X

Toronto Maple Leafs: Will Raffi Torres Be With the Team This Season?

Mark RitterSenior Writer IAugust 16, 2010

Is Raffi Torres An Option For The Toronto Maple Leafs???
Is Raffi Torres An Option For The Toronto Maple Leafs???Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

With the Tomas Kaberle saga now over, many Toronto Maple Leaf fans are left asking themselves what Leafs general manager Brian Burke’s next move will be?

Many media experts have suggested the fact that Ilya Kovalchuk is still on the market handicapped Burke’s ability to trade Kaberle.

Combine that with the availability of defenseman Kevin Bieksa from the Vancouver Canucks and free agent defenseman Willie Mitchell and you have what many NHL GMs perceive as a glut of defensive talent available.

Regardless of the current market conditions, Burke still needs to add another forward—preferably a centre that can feed Phil Kessel the puck.

While many Leafs fans are suggesting the bigger need for the Leafs is a winger, I think at this point the entire Leafs Nation would accept just about anything as long as that player can put the puck in the net.

Of the free agents still available the one name that sticks out is Raffi Torres.

Originally drafted fifth overall in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Islanders, Torres has eked out what can only be called a mediocre NHL career.

Hampered by injuries and a number of address changes that included playing for the Islanders, Edmonton Oilers, Columbus Blue Jackets, and a short stint with the Buffalo Sabres, Torres has never really reached his potential.

Torres had his best success in Edmonton where he registered two 20-goal seasons in 2003-04 and 2004-05. Torres followed those two seasons up with a 15-goal effort in 2006-07 before injuries started to take their toll on Torres and his stats.

In 2007-08 Torres was limited to 32 games. Torres notched five goals and 11 points that season. Torres joined the Blue Jackets in 2008-09, registering 12 goals and 20 points in 51 injury-riddled games.

Last season Torres split his playing time with the Blue Jackets and Sabres, scoring a combined 19 goals (all with Columbus) and 36 points.

Given his injury history, the acquisition of Torres would be a risky one for Brian Burke. That said, with so few options available via free agency (Lee Stempniak, Paul Kariya, Bill Guerin, Mike Comrie, Eric Belanger, Brendan Morrison, Miroslav Satan, Fernando Pisani, Richard Park, Kyle Wellwood, Ruslan Fedotenko, Tim Kennedy, Owen Nolan), Torres looks to be Burke’s only legitimate option.

If Burke were to consider adding Torres to the lineup it would allow him to move the likes of Colby Armstrong up to the second unit.

Torres, would also add a physical element to the Leafs—something Burke puts a premium on. As Burke once said, “You don’t run our team, our team runs you,” or something to that effect.

Is Torres the answer? Probably not. But Torres could add some depth to the Leafs lineup and, in the right situation and with a good bill of health, could get back to the 20-goal level.

Torres would likely command a contract in the $1.5 million range, which is affordable. As long as he is willing to sign a one-year deal, Burke may jump at the chance to sign him. Otherwise, Burke will have to either get Kaberle to accept a trade at a later date or look at trading another asset such as Francois Beauchemin or Luke Schenn to bring the Leafs that coveted top-six forward.

What do you think? Would you like to see Raffi Torres with the leafs next season???

Until next time,

Peace!

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.