Toronto Maple Leafs: Realistic off-Season Targets
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With another year without playoff hockey in Toronto, all the talk since the end of the season has been what star player the Leafs would get. The Maple Leafs have been rumoured to be targeting a list of unrealistic players, with names like Doughty and Richards just a few of the players rumoured to be headed to Toronto.
The Leafs came close this past year to making the playoffs, and with a few moves they could very well make it next year. The following are a list of players that I feel that can realistically can be acquired, either through trade or free agency, and would help improve the Leafs roster next season.
Free Agent Centre Chad LaRose
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Chad LaRose has played the last six seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes. He has amassed a total of 144 points in 406 NHL games and has a Stanley Cup Ring, which he won with Carolina in his rookie season.
LaRose was a pure goal scorer in junior playing for the Plymouth Whalers. But since joining the Hurricanes he has adapted his game to a gritty style of game that Brian Burke covets. The Leafs were rumoured to be interested in LaRose when he became a free agent in 2009.
He would likely command between $2-2.5 million and would give the Leafs the third line centre they have been looking for.
Dallas Centre Mike Ribeiro
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While many Leafs are hoping that Burke manages to get another Dallas centre, it is much more realistic to target Ribeiro. Ribeiro, who is also a play-making centre, put up 71 points this past season—52 of which were assists—playing behind Brad Richards.
With Dallas likely doing everything they can to keep Richards, they might be willing to part with Ribeiro and his $5 million cap hit. With Richards locked up as their number one centre and Jaime Benn progressing nicely, they could be enticed to trade Ribeiro this summer.
Minnesota Wild defence man Cam Barker
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Offensive defence man Cam Barker was acquired from Chicago last year before they won the cup. Minnesota had high hopes for Barker but last season he was only able to put up 5 points in 51 games. He has only managed 12 points in 71 games for Minnesota.
In Barker's case, was he simply on a stacked Chicago defence or does he need a change of scenery? Minnesota might be willing to part with Barker and his $4 million cap hit.
Philadelphia Centre Daniel Briere
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There have been many reports that the Flyers are expected to move Jeff Carter or possibly even Mike Richards this summer in order to free up salary to sign a goalie. While the Flyers need for a goalie does give them a reason to move a goalie, Briere is more of a likely option.
Briere currently has the highest cap hit on the team and turns 34 this year. Carter and Richards both turned 26 this year and finished the season only 2 points behind Briere. While Briere has a No Movement Clause if the Flyers are able to move his $6.5 million cap hit they will have more than enough money to bring in a top goalie.
Phoenix Centre Kyle Turris
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Phoenix has been a team that does not spend to the cap every year. Last year, their salary was at roughly $50 million. If we are to believe that they would stay around the same team salary, that would leave them with $20 million to sign 6 forwards (Boedker, Turris, Vrbata), 2 defence men (Jovanovski, Yandle) and 2 goalies (Bryzgalov).
Turris has yet to pan out as the team hoped he would when they selected him No. 3 overall in 2007, behind Patrick Kane and James Van Riemsdyk. In 128 games with the Coyotes over the last 2 seasons, Turris has put up 45 points. The Coyotes could be willing to move Turris, who is an RFA this summer.
St. Louis Centre Andy McDonald
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Andy McDonald played for the Anaheim Ducks when they won the Stanley Cup for then manager Brian Burke. Through 58 games this season, McDonald put up 50 points. McDonald was traded to the Blues in exchange for Doug Weight.
McDonald has two years left on a contract that pays him $4.7 million. With the Blues not having a pick in the first round of this years draft, they could be willing to trade McDonald, who turns 34 this year.
Washington Defence Man Karl Alzner
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Alzner, another RFA this summer, could be moved simply because of the defence currently on the Capitals. While Alzner averaged 20 minutes a game, he was fifth among defence men on the Capitals. Alot of his ice time came due to injuries to Mike Green and Dennis Wideman.
This off-season, the Capitals have $8.5 million to resign Varlamov, Alzner, Hannan, as well as 3 forwards with Laich, Sturm and Arnott being notable free agents.