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Who The Leafs May Target This Upcoming Summer

by: AnthonyP On  Friday, March 20, 2009

Total Pro Sports – I have no idea who Brian Burke likes in the NHL or who he may be targeting, but we can always, as writers, give educated guesses. So based on some of my knowledge as to what Burke likes (Good hard working Canadians, a chippy team as well as a shut down forward line) Here are a few players I believe he will target when July 1st roles around.

Mike Cammalleri

Currently playing for the Calgary Flames after an off-season trade from Los Angeles, Cammalleri is enjoying a great season out in Cattle country. Averaging over a point a game this season,  it seems at the age of 26 Cammalleri is showing he can be a top player in the NHL.

He would be the first or second line center on the leafs and immediately would improve the team offensively. There are many reasons why this would work and it makes me believe if there is any free agent out there who is coming to the leafs it’s Cammalleri. Firstly, the Calgary Flames will be unable to sign him after this year after acquiring Olli Jokinen. Jokinen’s contract is for over 5 million next year, and if you include the contracts of Iginla, Pheneuf and Kipprusoff there is no way he is staying there. He is also from the Toronto area and most players from the area love coming back home to play (Lindros, Roberts, Nieuwendyk and Cujo to name a few) The difference difference is that he would be coming in his prime when the Leafs are looking for a local guy to lead this team, an opportunity I think he would relish. On top of that he played many years for the Los Angeles Kings so Brian Burke, from his days in Anahiem, knows him well.

The only way I don’t see this happening is if a Southern United States team overpays for him to appease fans such as teams last year did for players such as Ron Hainsey in Atlanta and Mike Commodore in Columbus. With the sagging economy and the persistent rumors that teams in the United States are struggling to stay afloat further declines the changes of this happening. Look to see Cammalleri in Toronto next year.

Francois Beauchemin

Currently a defensemen for the Ducks, one of Brian Burke’s first moves as General Manager of Anahiem was acquiring Beauchemin. He’s a tough defensemen who clears the front of the net and isn’t scared to take the body, he’s a player the Leafs would love to have. Although Defence is Toronto’s strong point, Adding Beauchemin would allow the Leafs the oppertunity to trade one of their more valuable defensemen in Tomas Kaberle, Pavel Kubina or even Ian White. Ideally the guy to move would be Kubina, but his contract will be very difficult to move to another team. White might be the guy to go as he is valuable right now. I do not want to see him leave but a top 6 defence pairing of this.

  • Kaberle/Schenn
  • Kubina/White or Van Ryn
  • Finger/Beauchemin

These defensive pairings for me, would mark one of the strongest 1 through 6 in the NHL. Adding Frogren and Stralman as the 7th and 8th guys, would make this fairly injury proof. I’d much rather see Kubina or Van Ryn gone instead of White, but with White we can get value in return, such as a solid forward. Adding Beauchemin in my opinion is worth it, and I expect Burke to definitely have interest.

Samuel Pahlsson

Another favourite of Brian Burke, he is also a free agent this summer. Palhsson brings grit, defensive intensity and a solid locker room presence to the table. Although the Leafs pretty much have 3 full lines of 3rd and 4th liners at the moment, Burke wants to make this his team, and he will get who he wants in those positions and trade who he doesn’t want.  Palhsson could help bring what Kirk Maltby and Kris Draper have brought to the Red Wings. A shut down pairing who works well on the Penalty Kill. As we know, the Red Wings aren’t a bad team to emulate.

Johan Franzen

Not sure on this one, but he seems to be the type of guy Burke likes, not afraid of the corners, goes to the net and drives goalies mad, and great for the power-play. I highly doubt Franzen leaves, even with the cap problems Detroit has, but if he becomes available, look for the Leafs to be interested.

Travis Moen

Another Burke favourite from their days in California, I very much believe Burke will go and get either Pahlsson or Moen, perhaps both.

Brian Gionta

After a 48 goal campaign in 2005-2006 Gionta has regressed badly. He’s almost become a reclamation project but the Leafs would be wise to at least take a look. Putting him on a line with Cammalleri would form a very fast 1-2 punch and could reignite his scoring prowess. With the market down and his numbers getting lower, he will not be able to command the salary he desires. What the leafs need in the first two lines is skill, Gionta has it, you don’t score 48 goals in a season and not have skill, especially when your playing in New Jersey.  He’s still young having just turned 30 and could be a nice pick up.

Daniel and Henrik Sedin

I highly doubt this as I feel they will both resign in Vancouver. I also think they are grossly overrated, but you cannot deny that back when they were drafted, then GM of the Vancouver Canucks Brian Burke did everything he could to get them both in Vancouver. Well they will both be free agents this summer, and Burke has the money to get them both. Time will tell if he goes after them.

As well as discussing potential Maple Leafs who could be coming this way, lets quickly discuss who I think will be gone from this year’s team.

Jamal Mayers

Cliff Fletcher did some good things while General Manager of the Leafs, this wasn’t one of them. Mayers won’t be back

Alexei Ponikarovsky

Spelled his name right on the first try, pretty happy with myself. He’s been way to inconsistent during his career in Toronto

Matt Stajan

This one I could see him staying, but I feel like he’s the classic case of getting points on a bad team, along the lines of Dominic Moore. I would be very happy seeing him go, He’s a third line player and with his good season this year, will command more than a 3rd line salary.

Lee Stempniak

In 52 games with the Leafs he has 26 points which Simply isn’t good enough. He still has a year on his contract so he could be stuck here, but I see Burke finding a home for him somehow.

Curtis Joseph

Thanks for the memories Cujo and the late season decent play. He is now talking about coming back next year, but hopefully he chooses retirement.

Pavel Kubina

I sincerely believe Burke will be able to find him a home this summer. Although he still has two years left on his contract at 5 million a season, he’s a very productive defensemen who contributes at both ends of the ice. The Leafs need to pounce on teams that are in the running for Jay Bowmeester but don’t sign him, Kubina could be the quick fix teams covet. Most likely we will have to take back salary, as we did in the McCabe trade, it may still be worth it. San Jose was interested last trade deadline, and could be again this year. They are one team who is still doing well in this economic time period, and a long playoff run will ensure they have the means to take on his contract.

These are just a few things I think the Leafs and GM Brian Burke have planned for the off-season.




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