Home HockeyBuzz Register Login
I hate you, Toronto, ON • Canada • 27 Years Old • Male

Who's Getting the Boot?

Posted 6:02 PM ET | Comments 11
So, Brian Burke plans on changing the Toronto Maple Leafs. And he's started already.

Never in the nineteen years of my existence have I been so proud of a Leafs General Manager. No more signings to avoid the inevitable rebuild, no more trading away prospects and draft picks for mediocre/washed-up players, and most importantly, no more of those lame jokes about how old the Leafs' roster is.

The Leafs -- besides Tyler Bozak and Christian Hanson; yeehaaaw -- are not Burke's team. The roster is a combination of John Ferguson Jr., Cliff Fletcher and, oh yeah, MLSE. That's going to change. No more answering to the higher ups. Burke knows what needs to be done, and he's not afraid of hurting some feelings to get it done. Contracts? No-trade clauses? Ha, that ain’t nuthin’ for Burke… or so he says.

"If the guys can't cut it here, we'll send them down," Burke said. "We can buy people out, we can trade people. I don't feel obligated or bound at all by what's under contract for next year. There are going to be some changes for next year." (Toronto Star)

So besides the fact that Burke is clearly a badass, does anyone else think this is the quote of the year? Yes, the YEAR! Think about it, the Leafs, who are in dire need of change, have Mikhail Grabovski and Phil Oreskovic as Restricted Free Agents this summer -- there are more, but fringe NHL'ers aren’t exactly a top priority. That means the Leafs, if Burke were to play it conservative this summer, would have essentially the same club going into the 2009/10 season.

I'm sorry, but as much as I like the new found potential of the Leafs, there is still a heap of work to be done before they can realistically compete for the Stanley Cup. In other words, they're on the right track, and that's the first step, but the train is heading for a brick wall strapped with dynamite unless Burke continues to stockpile draft picks and prospects .

Burke is going to make the Leafs his team, and that, unfortunately for some of the Leafs' players, will mean a swift kick in the ass. But who's on the way out? Who's staying? Well, only Burke knows, but that doesn't mean we can't speculate.

Here's the players I believe are getting the boot:

Tomas Kaberle

If it's not him, it will be Pavel Kubina. But, if Burke is looking the best value from his defensemen, Kaberle is probably the logical choice here. He's been a loyal servant for over a decade now, but because of the Leafs' current situation, his future with the club is not exactly promising.

Lee Stempniak

I think he could become a solid second-liner for the Leafs in the future, but hey, I’m not Burke. Call it a gut feeling, but taking a glance at the Leafs' top-six, then considering Burke's quote above, that leads me to believe Stempniak will be the odd-man out in Toronto – after all, he was not Burke's acquisition. He would likely be in a package deal, however, as he will not garner the same return the Blues got for him.

Alexei Ponikarovsky

Ponikarovsky is enjoying a career season. Life is good when a 3rd liner is getting top-six minutes, ain't it? Not for long. Don’t get me wrong, I think Ponikarovsky is a decent player, but considering he's a soft forward with a 6 foot 4, 220 pound frame, he doesn’t exactly fit in Burke's regime. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ponikarovsky is shipped out to make room for a player within the organization -- like Jiri Tlusty.

I don't believe there will be much more movement than that. It's possible, but Burke will have a challenge in removing just the three players from his roster. Buying out contracts is an option, but I'm not sure paying multiple salaries throughout the course of the next few seasons is logical -- especially considering the Cap could be lowering in 2010.

I was hesitant on adding Matt Stajan to the list, so I'll just point out that I think he could very well be on his way out. He's having a career season, but his inconsistency and soft play may not sit well with Burke. He would generate some interest around the league, I'm sure, so I wouldn't be surprised if he is moved. I know it's early to say, but Bozak could be replacing his roster spot.

And will Burke make a splash in this year's free agent market? Besides Cammarelli, I don't see the point in signing a bunch of free agents. Not only has it proven unsuccessful for the Leafs, but adding players will only take away ice-time from youngsters such as Tlusty, Bozak, Hanson and the rest of the crew. Burke is importing youth to the Leafs' roster, but he must allow them to develop and establish their respective roles in the NHL as well. Patience breeds excellence.

So, what do you think? Who will be shipped out? Who will be joining the Leafs?

[email][email protected][/email]
Filed Under:   Leafs  
April 3, 2009 6:27 PM ET | Delete
THat Stempniak trade earlier in the year.....not a fan. I think that Stajan will be on his way out. He is one of my favourite Leafs but so was Moore. Mayers will get traded as well. That's just me though. Solid blog
April 3, 2009 9:01 PM ET | Delete
Burke will finally bring stability to the Leafs franchise..good writing RG
April 4, 2009 1:28 AM ET | Delete
would like Ponikarovsky, Kubina/Kaberle, Mayers, Stempniak, Blake moved... but likely only one of Poni-Stempniak and Kubina-Kaberle will actually be packing...
April 4, 2009 11:18 AM ET | Delete
I don't think that Blake will be moved. Even next year he is virtually untradable and he won;t get bought out. I understand that Burke isn't afraid to buy contracts out. But to pay out 1/3 of his salary for the next 6 years (maybe four) is crazy. On top of that, everyteam no matter how young they aspire to become needs some veteran presence such as Brad May or Blake.
April 4, 2009 5:38 PM ET | Delete
There is no way that Blake is traded. Contract is untradeable. Poni to me, has got to be the biggest pylon out there. I realize he is probably having a career year, but he has no hockey sense and hands of stone. Without a doubt, HAS to be traded.
April 4, 2009 10:12 PM ET | Delete
At least Burke has stated that he will not have the contracts that he inherited bind him. He will use demotions, trade and buy outs all as options to re-tool this team in his image. We'd be better off looking at who he is going to keep.
April 5, 2009 3:18 PM ET | Delete
good blog ron
April 6, 2009 10:40 AM ET | Delete
I don't get why everyone is so ready to get rid of Blake. He'll fit well into our top 6 forwards next year as a veteren presence with some serious scoring power. He's had a great season all things considered. Look for him to lead the team in points next season. We would be able to get much for trading him, and buying him out would be pointless and hurt our cap for years to come.
April 6, 2009 10:41 AM ET | Delete
*we wouldn't be able to get much for trading him
April 7, 2009 5:09 PM ET | Delete
Good blog, Do you think Cammalleri will be as good with out Iginla? What kind of money is he going to get? I would suggest without a top 5 goal scorer as a linemate his value would be considerably less. I'd love to see him stay in CGY but I highly doubt that will happen.
April 13, 2009 12:23 PM ET | Delete
I would add MVR to that list Ron ... maybe even Finger.
Leave a Comment
You must be logged in to leave a comment.

Blog Archive