Latest on the Maple Leafs – May 17, 2013.

It could be a busy off-season for the Maple Leafs. Read on for the latest.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL/TORONTO STAR: At yesterday’s season-ending press conference, Toronto Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis praised his club’s performance this season but suggested changes could be in the offing this summer. He singled out Phil Kessel for praise, but wouldn’t say if he would open contract talks with the winger, who next summer becomes eligible for UFA status. Nonis only said there’s no urgency to get Kessel re-signed at this point. As for Tyler Bozak, who is eligible for UFA status this summer, Nonis would only say if there’s a deal which make sense for the Leafs, they’ll re-sign him. Nonis also said at this point he expects James Reimer will be the club’s starter next season.

Will the Leafs re-sign Tyler Bozak?

Will the Leafs re-sign Tyler Bozak?

James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail believes Nonis could try to land another top-four defenseman though it won’t be easy given the lack of depth in this summer’s UFA market. Mirtle also believes if they add in goal, it’ll be at the backup position. If Nonis doesn’t re-sign Bozak, possible free agent options include “Derek Roy, Stephen Weiss, Valtteri Filppula, Mike Ribeiro and Matt Cullen.” It’s widely assume Nonis will use one of his two compliance buyouts on Mike Komisarek, but it remains to be seen where he’ll use his second.

TORONTO STAR/TORONTO SUN: the Leafs would like to re-sign Tyler Bozak, but at their price, not his. Bozak is keen to re-sign, but he would have to accept a “hometown discount” to do so.

TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons believes the Maple Leafs lost their series to Boston in the faceoff circle, and believes they should consider improvement at center, suggesting Florida’s Stephen Weiss if they don’t re-sign Tyler Bozak. “The odds are, the Leafs will sign Bozak and trade Grabovski and work someone else in as a third-line centre”, writes Simmons.

VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Jason Botchford doubts the Leafs will revisit their previous interest in Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nonis will keep an eye on the trade and free agent markets, especially with the declining salary cap forcing some cap-strapped teams to dump salary. The TSN panel believe the Leafs could target New Jersey Devils winger David Clarkson, but adding him won’t address their needs for depth at center and for another top-four blueliner. Indeed, if they don’t re-sign Bozak, they’ll have to shop around for a replacement. I agree with Mirtle that the Leafs could seek an experienced backup rather than a full-time starter. Reimer’s earned the job. As for Luongo, that ship has sailed. I also don’t put any stock into talk of the Leafs moving Phil Kessel.


  1. I disagree on the Clarkson comment. The Leafs wingers aren’t very deep either. They have highly skilled wingers and mediocre depth for a Carlyle-type system. They need more 3rd to 4th line wingers with size who can also score 15-20 goals a season. A guy like that would be a welcome replacement for a guy like MacArthur.

    • i dont disagree with you but i think the leafs will be more interested in seeing if one of their young players could make the jump. i hope we buy out komi and grabo. not because i dont like him (grabo) but the flexability it would give us would be huge

  2. I agree with the Kessel comment, he’s done well the last couple of years playing better than I thought he ever would. If the leafs trade him, they would be hard pressed to find a suitable replacement.

  3. Every day these reporters say just about the same thing, their team needs a top 4 D-man and / or a big
    #1 line center. Face it, not many of these laying around and teams seem to way over paying when one becomes available. Quality top 4 D-men especially seem hard to get. Just my opinion but I think that some of these GM’s have to change the way they think. When I think of a top 4 D-man it is someone who can play physical and also have some offensive skills (skating the puck or passing the puck out of the D-zone), someone who eats up minutes, can play on power play or also kill penalties, someone who you would trust playing the last minute in a game if one goal ahead and someone who you would play in last minute of game if one goal behind. Would seem to be more cost effective to pair up a offensive D-man with a physical
    D-man and not way overpay for that one guy who does it “ALL” and is really hard to get, anyway.

  4. While I hope the Leafs can land Clarkson, the UFA I would be going hard after is Pascal Dupuis. Watch this guy play, leadership, heart, playoff experience, can play all 3 forward positions anywhere in the top 9, kills penalties, scores 20 goals. Pittsburgh needs the money for Malkin and Letang, I would swoop in and steal this guy. Let MacArthur and his 3+ million go and give it to Dupuis. Another McClement with better offense.

    • Kurt, I agree with you on Dupuis – I think his days are numbered on the Pens and I could see them letting him go in order to resign Malin and Letang. Another one would be Kennedy or Clowe. I think TO needs a strong stay at home D-Man, like Reghr and they need a forward who is not afraid to go in the dirty/hard areas – Clowe?. Ribero would be a good pickup if it is a 3 year deal but I know he is looking at a 4-5 year deal.

    • I have been thinking the same way except with Dupuis landing on Long Island. Pitts in trouble with salaries vs. the cap for the next 2 years. Here’s hoping some teams can snag some of their better talent as they dismantle their roster.

    • i dont disagree, but h would be stupid not to play for pitt,. even for 1.5-2mil per. he is a good defensive player, but his stats are loated from playing with crosby

  5. It’s a tricky situation Toronto’s in.
    On one hand you have Bozak who is the 1st line centre by default, not by skill.
    Grabovski who is a workhorse, but too inconsistent to be paying top $
    Kadri who had a break out year, which begs the question, can he do it again?
    I think Bozak will be re-signed, and Grabovski will be traded. Not sure to whom and for what
    (Nsh? Phx? Dal? Buf?)
    Replacing MacArthur with Clarkson would be an upgrade in my opinion. Clarkson is a proven 20-goal scorer and a hard hitting grinder which is a Carlyle type of guy.
    My issue is with Phaneuf, his minutes are too high and he’s terrible defensively. Nonis should look at getting a solid stay-at home shut down d-man like Regehr to pair up with the heart-attack-inducing Phaneuf.
    Or look to trade Liles or (dare I say?) Phaneuf for that elusive 1st line centre. (Sam Gagner?) They’ll still have offensive d-men (Gardiner & Fransen)
    Goalies, we’re good. Even in the backup role. Leave it alone.

    • Here’s the team I’d like to see:

      Lupul – Gagner (From Edm) – Kessel
      JVR – Kadri – Clarkson
      Frattin – Bozak – Kulemin
      Komarov – McClement – Orr

      Regehr – Phaneuf
      Franson – Fraser
      Gardiner – Gunnarsson

      • And what did you give up to get Gagner? Oilers don’t need draft picks or prospects.
        In a weak free agent pool, Clarkson will probably cost $4M+ per year. Expensive for a 3rd line player.

  6. I think the Leafs can win it on depth on the wings, and I would go after Clarkson.

    #1 – Don’t resign MacArthur, Bozak, Fraser.
    #2 – Buy out Komisarek & Liles
    #3 – Trade Grabovski
    #4 – Resign Franson, Gunnerson, Kadri, Colbourne, Komarov
    #5 – Try to sign Clarkson, Regehr, cheap veteran back up, 3rd line character center
    #6 – Continue to put faith in your young guys

    A Leafs line up that looks like say

    Lupul – Kadri – Kessel
    JVR – Colbourne – Clarkson
    Frattin – Gordan/Lapierre – Kulemin
    Orr – McClement – Komarov

    Regehr – Gardiner
    Phaneuf – Franson
    Gunnerson – Kostka

    I’m not a Leafs fan, but this isn’t a bad line up to have. All of size, speed, talent, and character. Now this would be adding Regehr, Clarkson, and Boyd Gordon or Maxim LaPierre (which if Bozak signed for the right price could also slot in there).

    • If they want to rid themselves of Grabovski they will have to buy him out.

    • Regehr will be re-signing with the Kings, nice try though.

  7. Clarkson is a Toronto boy so it would be nice to see him in a leafs jersey, hope it happens. I also agree that Dupuis would be an exellant signing as well as he plays well anywhere he is slotted.
    Letting MacArthur go wouldn’t hurt the team. And, although he played well seemed lost out there at times Frasor could also be replaced. Resigning him to another one year contract would be okay. Kostka, the same, although he looked more lost than Frasor and made several major gaffs, let him go, he is easily replaced.
    Cough, cough, cough, gakkkkk. Sorry, I have been a leaf fan for MANY years and if the leafs sign Lapierre I will puke for a week. Just the mentioning of his name makes me want to hurl. I would remain a fan but I don’t think I could watch games with Lapierre sewn onto the back of a leafs jersey.
    I would like to see the leafs re-sign Bozak as he has improved each year he has played. Not a first liner yet and may never be but he is useful in other areas. Unfortunately, Grabovski who has been a good soldier doesn’t seem to fit into Carlyles system and should be traded. The problem though is that monster contract which will scare away some suitors. The leafs may have to take someone back with a similar contract, hopefully it is a decent stay at home d-man.
    Buying out Komisarek is a no-brainer, but the leafs may want to hold onto their second one to use next year unless they have to use it to stay cap compliant this year. Liles is a tough choice to buy out because he can remain useful if the leafs don’t add on defense. Yet, his contract is fairly substantial but if the leafs remain under the cap why let him go unless you can trade him for say a third rounder. It may all come down as to Reilly making the team next year.

  8. I”m thinking the unconventional here. Nonis will find a way to get Kessel and Bozak resigned. C Mac, Komisarek are done no matter what and likely JM Liles too is done. Clarkson? Dupuis? Great choices but will they sign here? Grabs is an enigma to them but my guess is the Leafs will try and move him.

    I think Nonis will keep Reimer as #1.but might hunt for a bonafide backup..I think Nonis wants to keep Komarov, Fraser and Kostka too as he likes their attitude as does the coaching staff. I think the Leafs will continue to keep Colton Orr and will search for another true heavyweight just like him as this team has potential and as Colton ages, they will need another heavyweight; especially one who can pot a few as well.

    Make no mistake, Randy C and Nonis are on the same page and as Gretzky said, this team is legit and the word will spread amongst the players that Randy C and Nonis have a good thing going that is Gretzky approved so that can only bode well to encourage premier NHL talent to Toronto.

  9. I agree with most of you guys on a many points. I would love to see Clarkson as a Leaf. I would also like to see the Leafs sign UFA Keith Aulie who the Leafs traded to Tampa for Carter Ashton, or Ashton Carter, whatever his name is, the most lopsided deal Burkie pulled off. He and Phaneuf played some of their best hockey together, and he can be a 6’6″ 240 pound mean streak Randy Carlyle type defenseman. He could pair with Phaneuf, and Gardiner could pair with Gunnarsson. Fraser and Franson stay, they were an awesome 5. 6 pair so bye bye Liles and O’Byrne. That said, I did like Holzer and Kostka, but they may not be physical enough for Randy. As for Morgan Reilly I believe he is 1 to 2 seasons away from being ready for the expectations everyone already has of him. So let him mature and develop.

    Upfront, Kadri has to grab the first or second line centre job. He has to be stronger physically like Stamkos to get the # 1 job, or he has to be better defensively to lock up the # 2 spot. He is not a 3rd line checking centre, so he has to step up when facing top lines, or become trade bait. The Grabo Bozak debate comes down to having to pay either one more than they are worth. Trade Grabo to Anaheim for picks or prospects (if Koivu retires) and let Bozak walk if you cannot find a true #1 centre to replace him.

    I know I am going to get creamed for this one, but I would love to see Jeff Carter as the Leafs top centre. He has been playing wing, but he is that big body the Leafs need, and he can play centre. The issue the Kings have is that they have 14 million dollars available to secure 12 roster players. Penner, Richardson, Regehr and Scuderi are all going to be UFA’s, and Lewis, Clifford, Nolan, Ellerby, Voynov, Martinez, Muzzin and Bernier are all going to be RFA’s. Its a given they may let a few walk, but they will have to resign some of them, and some of them are due for pay raises, or will blow the budget even if they stay the same. Regehr would not likely come north of the border, and would probably prefer to stay with the Kings. Even if he played for half of this years salary its 2 million! He also may not want to play with Phaneuf again either!

    While he has great chemistry with Richards, Carter may be the Kings best bet for a return for the future. With all due respect, especially with the Kings finishing so high the last few years, they would probably appreciate some higher round draft picks or prospects, which the Leafs have, so they can keep the team going full blast.

    So based on that here are my lines. Some size, Some skill, Some grit on the top 3 lines, and an intimidating, agitating, efficient energetic fourth line. Defense has a mix of rub out shut down PK defense and puck moving PP ability.

    Lupul – Carter – Kessel
    JVR –Kadri – Clarkson
    Frattin – Colbourne – Kulemin
    Orr – McClement – Komarov

    Phaneuf – Aulie
    Gunnarson – Gardiner
    Franson – Fraser

  10. I think in order for Kadri to continue to thrive he needs to be shielded from the #1 C slot for another few years. There is not a decent faceoff taking center but Bozak available; I think they’ll resign him. Elias is another name available, not that great in the faceoff circle, but a 1 year deal would be ideall a 2 year deal would probably bring him over. He can play center or wing and we’ve seen how nice that versatility would have been when Bozak went down in the playoffs and the leafs were absolutely demolished in faceoffs.