Toronto Maple Leafs UFA’s and RFA’s; Who Will or Won’t Be Gone Or Traded?
A fair number of Leafs players, 17 who have counted against the cap this year, will be looking for new contracts at the end of the season.
Some will receive huge pay raises and some will be packing their bags and looking for some new digs.
Do these players deserve contracts or do they get shipped before the deadline or possiby let loose in the off season to find themselves a new home?
Cases can be made for a number of the UFA’s (unrestricted free agents) and some are a no-brainer (dumps/resigns). The same may be said for the list of RFA’s (restricted free agents).
Defencemen- Two RFAs- Luke Schenn RFA
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He’s certainly come into his own and has become that blue chip prospect most thought he would. But if this were at the beginning of the season or the end of last season his name might have been thrown around in trade talks.
Schenn is going to receive a hefty raise as his rookie contract expires. What’s he worth? Obviously he’s not a huge point producer but he’s quietly averaged 22 plus minutes of ice time per game and at this point he’s the only Leaf d-man with a plus minus rating in the plus column. He sits among the tops in the league for d-men in the hits category and he has earned that hefty raise. Obviously he gets signed for how much…? Good question. I’m thinking he’s getting right around the three and a half to four million-dollar range for three to five years plus incentives.
Carl Gunnarsson RFA
His play has dropped off a bit this year and that could equal a cheaper contract for the Leafs. But this kid certainly has a lot of upside and the Leafs should certainly sign him. I think if the right deal comes up for Burke he may pull the trigger before the deadline as the Leafs have a good number of solid young blue line prospects but after trading Kaberle a D-man would have to come back in any deal.
Goalies-Two RFAs, One UFA
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J.S. Giguere UFA
Giggy has been good when healthy but with all the young goalie talent and the emergence of Reimer it looks like we could be saying so long to Giguere. He’s getting healthy now and could be moved to a team but the return would be minimal. A possible later round draft pick at best.
James Reimer RFA
Reimer looks like he’s the real deal and the buds will be signing him or Leafs Nation will lose their minds! How many dollar signs this kid is going to see on his contract should be similar to what they gave Gustavsson. I’d think 1.35-1.5 Million. Yes he came in and has looked good but he can’t command too much with his limited time in an NHL uniform.
Ben Scrivens RFA
you would have to think he will be signed and continue to develop, but for what and how long is anybody's guess..
Inactive Players- Three RFA's, One UFA
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Matt Lashoff RFA
Brought in for depth Lashoff has a lot of upside and I’m sure Burke will get something done here, unless again, he is packaged in a pre-deadline move. I’d think he’s in the same boat as Gunnarsson with a little less NHL experience (Lashoff 63 total NHL games played, Gunnarsson 88 games).
Luca Caputi RFA
Caputi came in with a lot of expectations from fans because he's a hometown kid. That flame certainly fizzled quickly and he’s been buried down on the farm. The Leafs will likely resign him and keep him with the Marlies but with all the youth coming in I don’t see Caputi as a part of the Leafs future even though he’s a big body and could make a mark with the Marlies. I really hoped for more from him as did most of Leafs Nation.
John Mitchell RFA
Mitchell has shown a few sparks playing with the Leafs but his inconsistent play and frequent injury has him down on the farm but again, with the youth coming in Mitchell may be moving on or kept down on the farm. I think he has blown his chances here in Toronto and it might be better for him to look elsewhere.
Mike Zigomanis UFA
I think Zigomanis is a good guy to keep down on the farm to help bring along and mentor some of the youth that will be coming through the system in the next few years. He knows the ins and outs of the NHL and AHL and is quite likely a player coach.
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Fredrick Sjostrom UFA
With obviously no offensive side to his game but great skating ability and excellent penalty killing ability and a solid defensive style of play the Leafs would be smart to resign him for a couple of years. Every team needs some penalty killers and defensive specialists and for now, he’s ours. Cheap signing.
Joey Crabb UFA
Crabb has filled in nicely and brought limited offence but I have to think the Leafs will bring him back. Most likely he’ll end up down with the Marlies next year where he can always be called up if needed. Sign him cheap.
Darryl Boyce UFA
Finally after a fair number of years down with the Marlies Boyce has gotten his shot and I think he’s done a great job with the ice time he’s had. He has three goals, six assists and is a plus six in 24 games, which are not bad numbers for a third/fourth liner. I’m a little biased when talking about Boyce because I’ve interviewed him and watched him for the 08/09 season while covering the Marlies. I like him and think he’s earned a contract.
Tim Brent UFA
Brent has done an admirable job and has surprised on occasion with some offensive upside and a solid defensive game. Again another guy who has endeared himself to Leafs Nation and again I believe he’s earned himself a contract. Most likely with the Marlies but with the lack of centres on the team who knows.
Forwards- Four RFA's
Jay Rosehill RFA
Rosehill has answered the bell on numerous occasions whenever he’s been invited to dance. With again all the youth coming to the Leafs/Marlies, tough guys with good heads on their shoulders who are good guys in the dressing room, (as I know Jay is having interviewed him a number of times with the Marlies) are important to a team. Burke brought Aaron Voros over from Anaheim so there might not be a spot for Rosehill with Mike Brown and Colton Orr both signed. We may be saying goodbye to Rosehill but I hope not.
Christian Hanson RFA
Hanson seems to me to be in the same case group with Caputi. I’m on the fence with both of them and who knows what’s cooking in Burke’s mind with this guy. Could go either way for Hanson. He hasn’t really lived up to expectations and doesn’t use his size as much as was hoped.
Tyler Bozak RFA
He was thrust into the first line centre spot out of necessity because of a lack of centres on the team. On any other team he’d be a third liner. Burke will have to sign him but I wouldn’t expect it to be for very much, couple million and a couple years at best. I think with Nazem Kadri maturing and eyeing a spot on next year’s roster that if Burke can package Bozak during the draft or before he might move him.
Clarke MacArthur RFA
Brian Burke has stated that he and MacArthur’s camp will enter negotiations this week. See http://bleacherreport.com/articles/615979-toronto-maple-leafs-clarke-macarthur-next-name-on-the-trading-block
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Well, cases can be made for signing most all of these guys to one spot or another in the system, and for some, a case can be made against them. It depends on end-of-year evaluations of roster players, how much agents want and an expectation of the youth in the system. And who knows what Burke has up his sleeve?
It should be an interesting week or so leading up to trade deadline and an intriguing summer and draft as the Leafs finally have a lot of youth and picks. What Burke does to find that elusive first line centre and top six forwards that the Leafs desperately need only he knows.
All we can do is sit back and hope he has all the right moves!
Oh yah, and analyze and scrutinize the hell out of everything he does!