As another unfortunate season winds down for the Toronto Maple Leafs, fans are left to speculate which players may return next season, but that's one list of names that may not be very long.
The forthcoming offseason was made all the more interesting by the hiring of Randy Carlyle. Toronto's latest coach likes a big, tough and physical team. However, his current roster is anything but the "Broad Street Bullies" of 1970s Philadelphia.
Does this mean big changes are on the horizon? Fans will have their answer to this question shortly.
In the meantime, it is worth taking a look at some names that may be on the chopping block.
There is, of course, no guarantee that the names on this list will be playing in another city next season. But given the way things have gone in Toronto this year, it is highly likely that some of these players will don new jerseys come October.
Tim Connolly was signed by GM Brian Burke to be the No. 1 center, but Tyler Bozak beat him to the punch.
Connolly has shown signs of improvement in a different role under Carlyle.
However, if moved, his $4.75 million cap hit could be put to better use.
Centering Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul, Tyler Bozak has played extremely well this season.
However, he does not have the size to be Toronto's No. 1 center going forward.
Expect Burke to upgrade at this position, making Bozak expendable.
Colby Armstrong is one of a few current Leafs that should, in theory, thrive under Carlyle's coaching.
Unfortunately, his tenure in Toronto has been riddled with injuries, and he hasn't lived up to expectations.
If his days of being an impact player are behind him, his days of being a Maple Leaf may be as well.
The "Monster" has, at times, shown the capability needed to become a starting goalie in the NHL.
But James Reimer is under contract going forward, and he isn't.
Since the Leafs will be looking to upgrade at his position, don't expect Gustavsson to return next year.
When Carlyle took over behind the bench, fans were optimistic that Komisarek could turn his dismal tenure in Toronto around.
However, Carlyle has seemed to favor Cody Franson.
Regardless, Komisarek's role with the Leafs has severely diminished this season.
He has a limited no-trade clause in his contract, but expect Burke to find a way to move him nonetheless, or buy out the remainder of his two-year $4.5 million contract.
In my estimation, Cody Franson should stay.
I think his offensive game adds depth to Toronto's back end.
That said, his defensive game will need to improve drastically if Burke chooses to keep him in the fold.
His size, youth and skill make him a highly tradeable commodity.
Don't be surprised to see Burke package him in a trade if he doesn't plan on keeping him for next season.
In his first season with Toronto, Clarke MacArthur emerged as a potent offensive threat.
But he was unable to rekindle chemistry with Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin this season for any sustained number of games.
If Burke plans on playing his youth next season, players such as Matt Frattin and Nazem Kadri may make MacArthur expendable this offseason.
Nikolai Kulemin lost his confidence this season.
He wasn't able to score nearly as much as he has shown he is capable of.
Should this warrant his exit from Toronto? No, and I don't think it will.
In my opinion, Kulemin stays, but I have him on this list because his two-way play and 30-goal potential make his trade value really high.
In my opinion, it is far too early to give up on Luke Schenn.
I think former coach Ron Wilson hurt his defensive game, but not to the extent that Carlyle won't be able to help him correct it.
He consistently ranks among the league leaders in hits delivered and has the potential to become a top-two shutdown defenseman.
Will Schenn be traded? Perhaps.
Should he be traded? No.
Since being drafted seventh overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, I have been fearful that Burke may trade Kadri.
He has the potential to become a potent offensive threat but has been unable to crack Toronto's roster as a full-time player.
If Burke decides that Kadri is too small to play for his team moving forward, expect him to package the young talent in a major deal this offseason.
But if Burke does in fact trade Kadri, I think it will be a major mistake.
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