We were not sure what direction the Maple Leafs would be heading entering today’s free agency period. To some degree, we still don’t.
The team appears to be trying to build some depth back up while bringing in some veterans to help develop and mentor their young kids. As has been noted here before, this team had the worst bottom six in the League last season and they have taken some steps already to try and improve it, so that in and of itself could stand to notably improve the team. But there is still a lot of work to be done.
As of right now, players out from last season officially include:
- Mason Raymond (Calgary)
- Dave Bolland (Florida)
- Carl Gunnarsson (St. Louis)
- Jerry D’Amigo (Columbus)
- Tim Gleason (buyout)
- Drew MacIntyre (Carolina)
- Paul Ranger
- Nikolai Kulemin (interestingly, Pittsburgh appears out of the running on him)
- Troy Bodie
- Trevor Smith
- Jerred Smithson
- Roman Polak
- Stephane Robidas
- Matt Frattin
- Leo Komarov
We’ll wait for the pieces to settle in a little more before we digest it all properly, but here is an updated look at the Leafs depth chart for where they currently stand:
Maple Leafs Forwards Depth Chart
Maple Leafs Defence Depth Chart
- The Leafs have talked about moving Dion Phaneuf back to the left side, and as you can see by the depth chart it might make some sense to do so, logistically. That said, he was bad on the left side and looked uncomfortable. He was playing with Mike Kostka and Korbinian Holzer while doing it so take it with a grain of salt, but regardless of linemates he was getting beat wide off the rush regularly while on the left. There would be an adjustment period if he switched over.
- Cody Franson was the player the Leafs were going to exchange for Josh Gorges, so there is every reason to believe he is still on the move. That means he is worth at least a second round pick. It will be interesting to see if they keep him, flip him for a pick, a forward, or a defenseman.
Cody Franson was TOR player going to MTL for Gorges. Would have think he's still in play with TOR acquisition of Polak and Robidas.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 1, 2014
- Dave Nonis clearly needs to upgrade the C position still. It would be a surprise if they didn’t bring anyone in, and I expect it to happen eventually, but the question is who? They tried to get Brian Boyle, and they tried to retain Dave Bolland. Aaron Ward linked them to David Legwand earlier and he would make sense. There aren’t a lot of great C options still out there. Maybe Mike Santorelli would be mildly intriguing.
- On that note, I wonder if they give Leo Komarov a look at C. He played it a bit down the stretch for the Leafs previously and looked good there. He’s played C on and off throughout his career. Komarov has a pricey contract, but he brings a lot to the table and appears to have some untapped offensive upside (he led his KHL team in scoring). He has to improve the PK, too, for the kind of money he’s making.
- Nonis has been pretty vocal about James Reimer probably coming back. Hopefully it happens for cheap. Bernier-Reimer is still one of the best goalie tandems in the league and Bernier is going to see a lot of shots next year even if the team is mildly improved as is.
- Stephane Robidas is a hang of a player. A three year contract at 37 years old is rough to look at, but there is no questioning his abilities. If he stays healthy he makes the defense a lot better.
- Nice to have Matt Frattin back; I think he’s a reasonable contributor, can forecheck, play both wings, and has some scoring touch. Bitter to give up D’Amigo, who is an excellent penalty killer and all-out hustle player. Frattin has had a lot of off-ice problems, but there is no questioning of his on-ice abilities as he’s fast, has a cannon, strong, and has very good hand-eye coordination. Hopefully he puts it together finally.
- It is interesting that the Leafs essentially decided to keep Carter Ashton instead of Jerry D’Amigo. I liked both, but in the back of my mind there was only going to be room for one. Ashton is bigger and more physical, D’Amigo is better on the penalty kill. Ashton has been a .54PPG scorer in the AHL, while D’Amigo scored a .49PPG clip. They are the same age. I think Ashton is more suited to play a fourth line role, but losing a potentially good penalty killer bites when you consider how bad the Leafs penalty kill is.
- The Leafs continue to bring up Petter Granberg’s name in press conferences, as Nonis again did today. It appears that he has the inside track on a roster spot for next season.
- I wonder if David Clarkson gets another shot in the top 6. He’s making a lot of money and won’t have a chance to even come close to justifying it playing on the third line unless it’s a sheltered third line.
- Leafs dodged a bullet in Dave Bolland, wasn’t a fan of Mason Raymond’s game, and had to buyout Tim Gleason. I think this has been a reasonably okay day for the Leafs so far. The defense is shaping up okay, but again, they still need center help badly.
- Figuring out what happens with Cody Franson and bringing in a center (maybe they are one in the same) appear to be the next steps. This is still an incomplete roster, so we can’t fully judge it yet.