor Stalberg – Nazem Kadri – Bobby Ryan
    Nikolai Kulemin – M. Grabovski – Matt Cooke
    Fredrik Sjostrom – Chis Hanson – Colton Orr

    Dion Phaneuf – Luke Schenn
    Mike Komisarek – Jon Blum
    Carl Gunnarsson – Francois Beauchemin

    Jonas Gustavsson – J.S. Giguere

    Address the need for a number one center next summer.

  23. cam7777 says:

    Actually, the 2011 2nd rounder will allow us to bid up to 3.2 million (approx) assuming the cap rises to the speculated 57.7 million.  He was talking about landing them through trade though, which Burke has twice said he will attempt to do.

  24. KingCanada says:

    Oh true I guess that chart I was reading was outdated..  Still 3.2 isnt enugh for top end guys.  Most teams can afford 3.2 for one of their best youngsters.

  25. mojo19 says:

    I'd take a shot at Kim Jonsson over Joe Corvo, even though he's a bit older now, he's always been a great guy with the puck and could probably be had for $1-2 million range at this point. And like Nords said, MVR could get an invite to camp, not that any of these guys are Tomas Kaberle but we could use a guy with some potential offense.

    Other options could be Derek Morris or Dennis Seidenberg but I think they might be a little bit too pricey. Sergei Gonchar could be an option too but we'd really have to move shit around to accomodate his $6 million (or more) that he'll command.

  26. mojo19 says:

    How do you feel about Matt Stajan? Be honest, and don't hold back.

  27. KingCanada says:

    James Reimer worth a 2nd??  Wow I dont see it but I hope ur right.  He's got good stats but thats still a pretty heavy price.  If the Stars really wanted a goalie couldnt they just draft Jack Campbell who probably has a much higher upside then Reimer?

    If hes traded I dont think he would be worth more then a mid rounder to be honest.

  28. reinjosh says:

    I disagree with some of your assessments here.

    Phanuef's salary is more about potential and where he was. Yes he is overpaid but he won't be next year.

    I disagree with Bozak. He isn't overpaid. He had higher production per game than any other rookie in the league and if he continues to develop the way he has, he won't be overpaid at all.

    Schenn won't be overpaid either. He played better than last years 2nd overall pick and has developed nicely and will continue to do so. He may be slightly overpaid right now at 2.9 but he won't be next year.

    And Grabovksi. Why does everyone think this is a bad deal? Its not. In fact its pretty fair value for a center who can score between 50 and 60 points and not be bad defensively. In fact he has a higher points per game pace than most centers paid at or around his value. The player who is most like is Valterri Filppula. They played almost identical games, scored almost identical points but Filppula is paid more and is worse defensively. Now most people will tell you Filppula's contract is good or fair but Grabovski's is bad? What? Grabovski actually has a fair deal and it will only become better next year.

  29. reinjosh says:

    Forbort or Tinordi for D and Pulkinen or Bjugstad for forwards.

  30. reinjosh says:

    I don't think Paradis is going to be traded. Burke likes him and thinks he will make noise at training camp. And Mikus is a sleeper star. Don't trade him.

  31. cam7777 says:

    Burke said in a recent interview that he suspected he would be able to translate Reimer into work for his scouts in the first two rounds.  To me, that means he probably already has an offer on the table.  I don't think that drafting goalies is really an intelligent way to go about getting goalies.  How often does that work out?  Goalies are almost always traded, and many of the stars are found later in their careers. 

    Reimer appears to be a late bloomer, and apparently others are taking notice.  Really, getting Reimer now would be the same as drafting a goalie in the 2nd round, except he's almost ready to play and has loads more development under his belt.  It's really not that absurd when you think about it.  You just have to expel the notion that all 2nd round picks will be better than Reimer, because the reality is, maybe 2 or 3 of them will pan out better then him.  How many of those will be goalies?

  32. cam7777 says:

    I think Burke says things like that to materialize trade value.  He also said Hagman was a sniper he couldn't afford to lose.  He said that Stajan was a bonafide top six center.  He said that Ponikarovsky was a sure-fire 30 goal man he would love to resign.  Now true, he also said he loved Gunnarsson, and it looks like Gunnarsson is here for the long haul.  Bottom line though, is that Paradis has a lot more value if people think Burke wants to keep him.  Mikus is a good player too, but Blum is ridiculous.  He would be our PK Subban – except we already have Schenn, Phaneuf and Gunnarsson as well.

  33. TheLeafNation91 says:

    He was fustrating…He was one of those guys tha you would always say 'you expect more of and wait for' but he never delivered…

    Some nights Stajan looked like the best player on the ice, but he dissappeared, and when he did he was horrible and you just wanted to punch in the face and yell wake up…

    You think a trade would do it for Stajan, as it did Phaneuf, but to no avail!!!

    What do you think??

  34. SportsJerseysCanada says:

    Sorry I should have specified that the values I gave for each contract are based on the 09-10 and 10-11 seasons. I agree that by the end of his deal Phaneuf could very well be worth his contract, if not more; same for Schenn.

    I was just assessing how the money is spent and if it's worth it for next season. As for Grabovski I guess we just have a different opinion of him but we all have different opinions. For me he'll have to play a full season and score 55 points to show me he's worth that.

  35. cam7777 says:

    Take this final group, and imagine if Burke can pull off another 3 for 1, or 4 for 1 upgrade at the deadline next year, and then add a big free agent.  I think with Grabovski and Beauchemin heading into the final year of their contracts, Burke will be looking to move them. Surrounded by an improved crew over last year, Beauchemin and Grabo could appear more attractive than Stajan/Hagman/White.  Suddenly, with a major center addition, that roster looks pretty damn good.

    Or, iimagine that Lecavalier continues to refuse to waive his NTC, and Stamkos refuses to take any kind of discount.  Burke could offer up an insane package like: Beauchemin, Grabovski, Frolov, 1st, 1st, 1st, or whatever it takes to land Stamkos.  It would be worth it to have the biggest piece of the puzzle.  A 21 year old Stamkos, in a Leaf uniform, for life.  Jesus that would be f'n fantastic.  My point is, let's not rush into trading for Brad Richards, or Vincent Lecavalier, or any other center.  Let's just make sure that if/when Stamkos becomes available, we are prepared.  And if he doesnt' become available, oh well, Richards and Thornton will likely be hitting free agency.

  36. blaze says:

    I know a lot of people will overlook it or disagree with it but Burke is definitely on the hunt for another scrapper. A guy I havn't seen too much of but really liked his game when I did watch is Prust.

    This guy is a great light heavyweight to ease the load on Orr and actually has enough skills to throw together a crash line I really like of Prust – Hanson – Orr. Maybe NYR wants to keep him but if not I'd like to see a low ball offer for his rights.

    Another guy I'd like to see aggressively pursued is Bobby Ryan. Obviously he's got loads of potential and hopefully he prices himself out of ANA. I would offer Kaberle, Stalberg, either Aulie or Blacker. A pretty substantial package, hard to say if it's enough for ANA to bite but under the right financial cir*****stances and the Murray – Burke connection it could be enough.

  37. TheLeafNation91 says:

    Mikus can move the puck though…

  38. TmLeafan says:

    Yea wow I just checked out Reimers stats and they are impressive, I had no idea he was doing that well down with the Marlies.  I think that Burke has handled the goalie situation very well, stockpiling as many promising goalies as he can, at least 2 of them are going to develop nicely if not they are still assets.

    Really liking the rebuild idea.  The only change I would make to that is sign Bertuzzi on a 1 year deal for 2 mil rather than going after Frolov.  We need a presence in front of the net Burke has to have realized this.
  39. Kramer says:

    I got a new idea for a cologne. Forget "The Beach". I wanna create a skunk fragrance. I love the smell of skunks.

  40. cam7777 says:

    Yes, he can, and he did very well on a pretty depleted Marlies roster this year.  However:

    Juraj Mikus, age 22
    Games Played – 68
    Goals – 5
    Assists – 18
    Points – 23
    Plus/Minus – -13

    vs.

    Jonathan Blum, age 21
    Games Played – 80
    Goals – 11
    Assists – 30
    Points – 41
    Plus/Minus – +17

    I think the upgrade could be worth Paradis.  I guess you never know though, might be nice to see Mikus on a better Marlies squad.

  41. Leafs_Forever says:

    Listen, I'm not saying Stajan is a bad player.  He is smart, responsible, and good defensively.  But he also has his weaknesses: he gets hit off the puck way too easy (becuase he needs to bulk up), has limited offensive skill, and is not that great of a skater.  Example: Last year he only scored 19 goals.  Now 19 goals sounds ok, but keep in mind he was getting 1st line center ice time.  He was getting played in all situations (PP, PK, etc).  I'm pretty sure that if Colton Orr played 20 minutes a game and got power play time he could probably score say 10-15 goals (granted most of them would be garbage goals, but they are still goals!)… heck, I played junior hockey, give me 20 minutes of ice time and lots of PP time and I'm sure I could get lucky and score 5-10 goals.

    The problem with Stajan is that he is being totally miss-cast as a 1st or 2nd line center.  Stajan is a 3rd line defensive center.  He should be making about 1.5-2 million max.

    Burke did a smart thing trading him because why would we want him for that kind of money? 

  42. Magleaf says:

    a lot of our team was spare parts though because they never became what we thought they should, but i wouldnt say white was spare parts

    IMO it was a good trade its too bad stajan didnt pick it up for calg but its still a decent trade for both sides, maybe a little lean towards the leafs

  43. Leafs_Forever says:

    Ya, your right.  White is great.  He is the only one who was hard to say goodbye too…

  44. mojo19 says:

    Was this article ressurected to the top page?

  45. DannyLeafs says:

    If the Leafs were to sign another defensemen, I really hope its Kurtis Foster. It makes a lot of sense. He is a big body Burke type of player that adds a much needed Right handed shot to the point on the powerplay. He is a good locker room guy, still fairly young, great character, and he can play forward as well. This can be useful to a team that needs to address their forward core. The Leafs could use 6 regular defensemen in their line up, and Foster on the fourth line, then Foster can step in and play the powerplay.

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