Burke, Moore closing in on a deal?

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    Speculation abounds that the Toronto Maple Leafs are continuing their efforts to re-sign Dominic Moore to a reasonable contract extension.   The talks are expected to continue well into this afternoon and evening.

    Per TSN:

    Sources tell TSN the Toronto Maple Leafs will resume discussions this morning in an effort to resign forward Dominic Moore.

    [...]

    The Maple Leafs [counter-offer] is unacceptable to Moore’s camp, so Tuesday morning’s negotiations could be the final round before Toronto’s general manager, Brian Burke officially puts Dominic Moore on the trade market.

    Whether or not a dollar figure acceptable to both sides can be reached remains to be seen.  Brian Burke wants Moore to remain a Leaf, but not at the 2.5 – 3 million he is reportedly requesting.

    Although Dominic Moore has had a career season (12-29-41, -1, 63 games), he simply does not project long-term as a second-line centre/winger in the NHL.   He is ideally suited as a third line centre/winger, and top penalty-killer, who can play a solid two-way game and fill in on the second line and powerplay as required.   To Burke, 3 million dollars is simply too much to pay a third line player, unless that player has scoring line potential down the road.  And clearly Burke does not envision Moore to be such a player.

    If the two sides can come to some sort of a hometown discount (1.5m to 2m), expect Moore to be re-signed.  If not, he will be trade bait come Wednesday.   To his credit, he sounds open to the possibility of taking a discount to stay.

    Per the Toronto Star:

    “The way it stands, we went back to them with an offer that we thought was well below what we guessed we’d be looking at on the open market and that would be in an effort to show that I’d love to remain a Leaf and I’d love to work with coach (Ron) Wilson in the future,” Moore said yesterday.

    When asked if he’d term his offer a “hometown discount,” Moore agreed.

    “You can describe it as that,” he said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity and I’ve said all along how much I’ve enjoyed, and take pride in, playing for Toronto. So that’s something I’m prepared to do, offer a hometown discount.”

    While a lot of fans would like to see Moore dealt and then re-signed in the summer, don’t expect to see it happen.   Many expect Moore to receive offers in the 3 million/season range on the open market, and if Burke won’t pay that amount now, then why would he this summer?   And if Moore’s version of a hometown discount (believed to be in the 2m – 2.5m range) is too steep a price for Burke, why would Moore lower it any more when he could make millions more on the open market?  Approaching 30, he will never receive an opportunity to make as much money in his career again — and he knows it.

    Certainly, these negotiations bear monitoring as the result will have an undeniable impact on the Leafs‘ actions at tomorrow’s trade deadline.   Many teams on the cusp of a playoff run could use a character player such as Moore to solidify their penalty-killing and shutdown lines, and to win the key faceoffs.   A late 2nd round pick is a definite possiblity, in terms of the potential return.

    Personally I would like to see Moore re-sign, due to his leadership and his versatility.   It is difficult to find forwards who are as comfortable on the wing as they are at centre, or as comfortable in a checking role as a scoring role.   His true value lies in his adaptability, and willingness to play multiple roles in any given game.

    Those are my thoughts … what are yours?  Should Moore be re-signed?  For how much?   Or should he be traded, and for what value?

    No matter what happens here, there will be no shortage of storylines in Leafland on Wednesday.

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