Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A non-Brad Richards Leaf post

In an interview on Sportsnet 590 radio, Brian Burke talked about his approach to free agency.

He will be looking for a #1 centerman, so long as the price is reasonable.
He does not have as much pressure to look for a D-man now that Liles is on board.
He will be looking at players to beef up the bottom six.

It's this last point that caught my attention. We all love a superstar signing, but fact remains that success comes to teams that have a complete line-up. Toronto had some very good bottom six players last year that are bound to return, but Tim Brent, Joey Crabb Daryl Boyce and Rosehill are all at risk of losing their job to a UFA signing and so they should be. Hanson wasn't qualified and Caputi looks to be on the bubble, which tells me some experienced muscle could be on the way.

Here are three truculent players Burke could be talking to come July 1st:

BEN EAGER: He's huge, he's mean and he has a cup ring. Put him on the left wing opposite Orr or Army and you have the makings of a devastating punish line. He was also a +4 last year in Atlanta and threw down 7 goals in less than 70 games just for good luck.

CAM JANSSEN: Now before you vomit at the mention of his name, this guy is a beast. He stands tall against much bigger opponents, pisses off everybody on the away bench and while he's on the ice for 6 minutes everybody knows it. I hate him, which is why I would have to consider signing him. Toronto need to get a bit more scary, he would help that along.

TANNER GLASS: He's young, he has size, and he fits the bill as far as adding some fear-factor to the bottom six. My friends in Vancouver are scratching their heads wondering why he hasn't been resigned and Lapierre has been... I think he might fit in well in Toronto.

Obviously I've stuck mostly to muscle here, there are a lot of guys available who could provide scoring in the bottom six, or straight up veteran players who would help add some personality and experience to the Leafs. Michael Ryder is a UFA. Ville Leino is a UFA. Lots of guys who could toggle between the upper and lower lines, although my feeling is Toronto will leave these roles to some of the kids.

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