There is no secret to Brian Burke's plan for his 2009-2010 Toronto Maple Leafs. Size, grit and toughness are at the top of the GM's list to add this off-season, and so far he has done just that.
The 2009 NHL Entry Draft went to plan for the Leafs, as they were able to add young talent to their prospect list that had the toughness and size they were looking for.
That includes first round pick Nazem Kadri, a 6'1 centre with a scoring touch, while also adding another large forward, the 6'0 American Kenny Ryan who has compared himself to the likes of Sean Avery. However its expected that none of the players from this years draft will be on the roster when the season starts this fall.
Burke was able to draft the type of players that he is looking for to be on the Leafs next year, but these kids are still young and will take a couple more years to develop. So expect the Leafs to get down to business Wednesday afternoon when the NHL Free Agent Frenzy gets under way.
The Leafs GM has stated that they will be hard at work as soon as July 1 is here, and will be taking some similar strides towards size and toughness that they showed in Montreal this weekend.
So which players could Burke be looking at, to help out the Maple Leafs next season? Well lets just take a look at some free agents the Leafs may go after on July 1:
The Sedin Twins
The Sedin Twins
The Sedin twins look to be on their way out of Vancouver and the Maple Leafs are one of the teams interested in acquiring the Swedish duo. The Maple Leafs are expected to put a big offer on the table for the twins, and they would be a great fit for next years Maple Leafs.
Although they are expected to come at a large price, expected to be around 6 million a piece, they would help the team in both the scoring and physical departments. Daniel the 6'1 winger who is the more offensively talented twin, should hit the 30 goal and 60 point mark next year.
While Henrik the 6'2 centre who is more suitable for a physical game, would bring in a more defensive and tough player who also has great play making abilities.
Burke wheeled and dealt to draft the twins for the Vancouver Canucks back in the '99 season, and would love to be reunited with the pair again. I expect the Leafs will be largely involved in the Sedin Twin mix!
Bertuzzi is a strong, tough and has found his game in his last two seasons. However injuries have started to become a problem for Todd, as he has had problems with concussions, as well as both back and knee problems.
Bertuzzi's season with the Flames last year was cut 11 games short as he was forced to under go knee surgery. But if Bertuzzi is ready to play he could fit in well with the Burke's Leafs.
Burke spent many seasons with Todd in Vancouver and knows how valuable he can be to a team. Bertuzzi's best years are definitely behind him, but he is still a solid player who can put up 20 goals and add grit, experience and size to a young team like the Leafs.
Not only can he still be valuable, but he should also come at a low price expected to be around 1.5 million a year.
Although Cammalleri is a small guy and not the big tough guy Burke is looking for this offseason, he is definitely on the Leafs radar. He is expected to come at a large price, however he has the potential to be a 40 goal scorer and would likely be the Leafs point leader next season.
The Leafs will be in touch with his agent this offseason, and should be one of the teams heavily involved in acquiring his service for the 2009 season. He is still only 27 and is one of the most offensively talented players on the free agent market this summer.
Toronto will have lost of competition for Michael, however expect them to make a large pitch for him, if the leafs are not successful in picking up the Sedin Twins!
These are just some of the players the Leafs could be after this off season, but Burke definitely has many other players on his list as well. The Sedin Twins, Bertuzzi and Cammallari may not be with the Leafs next year, but one thing is for certain, and that is expect a very new Leafs squad to start the season next fall.
Brian Burke is not keeping quiet about what type of players he wants, and is saying that the Leafs will be active in the free agent pool. The Leafs GM is a straight shooter and tells it like it is, so Leafs fans, get ready for an exciting and busy offseason!