David Clarkson, Matthew Lombardi, Eric Belanger: Three Potential Maple Leafs

Todd CordellCorrespondent IMay 17, 2010

NEWARK, NJ - OCTOBER 29: David Clarkson #23 of the New Jersey Devils and Ryan Hollweg #44 of the Toronto Maple Leafs exchange words on October 29, 2008 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Though there are five to 10 great options, I selected the three most likely unrestricted free agents (UFAs) or restricted free agents (RFAs) that could become Maple Leafs July 1st.


1. David Clarkson

Clarkson is a typical Brian Burke-type player. He hits, he fights, he drives the net, and he can score. Another key factor that will help determine if Clarkson will be wearing the blue and white in October is the fact that he was born and raised in Toronto, and it has always been his dream to put on the Maple Leafs jersey.

Another contributing factor is the fact that the Devils don't have much cap room, and if they re-sign Kovalchuk there will be no room for Clarkson. Though I would hate to see him leave the Devils, the chances are that he has played his last game with them.

Approximate asking price: 2.5-3.5 million per season

Chance of becoming a Maple Leaf: 10 percent


2. Matthew Lombardi

Lombardi is another Brian Burke-type player. Although he is not a big guy, he is a very responsible two-way forward who will block shots and can put the puck in the net.

Due to the fact that Coyotes GM Don Maloney doesn't have much cap space, and the fact that they have a lot of UFAs and RFAs, Lombardi could find himself in the free agency pool come July 1st.

Approximate asking price: 3-4 million per season

Chance of becoming a Maple Leaf: 45 percent

3. Eric Belanger

Belanger is a very good defensive forward who will play against opponents' top lines every night. He can win key faceoffs, play the PK, and chip in offensively here and there.

What is very under-rated about Belanger's game is his ability to block shots. He is not afraid to block shots and he knows how to do it right.

I know he is not the biggest name in free agency, but he is a player who would help the Maple Leafs on their quest for the playoffs...maybe even the cup.

Approximate asking price: 1.5-2 million per season

Chance of becoming a Maple Leaf: 45 percent


Would you like to see these players wearing the blue and white? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section.