The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired left-winger Clarke MacArthur and defenseman Matt Lashoff this past weekend. The Leafs now have 19 players on one-way contracts and three players in Tyler Bozak, Luke Schenn, and Carl Gunnarsson with two-way contracts that will be playing for the big club. With very little room left on the roster, what will Leafs GM Brian Burke do next?
Burke has stated that he is content to go into the season with his current roster and has said so to many reporters over the past few days. When asked about potential changes, he replied that there were a few players available that he wasn't formerly aware of, but was noncommittal about any specific plans.
After a small flurry of activity this weekend, Leafs Nation is still hoping for bigger and better things to come. And they should be.
Burke has a history of making difficult and unforeseeable trades. New Leafs' captain Dion Phaneuf is just the most-recent example of Burke’s handiwork. While Burke may be content to allow competition to rule come September, if Leaf fans know anything about Burke it’s that when rumors have seemed to die down—stay alert.
By adding MacArthur and Lashoff, the Leafs pick up a gritty depth scorer and an NHL-ready prospect with some NHL experience. Both players are expected to continue to grow, with MacArthur being given a chance at some top-six time. Lashoff is in for more of a fight.
At 23 years old, Lashoff has a decent amount of pro hockey experience. Since the tender age of 19, Lashoff has been playing pro hockey at both the AHL and NHL level. In four years of pro hockey, Lashoff has played at least five or more NHL games each year. In 63 NHL games, Lashoff has one goal and 15 points. Not bad for playing those 63 games over four years with two different teams.
With nine defenseman now on the Leafs roster, it is almost certain that one will be traded. Even if Jeff Finger is waived, going into the season with eight defensemen on one-way contracts isn’t plausible. In addition, the Leafs still need to move a contract in order to acquire room to re-sign forward Christian Hanson.
The Leafs will be making more moves, the only questioning remaining in the minds of Leafs Nation is.
Will It Be for a Top-Six Forward?
The answer: When looking towards the future, all one has to do is look to the past...