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The list of “could-be” Maple Leafs grows daily…

One of the great things about being a Leaf fan is that, even when things are quiet, as they surely are now (the Marlies and a Komarov signing aside), speculation keeps us going. There’s always a summertime trade to dream about, the draft to consider and a list of UFA’s to keep the “wish list” ever-evolving.

Over the past few weeks, here at VLM we’ve discussed a number of names that could be “out there” this summer, available either as RFA’s, UFA’s or via trade.  (And yes, for non-Leaf visitors, we know that Leaf fans tend to assume every available player will end up in Toronto...though deep down we know that's not true.)  The list is an intriguing one.

Some of the following players could be on the trade market:

-Ryan Getzlaf
-Bobby Ryan
-Jarome Iginla
-Miikka Kiprusoff
-Tim Thomas
-Jordan Staal
-Patrick Marleau
-Ryan Clowe
-Patrick Sharp
-Anders Lindback
-Jonathan Bernier
-Rick Nash
-Steve Downie (RFA)
-Chris Stewart (RFA)
-Wojtek Wolski (RFA)
-Sam Gagner (RFA)

Here are a few likely UFA’s

-Josh Harding
-Alexander Semin
-Ryan Suter
-Zach Parise
-Dustin Penner
-Dennis Wideman
-Barret Jackman
-Matt Carle
-Ray Whitney
-Brad Stuart
-Brad Boyes
-Ryan Smyth
-Hal Gill
-Carlo Colaiacovo
-Chris Mason
-Michael Leighton
-Travis Moen
-P.A. Parenteau
-Jordin Tootoo
-Gregory Campbell
-Kent Huskins

A number of the names are, at the very least, interesting.  Some are likely unrealistic (in terms of the Leafs being able to obtain them in some fashion). But who wouldn’t like to have a Getzlaf or Bobby Ryan on their team?  Staal would look awfully good in a Leaf uniform, but I’m guessing there are 29 NHL General Managers who think he’d look good on their team, too.

I have no doubt Burke will explore possibilities around the Anaheim duo this summer, and most certainly will be in on any Columbus conversations around Nash.  I don’t see Tim Thomas coming here, but what about Kiprusoff?  He's expensive but an awfully sound veteran goaltender.

Would Ryan Clowe fit here with Randy Carlyle?

I don’t think the Leafs would even consider Semin, though he has rare skill.  Parise won’t be coming here. (I’m guessing he stays in Jersey or ends up with Detroit.)

There are other UFA names that might be of interest.  Brad Boyes is available.  That would satisfy those who wish the Leafs had never traded him in the first place. Another ex-Leaf, Colaiacovo,  is also available, but I don’t see him returning to Toronto under the Burke regime.

While Penner’s stock is seemingly rising now, I wouldn’t touch him.  I’ve followed him for years and have found him infuriatingly inconsistent in terms of effort.  But maybe I’m missing something, eh?

One name I like is Tootoo’s.  I know he had some off-ice issues and also had difficulty cracking the Predators line-up in the playoffs.  But if he could ever get his career back on track, he is a guy that plays a physical game and could seemingly be a very useful fourth-line guy.  There’s a lot of sandpaper in his game—or at least there used to be.

My list is not comprehensive, just names I’m aware of that I’ve cobbled together for discussion.

Anyway, do any of the names stand out for you?  Some would cost assets.  All would at least cost cap space.  But don’t worry too much about whether it’s realistic or not.  Just ask yourself:  who would like to see in a Leaf uniform next season?


  1. Without a doubt, Jordan Staal would be the trade I push for the most. Getzlaf would be the second guy behind Staal I would want if the Pens were unwilling to do business.

    A wildcard would be Patrick Sharp. The issue being does Chicago want to move him now after unwilling to 2 year ago and secondly is he really any better than Grabovski or another 2nd centre being thrust onto the 1st line.

    As for UFAs, Harding is my guy if I'm Burke and no trades were to be had in the crease. I wouldn't touch Penner, do we get an unmotivated player in him or a solid competitor? Ask Edmonton and I'm sure they will tell you it depends on the season.

    Carle could be the best defensemen behind Suter. Sure Jackman is an appealing name but do we want to add veteran leadership or youth. I'm sure Carlyle's team would favour Jackman. The blueline is full regardless and that is without Holzer being considered so contracts have to be moved. I say go off the board here and court Justin Schultz.

  2. Clowe, Harding and Moen and the Leafs become a different team...those are the ones I would choose.

    However there is a lesson in the Rangers' success. After years of free agent busts, there is much homegrown talent on that team.

    I would be ok if the Leafs did nothing and gave the Marlie kids a good look next year.

    Tomáš Vokoun should also be a UFA. After Holtby's performance, there is no way the Caps sign him. If he is willing to sign another one year deal I would do it in heartbeat.

  3. Interesting breakdown, Skill2Envy. Staal would be my guy, too, at this point.
    (Whether it's realistic, I have no idea...)

    You've mentioned Harding here before. I understand your perspective.

    I like your thinking on Schultz.

    Thanks Skill2Envy.

  4. Hi DP...I think you and I have talked about Moen here before. He's one of those guys that can make a team better in those important, small ways.

    Vokoun will definitely be on the market, it sounds like.

    And you make a very good point about the Rangers. Sather did a lousy job there for years. But they've gone a different route in more recent times, and have a coach that the team responds too now. The Leafs have the opportunity to infuse the line-up with some young, home-grown talent next fall under a demanding coach in Carlyle.

    I guess we'll see which route they take.

    Thanks DP.

  5. What route will TO take? I'd say adding another 3-6 FA and doing more on the fly, rather than building a core and trying to win. Who's our Kopitar, Brown, our Quick, our .... That's right, we try and trade for guys or sign FA to fill the role of "guy who bleeds blue and white", forgetting that guys from elsewhere have a soft spot for their former teams; you need guys at your core who want EVERYONE to lose except the Leafs, not guys who wish other teams well in the playoffs.

  6. -Josh Harding --> do want
    -Alexander Semin --> 3yrs @ $5mil? maybe, longer? no
    -Ryan Suter --> will pay any money
    -Zach Parise --> will pay any money
    -Dustin Penner --> do not want
    -Dennis Wideman --> do not want
    -Barret Jackman --> consolation prize for when we lose on suter, but might overpay a la Tim Connolly
    -Matt Carle --> 2nd prize if not Suter
    -Ray Whitney --> old
    -Brad Stuart --> do not want
    -Brad Boyes --> want back, but older and expensive, and probably woul
    -Ryan Smyth --> do not want
    -Hal Gill --> 1 or 2 yr only, but he prob wants to play on a contender
    -Carlo Colaiacovo --> not likely
    -Chris Mason --> lol
    -Michael Leighton --> not an upgrade
    -Travis Moen --> do not want unless on a 1yr minimum contract
    -P.A. Parenteau --> meh
    -Jordin Tootoo --> if he'll play for $1mil
    -Gregory Campbell --> ditto
    -Kent Huskins --> old

    Honestly I'll be happy really no matter what happens as long as Lombardi/Armstrong/Komisarek are gone and not replaced with similar players on similar contracts (i.e., what's the benefit of replacing 1 yr of $3mil armstrong with 3 yrs of $2 mil tootoo? If anything I'd rather stay with armstrong since at least then the waste of cap space would be gone at the end of the year.)

    The problem with these bottom 6 type players is that they get overpaid for relatively minimal production and value. They are mostly replacement level players. Does Jordin Tootoo really offer $1mil or $1.5mil more value than say, a joey crabb or a jerry d'amigo? I really don't think he does. Does a Travis Moen, who i don't necessarily dislike, really offer more than the difference between a $4mil forward and a $6mil forward? My point being, I'd rather save that money by just slotting in someone like D'Amigo or newly signed Komarov, and have more money to pay a talented player like a Parise.

    The Leafs need to pursue top-end talent. There is a ton of second-tier and third-tier talent already on the roster and in the system. What we need is a 2 top-tier forwards, a top-tier defenseman, and a top-tier goalie. I kinda believe the Leafs should basically pursue Parise, Suter (and Carle/Jackman if they can't get Suter), Luongo, Staal, Schultz and probably make a pitch for the rights to Stewart. That's it. Otherwise, shed dead weight contracts for picks that can be used to acquire players at the TDL and next year's drafts. Then, ice a young team, let some Marlies have a shot, and prepare for a huge UFA season next year, with a ton of cap space and fewer awful signings on the team.

    Burke absolutely MUST avoid signing guys like Moen, Stuart, Tootoo, Smyth, Penner, unless they are for cheap, 1-yr deals. These are contracts that you sign when you're 1 or 2 role players away from being serious contenders, not at the point the Leafs are at. The Leafs MUST save their money for young, good players as they're hitting free agency. Otherwise we'll be stuck in a perpetual rut of mediocrity, with a turnstile of old, overpaid, underperforming bottom-6 guys forever.

  7. I appreciate your breakdown, Darryl. You cover things thoroughly.

    I largely agree with regard to the third and fourth line guys. We had a team full of them last season- and many of them were over-paid. (But if, as you say, we can add a valuable piece on a really low-cost deal, great...)

    Unfortunately, I don;t see Parise coming here. He's san American kid and I have to believe Lou will convince him to stay, or he'll get big money to go to Minnesota or Detroit.

    I've seen some comment that the Leafs should not invest in Suter. I don't know about statistical breakdowns, but the guy can play well- and a lot. But I see him more fitting in Detroit as their big big guy on defence, like Chelios was for years.

    The Leaf brass knows what they need, and that includes some high-end skill (you still can't win without it) tons of grit and an infusion of young players from the Marlies.

    Loved your post, thanks Darryl.

  8. I'm totally on the same page as you with Parise Michael. It's a dream for him to play for the Leafs, but I agree that it is probably just that - a dream. I actually feel the same way about Suter too, I'm betting that he goes over to Detroit to be Lidstrom's successor as the anchor on the blue line.

    I guess my post was mostly speaking hypothetically in a what should happen if it could happen kind of manner.

    Man I wish we could get a Parise or Suter though haha

  9. I'm with you, Darryl. I said in my post not to be constrained by "reality"!

  10. Ryan Suter, that would be glorious. We get a 27 year old, 25 minute shut down stud. Every d-man drops down a notch on the depth chart and the whole defense becomes intriguingly deeper and stronger for it.
    Suter, Dion, Jake, The Gunner, Schenn, Liles and pick a stud like Murray at #5 and we quickly have a killer defense. Just killer!
    No player on either of these lists would have such a meaningful and far reaching impact.

  11. Suter would certainly appeal to a lot of the Leaf faithful, for the reasons you cite, Bmaximus.

    He's an elite player, and someone is going to pay him an awful lot (too much?) for probably too long. But he's an impact guy who has helped Nashville a ton.

    Now, he didn't get them over the top, even with Weber beside him on the blue line and an elite guy in goal, but he's a player teams like Detroit will absolutely want.


  12. Very interesting and analytical views from all of you. I love to see the leaf passion. Thi9s will be long but anyhow.
    First of all...we need cap space and to somehow rid ourselves of guys like Komo and Connelly. As much as I love Colby's passion, we need to free up his salary as well. But I'm thinking about seeing if Edmonton would do some deal for the 1st overall pic, involving Dion. Edmonton boy himself and edmonton needs defenceman quite bad. Dions loss in salary would definetly help free up some cap space for the likes of Nash, Stall and possibly Suter. But that's just the beginning. I'm even thinking Kessel won't nessessarilly fit in to Carlyle's system and maybe Columbus might look at that kind of deal for Nash. Basically I'd like to see Nash and Lupol centered by Stall. Grabo centering Kuli and a ufa that can crash and bang with size. Like a Penner, but only if he is cheap. Your third line can go to the Malies trio of Kadri, D'Amigo and Frattin followed by the forth....Steckel, Brown and Rosehill/maybe a Moen??? But obviously my early deals are going to need to include some of the younger leafs, so that would be some tough decisions on Burkie's part. On D, the addition of a Suter and promotion of Holzer would be all thats needed there, unless of couse we have lost a schene in one of the deals. (Do not....I not trade away Gardiner.) And in goal, go for the Josh Harding and promote Scrivens. See what you can do in packaging Riemer into those deals earlier mentioned with either Edmonton, Columbus or Pittsburgh. Hey I know I'm doing alot of dreaming, but isn't that what makes this hole summer exciting.

  13. That's a very detailed and well thought-out look at the upcoming summer, Anon. You're thinking big.

    I appreciate what you are saying about Armstrong. His big heart does get lost in the frustration over injuries and irregular ice time.

    I wonder if moving Phaneuf would create as much of a stir as I once thought?

    I think a lot of Leaf fans would miss Kessel, but Nash remains an intriguing name that is almost certainly "out there".

    I think you're right- the Leafs will not trade Gardiner under any circumstance. While some observers have suggested the Leafs should not go after Suter, I certainly would consider it.

    All reasons why, as you cite, the summer should be fun to follow....