Toronto Maple Leafs Finally Through with Garbage Collecting?

Bleacher ReportContributor IJune 1, 2010

MONTREAL- APRIL 10:  Members of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrate the first period goal by Christian Hanson #20 of the Toronto Maple Leafs during the NHL game against the Montreal Canadiens on April 10, 2010 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

I just realized I forgot to put out the trash today. Now I need to wait until next week, unless the Leafs come and take it.

Who’s to say they won’t?

If one club has shown a knack for picking through other people's garbage, it has to be the Maple Leafs.

Lee Stempniak was tossed on the curb right next to the ACC. Cliff Fletcher picked him up and even donated our good ol’ buddies Coco and Steen to the Blues for their castaway.

Got a player that doesn’t work out too well? Send him to the Leafs. They’ll give him a try.

At least that was the old moniker.

The Leafs rumor mill continues to turn over a lot of other teams junk, but Brian Burke seems to be going in the opposite direction. And I hope the days of picking up garbage are finished.

One reason I wrote the article regarding Kovalchuk is because he, unlike many others on the “Leafs radar”, is as close to a sure thing as there is in the NHL.

Raycroft, Grabovski and Stempniak are some second chance names from the past—Grabovski obviously still plays. Meanwhile, Frolov, Torres, Horton and Armstrong are names out there right now, and I’ll take any of those over the former three any day. But even these four aren’t really fit for the first line—with Frolov and Horton being the closest.

A player that sits on the fence right now is Raffi Torres. While I think the Leafs are 100 percent going to sign this guy, he has proven to be somewhat erratic in his play and you wonder if the Leafs should save their money.

At this point, Torres signing with the Leafs seems like a certainty to a lot of fans. Even I’ll agree that it seems very likely that him or Colby Armstrong will be in blue and white next season, but Burke shouldn’t jump the gun on these guys.

I wouldn’t complain if one of the two was to land in Toronto, but Burke should at least make sure to explore all options before tying up money in a mediocre player, and I think he will.

Frolov is a bit more of an outside shot, but regardless he’s a player who the Kings are letting walk out the door. The Leafs don’t need him unless they can get him at a good price. It’s a tight rope to walk for sure.

The type of money any two of the rumored names out there are looking for can be spent in the top six on real scoring. And the Leafs have always been burned by taking chances on hit or miss players in the past.

It’s almost impossible to find a sure thing in any sport. Burke should at least try to put the Leafs' money into a real offensive threat before worrying about taking a chance on Frolov, Torres or any other player that teams are letting go.

Which is another reason I believe that if not Kovalchuk (an obvious long shot), another player with real talent will be sought after by the General Manager within the next two months. Players like Bobby Ryan seem like a pipe dream, but someone along those lines has to be on Burke and Nonis’ wish-list.

Why can’t the Buds finally go after a player that everyone wants and beat them to it?

Burke has shown signs he can do it. Let’s hope he does it again.

Burke said today on the FAN590 that the Leafs are going to pursue a big guy who can score (again, Kovalchuk), but didn’t Toronto just let go of Antropov and Ponikarovsky?

Both were decent in front of the net, so what is Burke actually looking for, a real elite scorer?

I want Burke to make it happen. And if not, I hope the consolation prize doesn’t bust. The only way to avoid that is to forgo the second fiddle and get the real thing.