With the impending fire sale that Maple Leaf's General Manager Cliff Fletcher says is on the way, now is the time to look at the Toronto Maple Leaf's options moving forward.
Up first on the agenda is the decision about what to do with current Maple Leafs' coach, Paul Maurice.
Maurice is the youngest coach in the National Hockey League and already has a Stanley Cup final appearance to his name from his time spent as head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes.
He is well equipped to handle a young inexperienced team that is also lacking in talent, and next year's squad looks to be headed that way. Maurice should be kept as head coach and given an extension.
In goal, Vesa Toskala, has shown that he has what it takes to be a top goalie in the NHL and really solidify the position for years to come.
Andrew Raycroft was this year's backup and saw very limited action in the Leaf net. He is on the books for $2 million next year, which is a hefty price for a backup goaltender.
Next year the Maple Leafs should resign Scott Clemenson for $800 thousand for one year and give him 20 starts.
The defensive corps will see some retooling as Anton Stralman has cemented his spot in next year's lineup. Pavel Kubina, who had a stellar last quarter of the season, should be on his way out; his trade value will never be higher.
A defensive blue-chip prospect and a top pick are not out of the question. Kubina has a six-week window in his no-trade clause starting on draft day because the Leafs were not able to make the playoffs.
Bryan McCabe has a no-trade clause, and there is talk of him possibly willing to waive it to go back to the New York Islanders. The Leafs would have to take on salary back in this deal for it to go through.
The value that McCabe has at $5.75 million is a lot better than anything coming back, and with Kubina gone that salary is easier to take.
Stalman- FA(Bryce Salvador)
The Free Agent cupboards are rather bare on defense this year, but the Leafs will need to go that avenue to fill a hole. My pick would be Bryce Salvador. He will sign at a cap-friendly price and would fit in nicely in the 5-6 whole.
The forward corps will have a drastically different look come next September. Sundin will come back because he will not want his last game to be played on the injured list. Signing for $6 million would be a fair price for Mats.
Tlusty and Williams have won a spot on next year's roster and will be joined by Nikolai Kulemin.
The big areas of change are going to be with the veterans. Darcy Tucker should be kept. You will not be able to dump the salary, and anything Toronto gets back in return will be a huge downgrade. Jason Blake still has value and can be dealt, but will be traded for next to nothing.
The big shocker will be the Leafs having to decide to trade either Matt Stajan or Alex Steen. Steen would be the one to try and keep.
They are both No. 2 centers, but will never be No. 1 centers. Neither will replace Sundin when he goes, so trading one now for a good pick in this year's draft is key. We have no need for both and after the last few games their value has never been so high.
Resigning Dominic Moore is a must as he will fill the No. 3 centre role well. Kyle Wellwood should be getting another shot, but it will be his last. Mark Bell should be dealt if possible; if not, buy him out.
The lineup should look like this:
The key here depends on who comes back in trades. Free agents are not needed; it is time to let the kids have their shot.
The 2008-09 version of the Toronto Maple Leafs will look different than this version but it is important to have a youth movement in Leaf Land.
Total cap hit: $37.833 million
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!