Editor's Note: Fleet Fox takes a look at the UFAs and RFAs on the Marlies and wonders what Brian Burke should be doing about filling out the AHL roster. Where do the Leafs strike a balance between getting prospects development time and giving those on the roster helpful veteran leadership? Share your thoughts after the jump.
I'll admit, I'm one of the first to get all dreamy-eyed at the thought of Burke's blustery I'm-going-to-spend-right-up-to-the-cap talk, thinking of Rick Nashes and a pair of Sedins that might settle for less to come here together. But the truth is, there is a much less sexy problem that we need to consider. You know, the kind of problem that flosses in bed.
According to nhlscap.com, of the 28 players currently on the Marlies payroll, 8 are UFA's for next year, another 5 are some other kind of UFA, and another 7 are RFA's. Admittedly, these figures are excluding Hanson, Bozak, and Slaney (and other prospects that will join the Marlies next season), but this leaves us with 8 players (11 including the newbies) under contract in the minors - what are we going to do with the rest of them?
Mark Bell: HOORAY! HE'S OUT OF OUR HAAAAIR! It's a musical. Yes, the Rangers picked him up, but since it was off waivers, we're still on the hook for some of that moolah. Glad to have him off the books next year.
Bates Battaglia: He's been a serviceable roster plug at the NHL level, and kept the Marlies in the playoff hunt.
Josef Boumedienne: Is already playing in Finland, so nuts to him.
Kris Newbury: A sparkplug on a team of plugs. Meh, we don't have many other scrappers, might as well hang on to him.
Benjamin Ondrus: Remember when there was hope that this guy could contribute in the NHL? No? We can probably afford to lose him. His place can be filled by other up-and-comings.
Jamie Heward: He's one of those guys we took in the salary dump that backfired. He's too concussed to do anything.
Derrick Walser: Has already fecked off and joined the KHL. Did anyone else even hear about it?
UFA, VI (How this is different from a normal Group 6 unrestricted free agent, I don't know.) Editor's Note: "A player 25 years or older who has played three or more professional seasons and played fewer than 80 NHL games."
Jamie Sifers: Twenty-six years old, and not going to crack the Leafs' lineup. But hey, we've got to keep someone, right? Hm, maybe.
Erik Reitz: Who?? HockeyDB doesn't even have this guy. Lose him.
Jeremy Williams: Someone's got to put the puck in the net for the Marlies, and next year, it won't be Tlusty.
Andre Deveaux: Played 21 games with the Leafs this past year and had 1 assist, 75 penalty minutes. That's a role player. Probably a cheap keeper.
Ryan Hamilton: At 24, he's relatively young. Gotta keep him around another year or two.
Andy Rogers: He's another one of those TB salary dump players. He's unlikely to recover from his injuries enough to be of real use.
Tim Stapleton: Another career AHLer who will hopefully be responsible for a lot of the goal-scoring for the Marlies next year. He's also a half-useful plug for an NHL roster.
Justin Pogge: Sigh. What can I say? Sign him for a couple more years, I guess.
Alex Foster: He's probably worth a shot for another season or two.
Darryl Boyce: Meh. I think we can let this one go.
Brent Aubin: Is 23, and still has a little bit of potential. Keep him.