Brad Richards will most likely be the most sought after free agent this offseason if he isn't re-signed by the Dallas Stars.
The Leafs will definitely make a stab at him, and they should, but there is another free agent that I think that the Leafs should try to sign.
Brooks Laich, currently playing for the Washington Capitals, has had quite a good career without being noticed that much. Although, that's not too hard when you play on the same team as Alex Ovechkin, Nick Backstrom and Alexander Semin.
In 442 NHL games, Laich has compiled 93 goals and 123 assists for 216 points. He also has 218 penalty minutes. He's been producing on special teams as well. He has 36 power play goals and eight shorthanded goals.
The Leafs definitely could use his power play production.
He can play all three forward positions, but has primarily been used as a left winger for the Capitals. He has also been praised by Washington coach Bruce Boudreau for his leadership and hard work, other qualities the Leafs need.
Imagine this: if the Leafs were to sign both Richards and Laich, they could be inserted onto the first line alongside Phil Kessel. You have two guys in Richards and Laich who can pass the puck and and all three can score, not to mention Laich is a tough player and not afraid to hit.
One thing that stands in the way of Laich coming to the Leafs is the way he feels about Washington.
He once said, "If I asked you about your family, you would talk about them forever because it's something you love. That's the way I feel about this team. This team is my life, and I love playing here and I'm passionate about playing hockey. So it's easy for me to talk about it."
That doesn't mean he wouldn't come to Leafs, but he would most likely want to stay in Washington.
Some would say that if they were to pick which free agent to sign out of Washington, they would pick Alex Semin. While he would be good player for the Leafs, we already have a player similar to him in Kessel, and if I were to pick only one of Laich or Semin, I would pick Laich.
Not only would he be a cheaper option, he is more of the player we need.