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:
-Steve Downie (RFA)
-Chris Stewart (RFA)
-Wojtek Wolski (RFA)
-Sam Gagner (RFA)
Here are a few likely UFA’s
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?