Outlook into the Leafs Offseason

Maple Leafs President and General Manager Brian Burke has made it no secret that his number one intention this offseason is to improve the team’s top six forward group. Outside of Phil Kessel and , the Leafs lack proven offensive players which are crucial to the team’s playoff hopes next season. After orchestrating the major trades on January 31st, Burke has shored up the team’s blue line and goaltending for the time being.
The Leafs have formed a formidable defense, and have a strong tandem in net with the likes of J.S. Giguere and newly inked Jonas Gustavsson, who signed a two year, 2.6 million dollar contract a couple days ago. With no 1st and 2nd round pick this year and little offensive power on the free agent market, (Marleau is not coming due to relation with Ron Wilson), (Burke has already said he is not willing to give Kovalchuk the money/ term that he desires), trades may be the only possibility to improve the offence. The 2010-2011 salary cap is expected to increase about 700,000 from last year’s 56.8 million dollar ceiling. Currently the Leafs have approximately 43,375,000 million dollars committed to 13 players next season, including the 1,000,000 owed to Darcy Tucker for the next 4 years. Out of the players who have expiring contracts only Nikolai Kulemin, Christian Hanson and John Mitchell are expected to be resign.

It will likely take 2.5 – 3 million dollars to resign Kulemin, 1 million for Mitchell and Hanson will likely get a two way contract valued at 800,000. That leaves around 9.35 million left to fill the remaining 7 roster spots on a 23 man roster, making it pretty tight cap wise. Without doubt, Jeff Finger and his 3.5 million dollar cap hit will be jettisoned to the Marlies, since no team is going to take a guy making this type of money, plus being scratched most nights. If that happens it leaves the Leafs with almost 13 million in cap space. When it comes to trades to improve the offence, it may be in the form of taking a big contract back to do this. The Tampa Bay Lighting are paying 7.7 million per season to Vincent Lecavalier, to be their second line centre.

44 Responses to Outlook into the Leafs Offseason

  1. bluesteel says:

    Bozak is a proven offensive player?

    ….um… not in the NHL. I assume that is where you want him to play next year right?

  2. leafy says:

    The Leafs need to grab just seven more wins next year. That's all the separates finishing last from finishing in the top 8 in the East!

    As the playoffs are proving this year, if you can make the playoffs, almost anything can happen. It's wide open.

    Like Pat Burns once said, you only need to be invited to the dance.

    The Leafs are about 2 or 3 forwards away I believe. Most important, they need a strong center with good play making skills to anchor the second line, or even play with Kessel on the first. I'm sure this is a priority with Burke.

    Lecavalier is one obvious option that carries some risk. Any other options at center via trade?

  3. leafit2me says:

    Lets not forget that the Chicago Blackhawks have to move salary to make room for the new contracts for Keith, Toews, & Kane and the San Jose Sharks have decision to make about impending UFA's Marleau, Pavelski, Setoguchi, & Nabakov. Both teams have center's that might interest Burke and the Toronto Maple Leafs

    CHI: Players like Patrick Sharp, Kris Versteeg, & Brent Sopel are heavily rumored to be on the trading block as the Blackhawks, as they are currently constructed, are at approx $63M with only 14 players under contract. Expiring contracts include Adam Burish, John Madden, Kim Johnsson and Nick Boynton.
    SJS: A lot will depend on how far they are able to go into the post-season. The Sharks have just under $36M committed to next year but have all the big names mentioned above turning UFA this summer. The general consensus is that Marleau (owing to personal reasons) will take a salary cut to remain with the team. Joe Pavelski will make an adept full-time 2nd line center but will likely be looking for a contract similar to that of Vancouver's Ryan Kessler. At 39 years, Rob Blake could be looking to call it a career, while Nabby's future with the franchise could be jeopardy if he is anything short of stellar and finally this could be Joe Thornton's last chance to shed poster boy image  for postseason disappointment. Look Doug Wilson to make some changes here.
    Here are some trades I posted in previous post that I hope Burke can pull off
    DAL: Kaberle
    TOR: Neal, 11th overall pick in 2010
    The Stars have expressed a lot of interest in a puck moving defenseman of Kaberle's ilk and have are reportedly willing to use Neal as bait. Burke will need to work his magic to get them to part with the 11th overall. Jamie Benn and Philip Larsen may be alternatives to make the deal work.
    TOR: Mid-to-late 2nd round draft in 2010 for Mikhail Grabovski (33-59-92)
    CHI: 11th pick, 2nd in 2010
    TOR: Sharp, Sopel, & Jack SKille (AHL)
    The obvious reasons are stated above. The deal would give the B-Hawks approx $6M in cap space while restocking the draft cupboard. The Leafs get a highly skilled top 6 forward that can play center and wing and on a very affordable contract while still getting a decent prospect and veteran defenseman who can get into the 6/7 slot with much more cap friendly salary than Fingers'.
  4. number15 says:

    Marleau has said he has no problem with playing for Ron Wilson….. and I doubt Wilson misses a chance to get a top centre because of a gurdge. His job is on the line next season

    im expecting Marleau in Toronto….. well i hope

  5. cam7777 says:

    Yea really, if they turn one loss into a win every month of the schedule, they're good.  It's not asking all that much really.  One of Richards or Ribeiro will be available.  If Richards won't resign, they'll try to trade him, and if he is reasonable, they will move Ribeiro.  Jokinen will be available.  There's not a whole lot though….

  6. cam7777 says:

    How much is taking Huet's contract worth?  What about Nilsson and Moreau?  There's oppurtunity to net some high end picks by taking on salary.  Burke claims he was offered a 1st last year, but it fell apart, but he anticipates the market is still there.  Would Chicago tack on a bunch of contracts they can't afford to re-up anyways, and maybe a 1st round pick, in order to be rid of 14 million dollars in Huet and Sopel?

    To CHI: Rosehill, Oreskovic, 5th in 2010
    To TOR: Huet, Sopel, Ladd, Eager, 1st in 2010

    Basically, the Hawks trade Ladd, Eager and a 1st, for 14 million dollars, and 8 million in annual cap savings.  Eager and Ladd aren't likely to be back anyways (especially if they can fanangle something like this, where they have room to keep guys like Byfuglien).  The Leafs immediately bury Sope and Huet.  Then, a 3-way:

    To EDM: Finger, Grabovski, Stefanovich
    To SJS: Souray, Cogliano, 4th in 2010 (PHX)
    To TOR: Clowe, 2nd in 2010 (NSH), 6th in 2010 (SJS)

    Okay, the Sharks get a replacement for Blake, and a replacement for Marleau (should he walk, or have his rights traded).  The Oil move the contract they have to move anyways, and all it costs them is a pretty sideways swap of Grabo + Stefanovich for Cogs + 2nd.  Not a bad move at all for them.  The Leafs get a big, strong winger who will go to the net, knows what it takes to win, and they get a strong pick in the draft. 

    Now the Leafs have a lot of tradeable assets:

    1st in 2010 (CHI)
    2nd in 2011

    Burke know has the leverage, and assets he needs to be able to go into summer, get a top return for Kaberle, and hopefully get another top six player as well Ieither via trade or free agency).  It all starts with using money to the Leafs advantage though.  14 million on Huet/Sopel is nothing – we would have spent that on a 35 year old Owen Nolan not so very along ago.

  7. reinjosh says:

    That would be a sick offseason.

    What do you think about signing Bertuzzi in the offseason? He could be a good big bodied option to clear room in front of the net?

  8. cam7777 says:

    Don't you think Bertuzzi will probably resign in Detroit?  With Hudler returning next year, their lineup is going to be sick:

    Holmstrom / Datsyuk / Franzen
    Zetterberg / Filppula / Bertuzzi
    Abdelkader / Hudler / Cleary
    Miller / Helm / Draper / Maltby

  9. leafy says:

    I don't think so. I think the Wings are clearly on the decline.

    I was watching the Coyotes-Wings game. The Wings are over-matched by the young energetic Coyotes. These are not the old Red Wings.

    Detroit cannot beat Phoenix in this series. Mark my words.

  10. reinjosh says:

    Very true. Although, he has followed Burke before, he might want to one last time if Burke makes some good moves.

  11. cam7777 says:

    You might be right, but I think it has more to do with the defense aging than anything else.  I mean, Lidstrom is no spring chicken, and he's starting to make more and more mistakes.  He's getting worn down, finally, and Rafalski, second in command, isn't far behind.  It's been a long year for those two, and the years are only going to get longer.

  12. cam7777 says:

    Just thought of one interpretation on Burke's presser that might have been overlooked.  Everyone assumes he's going to try and add scoring talent by the boatload this off-season, but what about his comment about continuing with his strategy of building from the net out.  By that logic, he has addressed the net, and the defense, and next up would actually be the bottom six.

    If you think about it like that, then he already has Kessel, Bozak, Kadri, Kulemin and Stalberg for the top six.  They aren't the best group by a long-shot, but they proved they could win games (with Grabo swapped in for Kadri).  But what he really needs to address is the bottom six.  We need a truly feared bottom line, and a truly awesome checking line complete with heart-and-soul center, and big-bodied wingers with speed, intelligence, and no fear.

    Perhaps the guys he's really looking at are the Clarksons, Eagers and Malhotra's of the NHL.  That doesn't mean he won't look at adding top six guys, but perhaps his priority this year will be really solidifying that bottom six.  It seems like a good summer for it, since no one really worth investing in is available in free agency anyways.

    Ben Eager would really look great on our 4th line.  A 4th line of Eager, Hanson and Orr would be fantastic – intimidating, physical, and pretty fast.  I could see that line really turning the momentum when we need it. 

  13. goose says:

    Leafs wishlist:

    1. top 6 forward
    2. 1st round pick
    3. more tougness & size

    top forward: To Dallas: Grabovski, Stefanovich, Finger & a 2nd round pick in 2011
    To Toronto: James Neal

    To Boston: Kaberle
    To Toronto: Prospect Joe Colbourne, 1st round pick in 2010 (Boston's) & a roster player

    free agents: sign either Nystrom, Begin, Tootoo, etc.

  14. Magleaf says:

    He played 37 games and was the highest points per game out of all rookies excet for some who played 10 games or less

    maybe not 100% proven but pretty dame close

  15. Magleaf says:

    Dame haha


  16. cam7777 says:

    1.) Top-Six Forward:

    Let's hope that a contract renewal for James Neal stretches on into summer.  It's not out of the question as the Stars are badly strapped for cash, and need to invest in a puck-moving defensemen first and foremost.  I could see a situation developing where they try to low ball Neal a bit, and he doesn't bite immediately, potentially allowing teams to jump in and inquire about his services.

    To DAL: Stalberg, Mikus, 2nd in 2011, (prospect?)
    To TOR: Neal

    2.) Augmenting Team Toughness:

    We all know the situation in Chicago off by heart by now, but basically we know they can't resign everyone, and will probably dump some of those RFA's if someone is able to help them by taking a useless contract off their hands.  The Leafs can take back Sopel, and also provide them with a very affordable fill in player, for the mere cost of a downgraded pick, and Eager's rights.  Eager would be an ideal 4th liner on a Burke squad.

    To CHI: Rosehill, 5th in 2010  (TOR)
    To TOR: Sopel, Eager, 2nd in 2010

    3.) Adding Size to the Roster:

    Burke has always defended the Kessel trade by saying that he would always take the proven player over the mystery box.  Well, Jimmy Hayes improved by leaps and bounds this year, and looks like a great 2nd round pick who could probably be a David Clarkson type player down the road.  However, there are rumors that Clarkson isn't looking to resign in New Jersey.  Whether he just doesn't like the city, or the team is trying to low-ball him, or he feels he could be more effective with more ice-time, if he's available, perhaps Burke can nab him on the cheap:

    To NJD: Hayes, 5th in 2010 (NJD)
    To TOR: Clarkson (rights)

    4.) Moving Forward without Kaberle:

    I think many of us really like Kaberle, and would like him to stay.  That said, the rumors will never stop until he is traded.  Whatever our weakness is, the one answer will always be Kaberle.  When it was goaltending, fans were clamoring for a Cory Schneider trade.  When it was picks, fans were clamoring for picks.  And now of course, we want a top six power-forward, so that is what Kaberle should be.  All that is meaningless though.  The one comment that really leads me to believe Kaberle is done in Toronto, is a radio comment Burke made where he said "losing is corrosive to a player".  Kaberle has seen too much shit in Toronto, and needs to go for his own good more than the teams.

    Now, Los Angeles could be looking to take the next step next year.  You can never have too many veteran defensemen.  Conveniently, it is believed that Lombardi would part with Jack Johnson, who has often been troublesome in contract negotiations, is a liability defensively, openly feuds with management.  Burke could reign in these behaviors better than most, and Johnson would be merely a point weapon on Toronto's deep defense.  Also, the Kings will probably lose Frolov to free agency this year, as I doubt they will pony up what other teams will be willing to pay.  They could use a replacement for him:

    To LAK: Kaberle, Grabovski, Stefanovich
    To TOR: Johnson, Moller, 1st in 2010

    Nonis said we'd be surprized where we draft, and this would certainly be surprizing.  The Kings can really afford to do this given their extreme depth in prospects. Burke said he wanted a 1st for his scouts, so here it is.

    5.) Free Agency becomes the Maple Leafs Draft:

    Basically, this is where Burke will fill in the holes.  I'm sure there will be a couple surprize signings (character additions like a Vernon Fiddler or what have you – not him exactly, because he's signed, but someone of his ilk), but the above trades leave us needing a top six winger, a checking center, and depth:

    -sign Paul Kariya, 1 year, 2.75 million
    -sign Saku Koivu, 2 years, 6 million

    -sign Ben Scrivens
    -sign David Jarman
    -sign Bryan Cameron

    -sign Jussi Rynnas

    Everything Burke has said he will do has been met, and this is the final outcome:

    L1: James Neal, Tyler Bozak, Phil Kessel
    L2: Paul Kariya, Nazem Kadri, Oscar Moller
    L3: Nik Kulemin, Saku Koivu, Dave Clarkson
    L4: Ben Eager, Christian Hanson, Colton Orr

    Ex: Fredrik Sjostrom

    D1: Dion Phaneuf, Luke Schenn
    D2: Carl Gunnarsson, Francois Beauchemin
    D3: Mike Komisarek, Jack Johnson

    Ex: Mike VanRyn

    GT: Jonas Gustavsson, J.S. Giguere

    CAP HIT – 58.875 million

    Awesome PP unit, great PK guys, good goaltending, solid defense, 3 scoring lines that can also be responsible, and a mean-ass 4th line.  Get r' done Burke….

  17. broc says:

    I'm sorry, that's just a terrible Dallas proposition. Even JFJ wouldn't do that if he were GM of Dallas. You wouldn't get James Neal ALONE for Kaberle- let alone a high 1st round draft pick alongside it. For what- ONE YEAR of Tomas Kaberle, who is UFA after that? Dallas is pretty much a rebuilding team, and aren't going to trade their best young player, period. You're in lala land thinking James Neal is going to be traded at all after his breakout season. You said Dallas is "reportedly" willing to trade Neal? Where is this being reported then… link please. Because there is zero logic in that proposition.. it's an ultimate Leaf fan pipedream trade.

    Why not just get Matt Duchene and a 2nd for Kaberle? 😉

  18. broc says:

    LMFAO @ Grabovski (Leafs are only team he'd be a 2nd line center on), throw-away prospect Stefanovich, highly overpaid and usually scratched Finger, a 2nd rounder (the only real asset here) for one of the best young developing forwards in the game.

    I swear, some Leaf fans just make up trades to throw away 3 pieces of garbage with one little sprinkling of something worthwhile thrown in to try to make the deal look good.

    So, before you make these offers up, you have to ask yourself: Why would Dallas do this trade?
    Answer = they wouldn't.

  19. broc says:

    I think Dean Lombardi is loathe to trade high picks and epsecially prospects, so I don't think you get close to that for Kaberle.

    I doubt LA want Garbo at all too. Stefanovich had decent value a year ago.. he took a huge step backwards this year in QMJHL though, his value as trade bait has tumbled. He's a guy I can see bolting to the KHL if he doesn't get his way next season, so I doubt anyone would trade for him anyway.

    You'd have to add to Kaberle to get Johnson I think. So does adding Stefanovich and Garbo = Moller and a 1st? Not IMO.

    I'd trade all those guys for Jack Johnson straight up, myself. I don't think you'd get Moller and a 1st along with him. Johnson was a beast in the Olympics and has started to blossom this year.

    For me, I think it would be more like:

    Kaberle (1 season then UFA)

    Johnson (signed next season then RFA)

    I have to say, Johnson and Phaneuf on a blueline together would set the Leafs on D for a long, long time.

  20. hockey_lover says:

    I realize that a team has to give up something good to get something good (usually) but man, I would not let Stalberg go. I think, in a couple of years, this guy is gonna be a freaking beast.

  21. cam7777 says:

    Man, Johnson is just Stralman – he's not worth that much.  Honestly, he'd be a 12 minute per night player in Toronto, mostly manning the powerplay with Dion Phaneuf.  He is horrid defensively.  It is a myth that he's taken a big jump in his development.  His whole team improved, and he did not.  The only thing that happened for Johnson this year, is that he figured out his slapshot.  Works for us in Toronto though, as that's exactly what we'll need if we trade Kaberle.

    Moller is just a Caputi, and the 1st is late.  Would you trade Kaberle, Grabo and Stefanovich for Stralman, Caputi and a late 1st?  I think you're giving these two more credit than they deserve because of the lustre of the kings right now.  Reduce the 1st to a 2nd maybe, but those players are not stellar enough to be worth what you think they are.   LA also has Teubert and Hickey coming up, both of whom are likely to be better than Johnson, it's not the end of the world. And Moller can't crack the lineup anyways.

  22. cam7777 says:

    yea, even in mock trades i immediately regretted putting him in.

    so switch it up:

    to dal: kaberle
    to tor: neal

    to lak: grabovski, stefanovich, 2nd in 2011
    to tor: johnson

    and sign torres instead of kariya

    j.neal / bozak / kessel
    stalberg / kadri / torres
    kulemin / koivu / clarkson
    b.eager / hanson / c.orr


    phaneuf / schenn
    komisarek / johnson
    gunnarsson / beauche

    gustavsson / giguere

    Moving forward, we'll need a longer-term checking center (luckily we have Paradis, DiDomenico and Champagne in the system), and an upgrade or two in the top six (depending on how stalberg and kadri develop), but otherwise, that's a pretty set team.

  23. hockey_lover says:

    While I do think Bozak will end up being a decent player, Im REALLY not sure you should be calling him a #1 center for a team. Look around the league .. do you really think he will be as good as some of the other #1 centers in the league? To me, Bozak is a 2nd line center, not a 1st.

  24. albertateams says:

    I really doubt Edmonton would do that deal Finger is a cap night mare, Edmonton already has too many Grabovski like players and Stefanovich is a marginal prospect at best. I know Souray doesn't have much value but why would Edmonton take on Finger's contract without getting some thing better.

  25. reinjosh says:

    It has to do with a number of factors. Dallas has a lot of financial problems and have a set internal cap at 45 million dollars. They have a serious need for a playmaking quarterback. They just traded any chance they have at getting one (with Vishnevksy) to get Lehtonen. There really isn't anyone they could get in Free Agency so they have to turn to trade. With the obvious relationship between Nieuwendyk and Burke and Nieuwendyks first hand account of Kaberle's skill, a trade for Kaberle isn't out of the question.

    Then the Neal part. Neal had a good season no doubt. But he only had 55 points and 27 goals. It's not like he had a 40 goal breakout season. With the emergence of Benn (who is farther along in his first season than Neal was and cheap for two more seasons), Eriksson as the top sniper already getting paid 4 million, Morrow already playing the same role Neal does, going and paying Neal 4 million plus does not make economical sense to the Dallas organization. They can sustain his loss with Benn, Morrow, Eriksson and with Glennie coming up in the system, losing Neal would not be bad.

    So teams with needs (a playmaking quarterback) will exploit organizational surplus (scoring/checking wingers) to fill that need and at the exact price they will end up paying Neal next season.

    Maybe not Neal and a first but Neal and a 2nd is quite logical and possible. Its not a pipeline as much as you think. And nowhere near that Duchenne deal. Burke wants a first and a top 6 winger which is exactly the deal leafit2me mentioned. I will conceded what he asks might not be what he gets so a Neal for Kaberle, or Neal, 2nd for Kaberle is a good deal.

  26. reinjosh says:

    I really like Eager, Ladd and Burish. If we could one or two, it would be sick.

  27. reinjosh says:

    Eager on the 4th line Ladd on the 3rd, it would be pretty sweet.

  28. reinjosh says:

    Stefanovich is more than a throw away. He is prospect with top 9 potential.

    But that Dallas trade makes no sense for Dallas. They don't need center haha.

  29. albertateams says:

    I agree its not impossible for a move like above to occur however I think that the stars will be moving out 1 or 2 of Richards, Ribeiro, or Morrow. In return they would probably be looking for a young puck moving D man and solid prospects/picks.

    I just don't think Kaberle makes a ton of sense to the stars. They are definitely rebuilding with guys like Turco and Modano on the way out. Why trade a 22 year old winger for a 32 year old expiring contract. Kabelre makes way more sense on a competing team.

  30. reinjosh says:

    Well they won't be moving their captain in Morrow. Hes to important to their team to move.

    Richards won't be moving this offseason either. He played far to well to be moved and really clicked with Eriksson. They will look into an extension this offseason looking for a cheaper deal. If they reach an impasse they will keep him until the deadline at least, and then deal him (it will be easier then). I doubt he gets traded at all, he just played to well and made himself valuable beyond his trade value.

    Ribeiro will be an interesting option. He is talented but he has issues with attitude and he might be hard to move. Still, not out of the question. Its possible they move him for picks and prospects and then move those picks and prospects for a defender like Kaberle or Kaberle himself.

    Nashville could be an option though. They would love a center like him (although they would need a scoring winger first to make it likely) and they have the assets. Calgary might be an option and Giordano or White with Nemisz and another defense prospect might go back. Florida might but Ribeiro might be to old for their likes. The Islanders might like a center to play behind or with Tavares but they can't afford to spend assets. Phoenix could spend the assets and might but it would depend on if he could fit in the defensive system. I don't think Toronto goes after him, he doesn't fit into the Burkian hockey system.

    It really depends on whether or not Nieuwendyk wants a young defender who might be just ok, or if he wants the real deal in Kaberle and thinks his team can compete with him. I could see a deal that has Ribeiro moved to Columbus for a guy like Filatov and a 2nd and then flip Neal plus for Kaberle. It would give them a much better team and cheaper. Who knows though.

    This offseason is going to be incredibly interesting with all the teams with certain issues and really no one in the free agent market to really fix those needs.

  31. cam7777 says:

    It's obviously not ideal, but that lineup would score by committee.  Is Derek Roy really a legitimate number 1 center?  Shawn Horcoff?  Stephen Weiss?  Matt Lombardi?  I think Bozak would slot in nicely with Kessel and Neal on his wings, at least until we can land a major center in free agency, or have the assets again to make a trade. 

    I think next summer is the time to make that trade though, or go for that free agent.

  32. reinjosh says:

    Yeah, its not ideal but its not terrible. Even if we had to legitimate number 2 lines, or a fringe number 1 and a second line, it would be fine. As far as I am concerned, next season is about preparing for the season after. Allow the kids to grow, make sure the goaltending is solid, and prepare for the addition of a big time forward in the offseason to take the team to the next level.

    By that time either Kadri will be ready to take over the top line and have shown it to be so and we can go after a winger like Semin, or he won't be and we can go after a center, slot Kadri to wing and have him play on either Bozak's line or the top line.

  33. cam7777 says:

    Because he requested a trade, and also has  NTC, and has been injured for the better part of the last two seasons.  No one, and I mean no one, will pay anything significant for him.  Finger is actually a good return when you really look at it.  Look at the stats:


    39 games played
    2 goals
    8 assists
    10 points
    13:47 avg TOI
    77 hits
    84 blocked shots


    37 games played
    4 goals
    9 assists
    13 points
    22:36 avg. TOI
    50 hits
    31 blocked shots

    Despite have almost double the ice-time, Souray blocked less shots, and made less hits.  He put up almost identical offense with that time (including PP time that Finger didn't see at all), and he was actually way worse defensively.

    The only reason anyone would take on Finger is if someone like Cogliano is coming with him, as well as maybe a pick (2nd or 3rd), and they are also able to get rid of their own salary dump.  Of course to a team like LA, or Dallas, Souray could have value in terms of being able to turn his career around – you know his potential is much higher than Finger's.  But still, the NTC and trade request kill all his value.  He has negative value for sure, and yet they have to move him.

  34. cam7777 says:

    Their fan base is really clamoring for a puck-moving defensemen.  They aren't doing a complete rebuild, it just so happens that they have a ton of young forwards.  Dallas isnt a team that can afford a complete 3-5 year rebuild.  It's crippled their ownership that they've missed the playoffs just two years in a row.  All the word out of Dallas is that they believe a puck-mover would really elevat their game.  If they move Neal, does Kaberle not make Richards, Eriksson, Benn, Glennie, Morrow and Ribeiro a very formidable top six?  Would they even miss Neal with that group being fed by Kaberle's sweet passes?

    Of course, they'd probably rather trade Morrow from an organizational standpoint, but it's just their market that won't allow them to do this.  I've read that the fans their basically only respond to 'name' players.  They gave Morrow the 'C' so he could replace Modano as the guy the fans know and relate with.  The guy literally goes door to door selling season tickets in that market.   Modano retiring, Turco being let go, and Morrow traded would be financial suicde for the club.

    So instead, they'll likely trade Neal for someone that makes the group they have better.  Neuwyndyk loves Kaberle, and has a sentimental attachment to him from their playing days together.  I'm pretty sure he thinks very highly of him – as most that actually play with him do.  Let's just say it's not a surprize that Paul Maurice and Carolina are one of the teams rumored to be very interested in Tomas.  After that, they'll probably try and move Ribeiro for a cheaper center in order to get under their self-imposed cap.

  35. albertateams says:
    Souray still has talent and value to the right team, Edmonton isn't going to get anything back in return for the reasons you mentioned but they by no means have to take on a contract like Fingers to move him. Also even if you consider Souray and Finger a wash why would you move the 2nd rounder from Nsh and Cogliano for Grabovski and Stefanovich, Edmonton wants picks and prospects not an inconsistent small center and mid level prospect. Its a lateral move that costs more salary. 
    San Jose doesn't have their 6th round pick. It went to Ottawa.
  36. albertateams says:
    I am actually living in Dallas right now. The ownership situation needs to be resolved but the fan base is actually really supportive, they know the team is rebuilding. 
    They could easily give Robidas the "C".
    Kaberle makes the team better short term but I don't see long term how he fits in. I'm not saying they are going into a long term rebuild. I think they want to look at 2 years out.
    I'm not denying Kaberle's value but to a team that is contending a Boston,Philly,Chicago,Detroit etc. Dallas with or without Kaberle doesn't make Dallas a playoff team let alone a stanley cup contender.

    So you think they trade Neal for Kaberle and then give Kaberle an extension of 5.5-6 to get him to stay, plus sign RFA's and resign Richards. When they are rumored to want to stay under 45 million as a team.  

    If dallas can move two of Richards/Ribero/Morrow for prospects picks and sign a decent d man in free agency for a short term deal 2 to three years they would be much better off. 
  37. cam7777 says:

    See, I don't understand that point about Kaberle not fitting in long-term.  People said the exact same thing about Gonchar, and we all know how that turned out.  He is nearly irreplaceable for the Penguins now.  They have a very hard time winning without him.  Kaberle is the exact same kind of player.  He is under-appreciated because he's played on a shitty team for so long, but with Dallas's top six, he could easily sky-rocket back up the importance chart.

    You just pointed to the financial difficulties involved in trading for Kaberle, but let me turn it around on you – are the Stars going to resign Neal to Eriksson's contract, and still go shopping for a puck-moving defensemen?  Putting a team together is expensive no matter how you look at it.  What I would look at:

    To NYR: Ribeiro, Niskanen
    To DAL: Rozsival, Dubinsky

    To TOR: Neal, 2nd in 2010
    To DAL: Kaberle

    -resign Richards to a 3 year, 21 million dollar extension.

    Eriksson / Richards / Benn
    Morrow / Dubinsky/ Glennie
    S. Ott / Wandell / Sutherby
    Kaberle / Robidas
    Rozsival / Daley
    Skrastins / Grossman


    Lehtonen /

    Fill up the bottom 3 with 500K guys, find a backup goalie, and you have a 48 million dollar team.  Shed some salary at the deadline, and that's pretty close to the 45 million mark.

  38. cam7777 says:

    Any time a big salary player has been moved, bad salary has gone back in return.  Heatley – Cheechoo, McCabe – VanRyn, Giguere – Toskala/Blake, Smyth – Preissing.  No one is going to just take that on.  It's an oppurtunity to dump a contract, and that's really the only benefit. 

    It doesn't really cost more salary; it's actually almost equal:

    Souray (5.4) + Cogliano (1.75 on a resign) = 7.15 million

    Finger (3.5) + Grabovski (2.9) = 6.4 million

    They actually save salary, move an unmoveable contract, move Cogliano for a similar, but further along center, and all it costs them is taking Stefanovich as their 2nd round pick.  But they also get 750K in cap savings, and a defensemen who will play for them, or who can easily be buried in the minors.  A team like Edmonton is really where Finger belongs though, as they have no depth at that position.  After Whitney and Gilbert, it's pretty weak.

  39. cam7777 says:

    And that said, it was just an idea.  I'm not sold on it by any means.

  40. albertateams says:

    If they are going to take on salary I could see it in a trade to LA:

    LA: Souray + draft pick
    Edm: Handzus + Teubert or Hickey

    Handzus only has one year left on his contract so its less of a burden down the road and still allows LA to go after Kovalchuk.

    Why would they want a further along inconsistent small center they have plenty of similar players they are trying to unload. Plus they could still move Cogliano for an additional pick or prospect.

    They want prospects or picks not a 30 year old 3.5 million dollar AHL defenseman, a small inconsistent over paid center, and a marginal prospect. The cap savings really doesn't matter at this point to Edmonton. Next year I actually expect them to be worse than this year. Edmonton could easily sign 2 free agent d man short term better than finger for the same price as finger.

  41. albertateams says:

    You can't compare Dallas to Pittsburgh its not even close to the same situation. I don't see one Malkin, Crosby, or Staal on Dallas. Crosby and Malkin were can't miss prospects. Kaberle is similar to Gonchar the Stars aren't similar to Pittsburgs situation of a few years ago. In fact the stars are closer to the current maple leafs situation only instaed of having there d set they have there forwards set. Would you trade Schenn + for Morrow? No.

    Do your NY trade.

    Trade Morrow to Boston for Wiedman + a pick Prospect.

    Eriksson(4.2) / Richards(7.8) / Benn(.82)
    Neal(3.75) / Dubinsky(1.85)/ Glennie(.875)
    S. Ott(2.95) / Wandell(.95) / Sutherby(.81)

    Wideman(3.875) / Robidas(3.3)
    Rozsival(5) / Daley(2.3)
    Skrastins(1.375) / Grossman(1.2)

    You have about 44 million comitted the difference is you are youger you have additional pick /prospect from the Morrow trade. It still doesn't make Dallas a playoff team in the west but your first two lines are stacked with good young talent. Once ownership is figured out (I hope Cuban), Youa add another pice or two to the backend and you are set to take your shot at the cup in  2-3 years.

    Wideman is by nomeans as good as Kaberle but he is signed to an additional year. Then you don't have to worry about Kaberle wanting 6+ or leaving to go back east as a free agent  and have lost  Neal for nothing.

  42. Leafs_Forever says:

    If I am Brian Burke (and lets face it, we would all love to have his job!) I have five priorities this off season:

    1. Trade Thomas Kaberle for a young, big, fast, top 6 forward.  This is the single most important priority.  We cannot get screwed like we did with Sundin and get nothing back for this assest.  Also, I really don't think we want to resign him.  We have way to much money already tied up on the D.
    2. Sign a top six forward free agent: once again the Sharks are a playoff dissaster so they might not want Patrick Marleau back. I would make a push to sign him.
    3. Sign one or two 3rd or 4th line forwards or try to pry some from other teams looking to dump salary(i.e. Ben Eager is a monster and Chicago's cap number is screwed!!!!): they must be big, physical, fast,  smart players.  The younger the better!
    4. Dumb salary: Finger has to go! Bury him!  Also, assuming we sign Marleau, trade Grabovski for a prospect, pick, pylon, or bag of pucks.
    5. Resign: Kulemin, Primeau, Mitchel, Hanson.
      Do not resign: Wallin (please don't bring this guy back Burke!!), Lundmark, Exelby or Van Ryn.

    The Opening day line up then looks something like this:

    Kadri           Marleau    Kessel
    Stalberg       Bozak       (Kaberle trade)
    Kulemin       Free Agent Signing?    Caputi
    Orr              Mitchell      Eager?? (I just love this guy!)

    Hanson, Sjostrom, Primeau

    Phaneuf     Komisarek
    Beachemin  Schenn
    Gunnarsson   ?Aulie?


    This is my first post on this site, so please be gentle!

  43. Leafs_Forever says:

    Ya, I would agree that Bozak is still not a proven player.

    However, we need to give this guy the second line center role next year to give him the minutes and to let him continue to develop.  If he is not going to be on the top 2 lines, then he needs to play for the Marlies so he can get playing time, and to bulk up.  (he only weighs like 170 pounds and he did great this year.  Imagine how much better he could be if he bulks up to 200 plus pounds!)

    Bozak has the head, heart, hands, and vision.  He just needs more size.

  44. KesselfanLeafs says:

    I could see a few trades going down,
    To Columbus:
    a few prospects, roster player
    To Toronto:


    To Vancouver or Los Angelous:
    To Toronto:

    Filitov don't like columbus management, Kaberle has to leave T.O. anyways,
    what better way but to get filitov and hodgeson or schenn?

    1st: Filitov,Hodgeson/Schenn,Kessel
    2nd: Stalberg,Bozak,Kadri
    3rd: Caputi,Irwin,Hanson
    4th: ?,?,Orr

    1st: Phaneuf,Beauscimene
    2nd: Komisarek,Schenn
    3rd: Gunnarson,Aulie

    Goalie: Monster and Giggy

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