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Monday Morning Musings With Me, The Big E: Leafs Taking Shape & More

Eric WarrenCorrespondent IIJuly 5, 2010

TORONTO - JANUARY 5:  Jonas Gustavsson #50 and John Mitchell #39 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrate win against the Florida Panthers during game action January 5, 2010 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages / Getty Images)
Abelimages/Getty Images

With Brian Burke's most recent (re) signing of John Mitchell, the recent additions of Colby Armstrong, Kris Versteeg, and a couple of other minor deals, the Toronto Maple Leafs roster is starting to take shape.

Mitchell still holds some promise, and though I'm somewhat surprised by the move, the .75 million one-year deal was perfect for him.

Nikolai Kulemin's new two-year deal makes a little more sense for the Leafs than the previous three million a season that Kullie's camp was demanding.

With 22 players on the roster, including two goalies, some may think that Burke is finished tinkering, but I wouldn't be so sure.

There is still a lot of speculation that Tomas Kaberle will be moved before the August 15th deadline as well, but based on how Ron Wilson played him last season, limited minutes mostly on the power play, this may be the one time to date that I've disagreed with Brian Burke's assessment of a situation.

I don't disagree with his assessment of Kabby's skill set and value to a team, but Wilson may have shot Burke in the foot a little by limiting his exposure on the ice all season.

With one of the youngest teams in the league, the Leafs could still use a little veteran presence in the lineup. They can't afford a star player, but with a little over 2.5 million left under the cap they can certainly afford a good role player.

According to CapGeek.com, there are no less than nine teams in the NHL who will face cap penalties this year because player bonuses pushed them over the cap.

The biggest penalty by a long shot will be doled out to the Chicago Blackhawks and will be in the neighborhood of 4.1 million.

The Toronto Maple Leafs also made the list at number three with 1.4 million in penalties. (When I figure out who earned a bonus I'll get back to you).

What this means is that if the cap is 59 million and your fine is 1.4 million, your cap is actually 57.6 million.

While the reasons for the cap fines can vary, they are mostly, if not all, because of  long-term injury problems and bonus payouts.

Here is a complete list of the penalized teams from Cap Geek.

1. Chicago Blackhawks, $4,157,753
2. Boston Bruins, $1,759,795
3. Toronto Maple Leafs, $1,400,000
4. Edmonton Oilers, $354,500
5. San Jose Sharks, $327,500
6. Vancouver Canucks, $90,000
7. Pittsburgh Penguins, $83,979
8. Montreal Canadiens, $68,751
9. Detroit Red Wings, $50,000

Brian Burke has once again upped his respect meter in the world of hockey and beyond.

As all of us know, Brian Burke and his wife Jennifer lost a son this past February. Brendan Burke was killed in a car accident on February 5th, 2010 and was the openly gay younger son of the Burkes. In 2009, Brian watched Toronto's gay pride parade with his son Brendan, this year he marched in it for him.

My hat once again is off to you Mr. Burke, I am humbled.

Check out the full article from The Star.com

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