No. 1 center.
Those are the two needs that almost every Maple Leafs fan thinks should be addressed this offseason, whether it be through free agency or by aggressively entering the trade market.
What people seem to be forgetting, though, is that this Maple Leafs team still needs depth and another top-six forward.
Let's be honest: While the thought of Joffrey Lupul duplicating this year's career season is nice, it's not exactly a sure thing. And while Nikolai Kulemin is only one season removed from scoring 30 goals, he has never put up more than 57 points in a single season. This leaves cause for concern as to just how many top-six forwards this current Leafs roster possesses. It also allows one to question whether or not the Maple Leafs will be able to put a legitimate second line on the ice.
If next year's second line consists of MacArthur, Grabovski and Kulemin again, it will not only allow opposing defensemen to focus primarily on Grabovski, but it will also ensure that the top line will be facing the best opposing defensemen every shift they're on the ice.
That is where bringing in a guy like Zach Parise could really help this Leafs team.
Bringing him in would allow coach Randy Carlyle to move a guy like Joffrey Lupul down to the second line to play with Grabovski and Kulemin, adding another offensive threat for Grabovski to pass to. A move like this could also spark Nikolai Kulemin, as he'd have another talented playmaker on his line to feed him the puck.
Should the Maple Leafs pursue Zach Parise when free agency begins on July 1st?
While many do not like the idea of separating the Phil Kessel-Joffrey Lupul combination, the thought of Phil Kessel and Zach Parise playing on a line together is something they simply should not pass up. Bringing in Parise doesn't just add a player with 30-goal, point-per-game ability and playoff experience. It also makes the first and second lines much more intimidating to opposing defensemen.
While I recognize the need for goaltending and a legitimate No. 1 center, I believe that adding depth on the top two lines is more important than most people realize. And hey, Zach Parise is a good old American boy. Sounds like a perfect Brian Burke target to me.