Tossing out names that Leafs fans believe should be on the back of a blue & white jersey next season is something that gathers up plenty of space on message boards, blogs, articles, comments sections, and the like.
Some think it’s foolish, others think it’s a waste of time. But I believe it’s a tribute to the common Leafs fan.
To be so invested in the team that you’re consistently thinking up new scenarios and scouting out players from other rosters shows an incomparable level of loyalty. It’s this amount of fan interest that players and management should never take for granted.
Right now I’ve heard a bunch of names being dropped as possible Leafs for next season, both through trade or free agency. They range from the obvious to downright bizarre, so let’s break down a few and see what we have here.
I’m going to rate what the chances are of each player becoming a Leaf based on percentages. This is only my opinion. Brian Burke and I have had limited (zero) conversations regarding these players (or in general).
Paul Kariya (nine percent) – “Old and small” is a little bit outside of Burke’s philosophy of “young and truculent.”
Jakub Voracek (19 percent) – Only can happen through trade. Could go down, but at a good price, why would the Jackets deal him?
Tomas Plekanec (12 percent) – Staying with the Habs unless Gauthier pulls a Gainey.
Bobby Ryan (two percent) – After all, Wayne Gretzky was traded.
Raffi Torres (23 percent) – I was hot on Torres before, but now I’m not so sure. Healthy scratch during the playoffs? Pick it up, Raffi.
Colby Armstrong (41 percent) – Definitely on the Leafs' radar. But I can also see him going back to Pittsburgh.
Mason Raymond (21 percent) – RFA, likely to leave Vancouver but it’s a toss-up as to whether the Leafs nab him.
Andrew Cogliano (nine percent) – No thanks. Cogliano is a poor man’s Bozak.
Alexander Frolov (33 percent) – Big forward. Inconsistent. Still think he could be in the Leafs plans for the right price.
Manny Malhotra (nine percent) – He’ll stay with the Sharks.
Joe Pavelski (one percent) – Being generous in giving him a one percent of becoming a Leaf.
Patrick Sharp (18 percent) – I want to rate him higher, because I believe the Leafs and Hawks could pull a deal. Not sure if Sharp will be involved.
Devin Setoguchi (nine percent) – Unlikely. RFA should remain a Shark.
Paul Martin (three percent) – No thanks. Leafs are blocked on defense.
Dan Hamhuis (two percent) – Again, more money tied up in D? Doesn’t make sense.
Ben Eager (51 percent) – The only guy who cracks fifty percent. The reason being that he’s the only guy I believe has a better chance at becoming a Leaf than not.
Patrick Marleau (two percent) – If he leaves the Sharks, there’s 28 other coaches that Marleau would rather play for than Ron Wilson.
And now here are a few of my own.
I’ve already dropped a couple of names here , so I’ll leave them out of this one.
I’m not sure if anyone has thrown these names out there, so please don’t flame my house for stealing your genius picks if you’ve mentioned one of these guys before. We’re all on the same side remember.
Scott Nichol (35 percent) – One of the best face-off men in the league and tough to boot. If he isn’t on Burke’s wish list, he should be.
Adam Burish (18 percent) – UFA is a better option for a bottom six winger than Armstrong I think. Cheaper too.
Blake Wheeler (10 percent) – RFA could be on the trade radar. Unlikely, but he’s a great player.
James Van Riemsdyk (one percent) – I’ll admit that JVR is beyond a long shot, but I just wanted to throw his name out there because the Flyers have a lot of forwards and they only play this kid for eight minutes a game while Scott Hartnell grabs 15. Not gonna use the rook? Send him our way in a trade. Don’t send Hartnell though.
Jed Ortmeyer (21 percent) – An awesome grinder for super cheap. Ortmeyer can play a great role. If you’re going to get free agents, why not take them from the best team in the league?
Have any more names you want to drop? Or think my percentages should be a little higher or lower on a particular player?
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