TML; A Fans POV
There are many articles posted that offer Joe Random’s two cents on their favourite team and how they should trade for Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovenchkin. A lot of these articles come from ignorant leaf fans such as myself. Unfortenetly for those of you who are looking for an article that insists that John Ferguson Jr. should trade our garbage for pure goal scorers and first round picks, that is not the type of article this is. Hopefully this will inform leaf fans such as myself as too where the leafs stand and how the team can improve.
As of the start of this season (2007-2008) the leafs have 46 players under salary which is totaled to
$50, 009,103.00 (US Figures) with $571, 317.00 in ‘wiggle’ room. At the start of next year (2008-2009) the Leafs
will have $42, 729,167.00 (US figueres) dedicated to 28 players. At the end of this year the following Leafs will
be UFA’s: Sundin, Belak, Salmelainen, Clemmensen, Wozniewski, Harrison, Ling and Pohl. The following Leafs will be RFA’s at
the end of this year: Steen, Stajan, Wellwood, Cashman, Sifers, Foster, Harringtono, Mitchell and Ondrus.There is
the possibilty of all of these players re-signing but most likely some of them will be released. It is likely that
Sundin (if he does not retire), Steen, Stajan and Wellwood will be re-signed along with a couple of the Marlie players.
Alex Steen currently makes 900K, Matt Stajaj and Kyle Wellwood make 875K, all of which will likely have a pay increase.
All three will most likely have multi-year deals through the 2010-2011 NHL season, with Wellwood fetching around
1.5-2 Million per. Hopefully Mats does not retire after this season, if he does not he would most likely sign a
contract similar to the one he has now; 1 year at 5 Million with a No Trade Clause.
After this season Jason Blake has another 3 years left on his contract with the Buds at 4 Million per year. Blake
should be traded at years end while he has worth, he is potentially the next Jeff O’Neil. The leafs should cut their
loses as soon as possible and try and get as much as they can out of him. Bryan McCabe has another 3 years at 5.75 Million
per year along with a NTC. McCabe is probablly the hardest to move Leaf but if it can be done, it should be. Pavel Kubina
is another Leaf that should be moved, he has another 2 years left under contract at 5 Million per year. Kubina would
be easier then McCabe to move. Finally, Andrew Raycroft has only a year left with the buds at the end of this year with a
salary of 2 million. Raycroft will be hard to move with the availibilty of several goalies out there and teams searching
for a proven number one, not a possible number one.
With the current standings the Leafs are projected to choose in the top 10 of the 2008 draft. Currently, they would pick
9th overall. As of the ISS November scouting rankings the top 10 players for this years draft are; Stamkos, Pietrangelo,
Doughty, Filatov, Beach, Schenn, Teubert, Hodgson, Wilson and Bogosian. Steven Stamkos will not fall far enough in the
draft, assuming the Buds haev the 9th pick. There are many other high-talent prospects for the Leafs to take a real close
look at. One of whom is Kyle Beach. Beach of the Everett Silvertips, stock has fallen from his original ranking because of
attitude problems and issues within the locker room. This should not deter the leafs from taking a look at this player.
At 6’3, 203 lbs. he has good size and is blessed with a lot of talent. Hopefully other teams look over Beach, he would be
a good fit for the Leafs. It may be argued that the problems Beach has are enough to look over him, but these problems are
purely a maturity issue. Beach would not be expected to play right away but to mature as a player and mature off the ice.
Another potential player the Leafs should take a look at is Edgars Ulescenko who is playing for Riga in the Czech Elite
League, hockeyfutures.com considers him the draft sleeper.