Toronto Maple Leafs: 5 Players Who Do Not Fit on the Roster in 2011-12
Another year, another disappointing finish.
In recent history, the Leafs have been forced to watch the NHL Playoffs as opposed to participating in them.
It goes without saying that Brian Burke has a lot to do in order to make this team a contender in 2011-12.
While there are a number of players out there that the Maple Leafs may acquire via free agency or trade, this piece will look at some of the players that need to be moved out in order to move forward.
With that, the following are five players that will not be back in the Blue and White next season.
With five points in 66 games in 2010-11, the 27-year-old equaled his point total in 19 games with the Leafs in 2009-10. It is safe to say that this decline in production does not help his chances of getting an offer from the Leafs this off-season.
As a pending UFA, it is expected that Burke will use this extra money to upgrade his roster elsewhere, making it hard to imagine that Sjostrom will be in the Blue and White in 2011-12.
I remember thinking when Brian Burke signed Lebda to a two-year contract last summer that he could be a real asset on the blueline for the Leafs.
Boy, was I wrong.
Lebda was never really able to find the same comfort zone that he previously had with the Detroit Red Wings, bouncing back and forth between the wing and defence throughout the season.
Playing in only 41 games this season, Lebda put up a career low four points to go along with a minus-14 rating.
What remains to be seen, however, is whether Burke can find any takers for Lebda's $1.45M salary.
Since Giguere's arrival, I have been a big supporter of his and what he has done here in Toronto for the younger goalies. His on-ice performance has not been what we expected, but his role in the dressing room has been very valuable.
That being said, I think it is time for the Leafs to move on, unless Giguere signs at a major discount. My feeling here is that Giguere is not ready for that stage of his career, and wants to give it one last shot.
With the emergence of James Reimer, he will not be given that opportunity in Toronto. Expect that Giguere will explore all his options this summer before considering coming back to the Blue and White.
It is amazing what James Reimer was able to accomplish during his late season run that almost put the Leafs in the playoffs.
He probably saved Ron Wilson's job.
He gave all of Leaf Nation a reason to look to the future.
Did he also force two goalies out of town?
Coming to Toronto from Sweden amidst much fanfare in 2009, Gustavsson has never really looked comfortable with the Leafs. Whether it has been due to his recurring heart issues or other injuries, it has been hard for him to get into a rhythm.
I don't doubt that he may someday be a successful NHL goalie, but I believe he needs a change of scenery.
He is signed to a reasonable $1.35M for one more season, and I believe that the Leafs should move him now while his trade value is still reasonably high.
The No. 1 center on opening night in 2010-11, Bozak took a major step backwards in his sophomore season.
Following his rookie season in which he put up 27 points in 37 games, Bozak managed just 32 points in 82 games in 2010-11 to go along with a minus-29 rating.
This is not what you expect from a first-line center, especially one that plays with a sniper like Phil Kessel.
I believe that Burke should look elsewhere when formulating his roster next season. Bozak is a pending RFA who clearly can't be the go-to center, and doesn't appear to have the checking ability of be a third line guy.