Sunday, January 31, 2010

When is the rest of the Leaf roster getting traded?

Many Leaf fans have been so fed up over ineptness of the Maple Leafs that they have been suggested that the entire roster get dumped. Well Brian Burke did his best to meet that demand by trading away over 25% of the roster in two deals today.

I had planned to write a post today outlining what the Leafs greatest needs were and who they should deal away. Of course their greatest need is another goalie. That has now been addressed but with with a large cap hit. J.S. Guigere comes with a cap hit of $6 million. That can partially be swallowed by the loss of Jason Blake whose cap hit is $4 million.

I was going to suggest that the Leaf should attempt to move the line of Stajan-Ponikarovsky-Hagman. The first two were to become unrestricted free agents this summer and likely not worth the cost for a team that was deep into a rebuild. As for Hagman, at 30 his best contribution might also come in the form of prospects or draft picks. Only Ponikarovsky remains for now. He too may be moved because it may take $3.5 to $4 million to sign him to a contract. Not sure if he is worth it. A big man that rarely uses his big frame.

The only significant player traded by the Leafs was Ian White who arguably has been their best defenseman over the past two seasons. However, picking up Dion Phaneuf makes White expendable.

As for the numbers, the Leafs moved out $14,933,333 in cap space and received back $13,250,000 so it seems like a wash. However, when you consider only the contracts that don't expire this season, the Leafs moved out only $7 million so they have lost a lot of flexibility for next season. They have 15 players under contract for $48 million. That does not include Jonas Gustavsson, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Nik Kulemin, Garnet Exelby, Wayne Primeau, Mike van Ryn, John Mitchell and Lee Stempniak from their current roster. With a potential salary cap at around $50 million, Burke will need to unload some more contracts. Considering they have 7 defensemen on contract for next season totalling more than half the cap, it shouldn't be shock to see Tomas Kaberle traded during the off season. Hopefully, Jeff Finger as well.