Toronto Maple Leafs: 5 Players Who Do Not Fit on the Roster in 2011-12

Matt DonohueContributor IMay 4, 2011

Toronto Maple Leafs: 5 Players Who Do Not Fit on the Roster in 2011-12

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    TORONTO, CANADA - FEBRUARY 1:  Fredrik Sjostrom #11 of the Toronto Maple Leafs shoots during warmup before game action at the Air Canada Centre against the Florida Panthers February 1, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
    Abelimages/Getty Images

    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.

Fredrik Sjostrom

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    NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 06:  Fredrik Sjostrom #11 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on April 6, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    A so-called "penalty-kill specialist," Sjostrom has literally done nothing to improve the Leafs' abysmal penalty kill since being acquired in the Dion Phaneuf trade.

    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.

Brett Lebda

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    TORONTO, CANADA - FEBRUARY 26: Brett Lebda #23 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates up the ice during the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Air Canada Centre February 26, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
    Abelimages/Getty Images

    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.

    With the continued maturation of Keith Aulie and Carl Gunnarsson, and the late-season emergence of Matt Lashoff, Lebda appears to be the odd-man out.

    What remains to be seen, however, is whether Burke can find any takers for Lebda's $1.45M salary.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere

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    TORONTO, CANADA - FEBRUARY 07:  JS Giguere #35 of the Toronto Maple Leafs protects the corner in a game against the Atlanta Thrashers on February 7, 2011 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada. The Leafs defeated the Thrashers 5-4. (Photo by Claus An
    Claus Andersen/Getty Images

    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.

Jonas Gustavsson

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    TORONTO, CANADA - JANUARY 6: Jonas Gustavsson #50 of the Toronto Maple Leafs reacts to the 5th goal scored by the St. Louis Blues during game action at the Air Canada Centre January 6, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
    Abelimages/Getty Images

    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.

Tyler Bozak

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    TORONTO, CANADA - FEBRUARY 26: Tyler Bozak #42 of the Toronto Maple Leafs prepares for a faceoff during the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Air Canada Centre February 26, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
    Abelimages/Getty Images

    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.

    And with the further development of Mikhail Grabovski and Nazem Kadri, and the expected arrival of Joe Colborne, Bozak suddenly becomes expendable.