Free agency opens tomorrow and it will prove to be a big day for the Leafs.
After a boring NHL Entry Draft, where the team selected just 3 players and stayed away from the trading game (of which there were many) due to lack of trade capital, they are now in a situation where they need to plug the holes in their roster with free agents. It should be noted that the team has just 3 picks (1st, 2nd, 7th) in NEXT year’s draft as well, so they are unlikely to make big trades this offseason to acquire players if they fail to add them over the next few days.
As for the roster spots that need to be filled, the biggest appear to be a backup goaltender and a winger that can play within the teams top 6 forwards.
That’s based on what we have heard from Kyle Dubas. Personally, I’d concentrate on a legitimate 3C, which would allow Alex Kerfoot to shift to LW and play within the top 6. It’s centre depth that drives teams to the next level, and while I am a fan of what Kerfoot brings to the table, a more effective checking centre would certainly give me more hope for this team moving forward. It would also create a situation where Kerfoot could move back to the middle if another unfortunate injury befell one of the teams centres, thus avoiding a 3rd line being manned by 4th line players, like we saw in the teams playoff series against the Canadiens.
A few notes:
Bringing back Foligno would be terrific in my opinion. He’s a great leader and still has some game left. Injuries derailed his time in Toronto and, like Kerfoot, he’s a very versatile forward that can play all 3 forward positions. He also helps the team’s penalty kill and 2nd powerplay unit. If the number is right I’d love to see him back on a 2-3 year deal.
Petr Mrazek and Jack Campbell would make for a terrific goalie tandem in my opinion. Hopefully the Leafs can land this guy. Other options include Linus Ullmark, Jaroslav Halak, Jonathan Bernier, Laurent Brossoit and Antti Raanta.
There’s also rumours that Toronto is interested in trading for Darcy Kuemper, however, I’m not sure they should be giving up very many assets at the moment, so this shouldn’t be an option unless they strike out on all of the UFA goalies that are about to become available.
Lastly there is this:
I think the guy that leaked all of Seattle’s picks ahead of the expansion draft has it wrong on this one. Kyle Dubas himself said that they were going to look for a depth defender that can play with power (example: Zach Bogosian), and Tony DeAngelo is far from that type of player. He also mentioned Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren as players that could use a chance in the lineup, so expect them to see time this year on the blueline, while Joey Anderson is no long waiver exempt, so he should at least be penciled into the teams lineup on opening night.
Good luck tomorrow Kyle, your future as GM of the Leafs may depend on it.
GO LEAFS GO!!