FanPost

Why Brian Burke should unplug his phone after the draft

I know.  Wha?  Where’s he going with this?  Well, lemme splain.

 

 

The 2010 UFA market is a rich, deep pool of absolute shit with a few sprinkles on top that make it look presentable.  Here’s a list of the top free agents, courtesy of capgeek.  Now, let’s weed out players over the age of 33 as well as goalies, as they would be unlikely targets for a rebuilding club such as the Leafs.  You’re left with this steaming pile of poo:

NAME

TEAM

CAP HIT

POS

Ilya Kovalchuk

New Jersey Devils

$6,389,300

F

Patrick Marleau

San Jose Sharks

$6,300,000

F

Olli Jokinen

New York Rangers

$5,250,000

F

Pavel Kubina

Atlanta Thrashers

$5,000,000

D

Paul Martin

New Jersey Devils

$3,833,333

D

Brett Clark

Colorado Avalanche

$3,500,000

D

Willie Mitchell

Vancouver Canucks

$3,500,000

D

Derek Morris

Phoenix Coyotes

$3,300,000

D

Alexander Frolov

Los Angeles Kings

$2,900,000

F

Mike Van Ryn

Toronto Maple Leafs

$2,900,000

D

Toni Lydman

Buffalo Sabres

$2,875,000

D

Matt Cullen

Ottawa Senators

$2,875,000

F

Tomas Plekanec

Montreal Canadiens

$2,750,000

F

Henrik Tallinder

Buffalo Sabres

$2,562,500

D

Brian Pothier

Carolina Hurricanes

$2,500,000

D

Fernando Pisani

Edmonton Oilers

$2,500,000

F

Anton Volchenkov

Ottawa Senators

$2,500,000

D

Lee Stempniak

Phoenix Coyotes

$2,500,000

F

Alex Tanguay

Tampa Bay Lightning

$2,500,000

F

Colby Armstrong

Atlanta Thrashers

$2,400,000

F

Dennis Seidenberg

Boston Bruins

$2,250,000

D

Raffi Torres

Buffalo Sabres

$2,250,000

F

Christopher Higgins*

Calgary Flames

$2,250,000

F

Alexei Ponikarovsky

Pittsburgh Penguins

$2,105,000

F

Marek Svatos

Colorado Avalanche

$2,050,000

F

Dan Hamhuis

Nashville Predators

$2,000,000

D

Mark Eaton

Pittsburgh Penguins

$2,000,000

D

Shaone Morrisonn

Washington Capitals

$1,975,000

D

Matthew Lombardi

Phoenix Coyotes

$1,816,666

F

Ruslan Fedotenko

Pittsburgh Penguins

$1,800,000

F

Jordan Leopold

Pittsburgh Penguins

$1,750,000

D

Eric Belanger

Washington Capitals

$1,750,000

F

Paul Mara

Montreal Canadiens

$1,675,000

D

*Chris Higgins not applicable to pile of poo reference.

Beyond Kovalchuk and Marleau, both of whom have well documented drawbacks, this list isn’t very impressive.  What Toronto lacks are impact players.  You are unlikely to find more than a handful in this year’s free agent market.  But we’ll comeback to the UFAs.

I think the best way to describe how I feel about the Leafs right now is that I have no clue what they’ve actually got.  Is Kessel a 40+ goal scorer?  Is Giguere or Gustavsson or Reimer (etc, etc) the long term solution in net?  Is Phaneuf a perennial all-star defenseman?  Will Stalberg, Kulemin, Caputi, or Kadri cement themselves as top-six forwards?  Is Bozak a number one center?  I’m not sure that you can name a player on the Leafs that doesn’t have questions surrounding his value (well, maybe Orr).

Until the Leafs actually figure out what they have, I’m not sure it’s a smart move to start dipping into the free agent market.  In the age of the salary cap, that could come back to haunt them for years.  But it’s not just the free agent market Burke should neglect.  Unless he gets an out of this world offer that’s too good to pass up (go look at HF boards, there are plenty), he should forget about trades as well.  Is there the type of player out there that fits the blueprint of this team?  Sure.  Are they available?  Probably not.   And at what cost?  I’m sure the staff would love to get Ryan or Neal or Backes.  But if it meant giving up Kulemin or Kadri or Bozak, I’m not sold it would be the best move.  Until the team has a better understanding of what each of those players brings, I don’t know if you can justify giving them up.  Burke had seen enough of Tlusty to move him to the Canes.  Has he been able to do the same with the rest of the young group?  I don’t claim to speak for Brian Burke, but I would guess "no".

Should a deal go down,  we may find down the line that it only turned out to be a lateral move, certainly one with cap implications.  My advice is that we stay the course.  Build on the progress made in the last quarter of this year, and figure out exactly what this team has in terms of talent.  Then, make your moves.

 

What are your thoughts?  Do you guys think Burke should be aggressive this summer or should he sit back and assess?

PensionPlanPuppets.com is a fan community that allows members to post their own thoughts and opinions on the Toronto Maple Leafs and hockey in general. These views and thoughts may not be shared by the editor of PensionPlanPuppets.com.

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