Will the Maple Leafs be in on the Brad Richards sweepstakes? Should they be?

It is a complicated scenario made even more vague by the fact that for all sorts of reasons, Toronto general manager Brian Burke and his management team have no interest in discussing the matter publicly in advance of the July 1 free-agency period.

The Leafs got burned, you will remember, on the foiled pursuit of the Sedin twins a couple of years ago and, to add to that frustration, were charged by the NHL with tampering because of seemingly innocent comments made by coach Ron Wilson while the Sedins were still under contract with the Canucks.

Given the fact that Richards is the standalone big-name in this year’s pool and the list of suitors has some heavy hitters, nothing can be gained by Burke tipping his hand.

This much would appear as a consensus opinion on draft weekend, however.

The New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers are each expected to give Richards a long, hard look and like the Leafs, both could use the established superstar centre.

Not long after the season, the soon-to-be former Dallas Star suggested he would take a discount to return to the Tampa Bay Lightning, though that would seem like a stretch.

And let’s add Toronto to the list, with conditions.

Richards is likely looking for a big deal that would send him toward retirement, probably in the eight-year range at close to $7 million a season. That would seem a little north of where Burke generally likes to go, so it will depend on how desperate he feels.

Desperation isn’t something we generally see in the Leafs GM, however. He doesn’t mind spending money and he has the cap room to do so, but Burke is loathe to overspend, especially when free agency turns to frenzy.

http://www.torontosun.com/2011/06/26/leafs-keep-quiet-on-richards-sweepstakes


65 Responses to Will the Maple Leafs be in on the Brad Richards sweepstakes? Should they be?

  1. Jets_Back says:

    Stamkos is worth more than 4 first round selections.

    You have to think outside the box on this one. It is too pigeon-holed to think that Stamkos is only worth whatever the compensation is for an offer-sheet.

    Right now, the offer-sheet is pointless as Tampa will match. Irregardless of the consequences, the Lightning would find a way to keep him. They have actually now an affluent owner, not a couple of micro managing morons at the helm like before.

    And also, unlike before, Tampa is not a bad place to play. There is stability there for the first time.

    Tampa would only consider a trade if they so happen to acquire a premier package. MacArthur, Grabovski, 2 1st and Kadri is a lot of assets, but there just isn't anything there at all that stands out. Quantity in this case does not equal quality.

    Stamkos is one of the NHL's top 3 forwards do you agree? Definitely one of the league's top 5.

    His 96 goals in 2 seasons is incredible. He is only 21 years old and already has gained elite status.

    Unless you could guarantee that the 2 first round picks will turn into the next group of Taylor Halls, there just is not much wow factor in the assets going to Tampa Bay.

    Until the names like Schenn and/or Kulemin enter into the conversation, Tampa isn't really going to listen.

    You have to think, even if Kulemin, who is an excellent player along with Kadri wasn't even enough for Mike Richards, who's offensive abilities nowhere near match that of Stamkos, then seriously, there is no way i see neither one of Schenn or Kulemin not be included here.

  2. Leafs_Wallace says:

    His worth as a player is irrelevant, his trade value is not determined by his game but rather his situation.

  3. hockeylegend488 says:

    the leafs should keep draft pics for now atleast 

  4. Leafs_Wallace says:

    So we can keep developing players that won't ever become 1/8 of what Stamkos has already become?

  5. TheLeafNation91 says:

    Okay, I'm going with reality and that is the Leafs might not get a top-line center. SO…How about we get a third-line center to ATLEAST get another piece of the puzzle.

    Also, some other players I would like to sign:

    Scottie Upshall
    Matt D'Agostini
    Cam Barker
    Tim Connolly (could be a plug for a year…dealt at the dealine if healthy)
    Jason Arnott (though, he should really re-sign in DC)
    Max Talbot

  6. DannyLeafs says:

    I still think their could be something of a bidding war, but given that stipulation I don't think it would be as blown out of proportion as I originally believed. I still think that the 4 firsts is a minimum value, not FMV. If Stamkos is moved, he will be dealt for a package of more value then that, and I think it will have to do with the fact that teams who really want him would rather try and get a deal done, then give up complete control of the situation. An offer sheet would be a last ditch kind of thing. Also, an offer sheet will only work if Stamkos signs it, so if Stamkos realizes the teams are talking trade, then he likely won't just go off and sign one, and instead just wait it out.

    I can see either Toronto or Philly putting together a pretty substantial deal to get him, but I doubt it involves any more than 2 proven roster players. Tampa will probably prefer guys that are either close to NHL ready, or are in the NHL and could break out. Philly may have more of that to give, but it should be interesting.

    I don't think there is an amount on an offersheet that Yzerman wouldn't match (within reason, he would probably let it go if it was a 19 year 12 million per deal), as he could make it work for a year, and then trade Stamkos next season for a better package than 4 firsts.

  7. Leafs_Wallace says:

    masturbation gets you no closer to a woman.

  8. mojo19 says:

    I know this isn't what everyone wants to hear, but if we can't get Richards and don't get Stamkos on an offer sheet then we might have to build like Buffalo/Nashville and just try to be able to throw out 3 lines of solid hockey without the definitive star power.

    We could be competitive and even fight for home ice if we sign a couple guys like Ville Leino, Michael Ryder, Jussi Jokinen, Scottie Upshall etc. 2 guys like this and then maybe 1 or 2 depth guys like Max Talbot, Chris Drury (if buyout happens) etc.

    Could be something like this:

    Lupul – Leino – Kessel
    MacArthur – Grabo – Kulemin
    Ryder – Kadri – Armstrong
    Drury – Bozak – Brown *Orr

    Phaneuf – Aulie
    Liles – Schenn
    Gunner – Komisarek

    Reimer
    Giggy

    I don't know how great the team is like this but just that added depth would make a difference and would tag a few extra points in the standings. Again it would have to be like a Nashville/Buffalo mold of scoring by committee and just finding ways to win. I also realize both those teams rely on great goaltending and play a more defensive system, but I also think that if we can't land top end scorers we should switch to play a more defensive system since thats the only way a team lacking star power can really have a great season.

    Anyways if Burke can't land that home run player then this type of team might be the best thing we can hope for…

  9. LeafsFTW17 says:

    the funny thing is that is completely relevant to what he is saying…

  10. mojo19 says:

    haha Wallace, you are right, but LeafNation91 raises a good point. We just might not be able to land that star. See my comment below.

  11. LeafsFTW17 says:

    The D would have to step up big if that was to happen. Not just Deffensivly but also offensivly.
    I think the leafs D could actually be the best D in the league if each player was to play as good as they can be.
    For this to work Dion Phaneuf would have to hit the 20 goal mark like he could do in CGY and Schenn would have to embrace his rare offensive strengths that he does have. (I watched him play in Kelowna when he was 15 to 18 and he has great offensive potential)

  12. toronto77 says:

    lol, it's the other way around. leafs best chance of acquiring a no.1 centre is through trade because the UFA list is so shitty for this summer.

  13. toronto77 says:

    I hope Burke does not sign Richards, though he is a great player, there something about this guy that I don't like. For some reason i don't think he would be a good fit in Toronto. Although Mike Richards would have been perfect because he plays with a lot more energy.

  14. mojo19 says:

    Get out of my head

  15. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    I do find it amusing that a lot of people seem to believe…you just offer the guy(whoever, I don't mean just Richards) a contract and… BOOM!!! he signs with Toronto, then we go after the next guy and…BOOM!!! he signs with Toronto and so on… now we have a cup contender in one summer.

    The sad truth is, even though I have tons of faith in Burke…the chances of us landing a Richards(who I have no problem with at the right price and term, not my first choice though), Stastny, Stamkos, Parise (or obviously Carter) is actually fairly slim. Richards is the most likely because Burke can just keep upping the pot…which I am not a fan of.

    We may see an addition to the D through UFA and Burke going after a younger centre with potential who hasn't broke out yet…teams are more likely to part with a player like that than a Stamkos to an offer sheet. I'm not being pesimistic…it's just, that is more likely to happen than getting a big name through UFA, offer sheet or trade.

    If Burke can get a big name…GREAT!!! but it's not as easy as some seem to think.

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