Inhale.....Exhale......repeat. The next few weeks have the potential to be a highly stressful time for fans of the blue and white. Brian Burke & Co. are expected to be extremely busy as they build towards next Friday's NHL Entry Draft and the start of Free Agency (also known as The Brad Richards Experience) the following weekend. James Mirtle of Globe & Mail fame summed up the situation in yesterday's article on the Buds:
It almost goes without saying that the next 14 days are huge for Brian Burke and the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are trying to avoid missing the playoffs for a seventh straight year this coming season.
To do so, Burke needs to upgrade his roster, likely both at the draft with a deal or two and then in free agency.
The good news is that the Leafs have plenty of cap space (roughly $23-million with three notable restricted free agents still to sign). The bad news is it won't be easy finding top-end talent to spend it on.
I would still put my bet on some kind of a deal to fill the hole on the first line. If Burke waits until July 1st for Richards and misses out again, he'll be in a significantly worse position than if he makes his move earlier. Just remember to not take any rumors you hear or read this week too seriously.
Links after jump...
VLM on Kaba, his time in Toronto, and his exit
I demand 82 shutouts. Blue Chip Prospects slightly more realistic projections
Good news for the young Norwegian and the Leafs as well. MLHS has the scoop
Puckin' Eh has a fantastic little table to help keep track of who owns who's draft picks
Rumored for months. Story from the Hockey News