July 1, 2010
The Leafs, before free agency
By ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency
Tyler Bozak $875,000: He was a first-line centre at the conclusion of his rookie season and, should he continue to develop, may be a legitimate one some day. For now, he is a prospect with some serious upside. Needs to get bigger and stronger and build on last season.
Mike Brown $750,000: Draft-day deal brought Anaheim tough guy, who will be a gritty bottom-six forward not afraid to scrap.
Luca Caputi $585,000: Acquired in the Alexei Ponikarovsky deal, but is a work in progress who needs to make a quick impression or may be forgotten.
Mikhail Grabovski $2,750,000: More flash than finish, you have to wonder if Burke and Wilson are losing patience. Trade bait?
Christian Hanson, RFA: May be destined for more time with the Marlies. Most effective when he goes to the net.
Nazim Kadri $900,000: Leafs badly want their 2009 first-rounder to be fit and fired-up enough to not only make the lineup but have an impactful rookie season.
Phil Kessel $6 million: Will be expected to come to camp fit and ready to build on a 30-goal effort in a limited 2009-10 campaign. One of the most skilled players in the league, especially when he has someone to feed him.
Nikolai Kulemin RFA: Locked in unproductive contract negotiations, Burke doesnít want to overpay for a guy who logged big ice time on a bad team.
Jamie Lundmark, UFA: Included in last yearís team out of training camp, not much to report after that.
John Mitchell, UFA: Burke didnít qualify him because he didnít want to risk arbitration for a body that wouldnít be so hard to replace. Could still return.
Colton Orr, $1 million: A free agent acquisition last year, never afraid to drop íem. Useful in a role crucial to a Burke-built team.
Wayne Primeau UFA: Canít see him coming back.
Jay Rosehill $525,000: Not a defensive liability like other thugs. Bottom-six winger at best.
Fredrik Sjostrom $750,000: Could be the sleeper in the Dion Phaneuf trade. Spirited forechecker and penalty-killer who brings energy.
Kris Versteeg $3.083 million: Acquired late last night from the Blackhawks, heís coming off back-to-back 20-goal seasons and has great speed and hands.
Francois Beauchemin $4.2 million: Settled down to be a much more steady presence on the back end later in the season. A quiet leader who could be a cornerstone on the blueline.
Garnet Exelby UFA: Was a healthy scratch as often as he was in the lineup last year. Likely done.
Jeff Finger $3.5 million: That salary still makes Leafs fans sick. Might that cash be buried in the minors this year?
Carl Gunnarsson $630,000: One day may replace the role of Kaberle in terms of being a D-man with offensive skill. Lots to learn, but showed plenty of promise as a rookie.
Tomas Kaberle $4.25 million: In his last year at that generous salary for a defencemen of his skill, he may also be done as a Leaf. Burke wonít hesitate to move him if the incoming price is right.
Mike Komisarek $6 million: His first season as a Leaf was a nightmare but, with a rebuilt shoulder and a fresh start, expect him to be a much steadier presence than he was in his abbreviated campaign.
Dion Phaneuf $7 million: Newly named captain will have his leadership put to the test as the Leafs need to start strong and avoid the debacle of last October.
Luke Schenn $875,000: A critical third season for the former first-rounder who was solid as a rookie but considerably less so as a sophomore. Perhaps Phaneuf will help bolster his confidence.
Mike Van Ryn, UFA: Hard-luck defenceman announced on Wednesday that he wonít play next season as he recovers from knee surgery.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere $7 million: Proved to be a great mentor for the Monster with the added bonus of playing as he did in his heyday.
Jonas Gustavsson, $1.35 million: Remarkable rookie season considering he had two minor heart surgeries and carried a huge workload because of the ineptitude of Vesa Toskala. It will be interesting to see how he progresses in Year 2.