An update on Matt Gilroy, the Leafs' next savior!
Joking of course, but the 24 year-old offensive defenseman, who is undrafted by the NHL, is lighting up the NCAA with 8 goals and 29 points in 36 games played.
Brian Burke has expressed interest the North Bellmore native before.
The way we've drafted, we've got to try and sign as many college free agents as we can," Burke said. "The idea is, sign five and hope two make it." - The Toronto Star
Gilroy, who stands at 6'2 and weighs in at 202 pounds, is said to be a great skater who can play both ends of the rink. Considering his production in the NCAA thus far, I don't see the harm in making him a primary target once July 1st comes swinging. While there will probably be a bidding war for his services, Burke shouldn’t be criticized if he does decide to overpay. Not only do the Leafs have over 8 million in cap space, but young, mobile defensemen don’t exactly grow on trees, so if Burke has to fork over a little more cash, so friggin' be it!
And let's assume Burke does trade Tomas Kaberle and/or Pavel Kubina this summer. The Leafs will have a vacant position on the back-end, one that will allow Gilroy to flourish at the NHL level with plenty of ice-time and powerplay minutes - if he indeed has what it takes.
What does concern me, however, is that Gilroy is a 24 year-old playing with younger players. Most NCAA players are not fully developed, both physically and mentally. Gilroy, at 24, is fully grown, so it can be argued that he has the upper hand, atleast physically, over most of his opposition. It remains to be seen, though, as Gilroy could be successful at the NHL level if he continues to hone his abilities as a two-way defenseman.
Burke is going to be one of the busiest GM's this summer as he attempts to import an influx of young talent to the Leafs. While NHL FA's will be hot commodities, Burke may strike gold if he decides to sign some college players in addition to signing Mike Cammarelli (Yes people, it happened... my imagination told me so, because in imagination land, anything is real!)