I don't believe that Brian Burke and his management team have ever faced as important a time during his tenure as GM of the maple leafs as these next seven days. Tasked with improving his club enough to make the playoffs in the upcoming season, Now more than ever I believe Burke is willing to do whatever it takes to put the buds into the postseason. In addressing where this team needs to improve we will look at the keys areas and potential players who could fill that void. First we will discuss the goaltending situation.
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I like Brian Burke, believe that James Reimer can be a quality NHL goalkeeper, but he has a tendency to struggle with consistency and has a penchant for allowing the week goal. Burke has said that they will like to add a veteran goaltender heading into next season. The leafs will not make the mistake of taking two inexperienced goaltenders into next season
POSSIBILITIES: Roberto Luongo - Headed out of Vancouver, the 10 years remaining on his contract might scare most teams away. Roberto has proven himself to be one of the top goaltenders during regular season play and that is exactly what the leafs need, a goaltender who can be top 10 in the league and get them too the playoffs. His contract would also mean you may be able to acquire him for far less than it would take to secure some of the other available goaltenders
Josh Harding - A UFA on July 1st, Harding has the skills to be a number one goaltenders but has never had an opportunity playing Robin to Nicklas Backstrom's Batman. Has never proven he can handle 50+ starts. Would not cost anything other than the money you would need to commit to him.
Miika Kiprusoff - If Calagry commits to a rebuild and Kipper in made available, he might have the best pedigree and contract situation. He has been one of the most consistent goaltenders in the last 10 years, has been great when his teams have reached the playoffs. His short contract would still allow James Reimer and Ben Scrivens to grow into their roles in the organization and would not block the path for either one of them to become a number one goalie in the near future.
Conclusion - I don't feel that trading for a RFA like Bernier (LA), Lindback (NSH) or even Schneider (VAN) is the answer and none of them are proven No. 1 goalies. An offer sheet to Carey Price would probably be matched by Montreal and Offer sheeting has proven not to be Brian Burke's style. Based on the many glaring needs that exist on this team giving up as little as possible to secure a true number one goalie is incredibly important. Given those stipulations a deal with Vancouver for Roberto Luongo may allow you to acquire your no. 1 without out losing any of your premier assets which you would need to acquire a L1C. Also his rediculous contract might allow a significant salry to go back the other way (Mike Komisarek,Tim Connolly). All this said maybe the reports of Luongo only wanting to play for another 4 or 5 years are true and the leafs could rid themselves of his contract when his play starts to decline if he retires.
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