Will Brian Burke Land That Top Six Forward For The Leafs?

With summer on the cusp of fall Brian Burke has had a busy summer. His spring was pretty busy too, reaping rewards from the College system. Looking through the roster as it stands, or may stand, when October rolls around, the first two lines may look like this:

Kulemin - Grabovski - Hagman/Ponikarovsky

Blake - Mitchell/Stajan - Stempniak

One thing the Leafs are not short of are options. Those options, though, have only four players scoring 20 goals or more. Those options max out at 25 goals for Jason Blake. Jason Blake isn't defensively responsible enough to play top line minutes, although his -2 wasn't the end of the world. Burke is taking a huge chance that one of Mitchell or Grabovski can play against other teams' best players and still produce offense(not that I am on the Mitchell-is-a-solid-two-way-player train).

This brings me to the title of this installment; Will Brian Burke Land That Top Six Forward For The Leafs? What options are out there? From the free agent pool:

Maxim Afinogenov at 29 made $3,500,000 in 2009

Alex Tanguay at 29 made $5,375,000 in 2009

Mike Comrie at 28 made $4,000,000 in 2009

Not a really thick crop. Comrie is a center and we're thick with those. Also Comrie doesn't have a great team player reputation. Jason Blake would have to pummel him in practice.

Trade possibilities are, of course, endless. But what makes a trade make sense? Not losing any prospects or picks, getting a young player that can produce offensively in the next 2 to 3 years and maybe having to pick up some salary in the process. I went through all the wings in the league on NHL.COM and didn't see any players that I would personally fawn over. Obviously the rumors abound and it will be interesting to see what Burke does, especially now that Tomas Kaberle can no longer be traded. I think the roster will get October and the better part of November to find itself before Burke starts looking at what is available on the market for wingers. Here's hoping we get that one piece that gets the Leafs over 93 points this season. Yes, I am that optimistic.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Stempniak's not top6, Bozak is.