Brian Burke has not publicly stated who he'll be targeting on July 1st, but logic dictates his focus will be deadlocked on Unrestricted Free Agents Mike Cammalleri or the Sedins.
After many critics--fans and writers alike--expressed their discontent towards Burke's inactivity at the NHL Entry Draft last weekend, you can bet Burke will be looking to make a big splash once July 1st comes swinging. While he managed to draft seven North American players at the draft, most of them at behemoth size, he failed to import more prospects and draft picks by not pulling the trigger on any deals.
Lucky for Burke, Free Agency Day kicks off almost immediately after the draft, so if he really does care what his critics are complaining about (doubt it) he can now make amends. Burke stated that he will not watch the same team that was displayed last season, so one way or another, you can expect change. While he'll be able to dispose much of his players via trade, it's unlikely they will garner a return valuable enough to upgrade the team's woes. While the stock of Leafs defensemen Tomas Kaberle and Pavel Kubina has surely risen due to the Chris Pronger and Jay Bouwmeester deals, it's unlikely trading one of the defenseman will suffice in Burke's "master plan."
While Cammalleri or the Sedins hardly constitute as a "Burke-type player," they are offensively gifted forwards who would implement an immediate impact to the team's long-term goals, not to mention the goals for category. And it's not as if their defensive game leaves much to be desired. While they lack in the grit and size departments, it shouldn't be too much of an issue if they’re surrounded by bigger players. And judging from Burke's draftees this year, I'd say that won't be much of problem.
The question, however, is what UFA's to target. Should Burke focus his attention towards the Sedins, or should he try to ink Cammelleri to a contract? Personally, the prospect of signing Cammalleri seems the most enticing. While his resume is less impressive than the Sedins, he'll probably cost the Leafs around 5 million dollars in cap hit, while the Sedins would cost near the 15 million vicinity. Signing Cammalleri would also allow the Leafs to award more roster spots to gritty, two-way forwards. If the Sedins sign in Toronto, then the Leafs' top-six, should they re-sign Mikhail Grabovski, will compromise of many one-dimensional forwards. And frankly, I'd rather the Leafs avoid getting handcuffed with lucrative, long-term contracts until atleast next summer, when Rick Nash is set to become a UFA.
What do you think? Should the Leafs target the Sedins or Cammalleri? Or should they avoid both and opt for different UFA's?
Personally, I'd be a pretty happy Leafs fan if Cammalleri is locked up on July 1st. Let the madness unfold!