Maple Leafs: Free Agents to Think About
The Leafs are going through a big clean-up. In office, on the ice, and, hopefully, in the management (boy am I dreaming on that last one—I wish).
Well there are many things I want to talk about, and ideas I want to throw out there, but I'll try to focus on free agents.
First off: current players. There have been some moves, and I should have written this much earlier, but, so far, I am a bit proud of these offseason moves by general manager Cliff Fletcher.
We need to get rid of the garbage—ahem, I mean baggage—keeping us back. Sorry, I really mean players that do not want to, or can no longer move in the same direction the GM, coach and fans of Leaf Nation want to move in.
These players consist of: Mats Sundin, Bryan McCabe, Darcy Tucker, Andrew Raycroft, Jason Blake, Mark Bell, and Kyle Wellwood.
I'll try to go into this further in another article, but I feel that these players do not or cannot go in the new direction the Toronto Maple Leafs should be moving.
Now, free agents they should sign:
1. Brian Rolston: To fill in as captain in the void left by the departure of Mats Sundin. He can lead a team, and play any roll on the ice. Could be had for a much cheaper $3-to-3.5 million per season.
2. Sean Avery: To fill in the void left by Darcy Tucker. Well, not just fill the void, but improve upon, as well. He can do anything on the scoreboard, lead the team, as noticed by the record of the Rangers when Avery is in the lineup. He can also agitate a team into a loss, shown each and every night. Looking for a $3.5-to-4 million (per year) contract.
3. Kristian Huselius: The other Nik Antropov, as I call him. Another underated player in the NHL. He can score about 30 goals per year and plays a similar game as Antropov does. He would fit well with anyone, or add another tower on the same like as Nik. He would come in for a cheap $2-to-2.5 million per year.
1. Brian Campbell: If we could only lose McCabe's contract by trade...He would be a huge upgrade. He is very underrated defensively, can use his body, and can steal the puck away. Offensively, we all know he can carry the puck up ice, and has great offensive awareness. Should be about the same as McCabe's current contact, $5.5-to-6.5 million per year.
2. Mark Streit: Great two-way defencemen. He can score, pass, bring the puck up the ice, as well play well down low and in the corners. Likely would check in at $1.5-to-3 million per year.
These are all players I believe the Leafs should go after. In my opinion, I would be surprised to get even one of them. If so, I wouldn't really mind the Leafs getting no one at all. Letting the season side, and just giving a lot of ice time to the younger Leafs, and letting them learn and grow. Giving a chance to the Earls, Kronwalls, Williams, and now Schenns of the organization.
I think the Leafs will add two or three players in this free agency, and overpay them a bit. Even going after one big name is very possible. I hope this does not happen, but it's very capable of happening. Well, as long as it's a short contract, then it wouldn't really hurt in the long run, so it's fine then.
Good Luck Fletcher, make some proper moves, please.
P.S.: I know there have already been some moves; don't mind my article in that result, I've had these ideas as soon as this years draft hit.
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